Obviously this is still something I struggle with too, right along with you. Has it really been two weeks since I first talked about this, suggesting we join forces and help each other find the time for those things that really matter to us? It's been on my mind so often, and yet my thoughts have not made it to paper. Maybe becausae I don't feel qualified to offer advice on the subject. Maybe because I see so clearly those things that just don't get done in my life, and those are bolder to me than those things that do get crossed off the list. Or maybe it's just because I haven't made the time.
Just last night one of my most favorite girlfriends and I were discussing the importance of finding the time for things that nourish us. How getting our toes done, or a fresh haircut, or an evening out with a girlfriend is so refreshing, and so inspiring. It truly does make us better women, wives, and mothers.
I talked with my hubby about this subject, and whether taking care of me was a luxury that I just shouldn't afford at certain stages of my life. He made a statement that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. He said, "If you choose not to take care of you, then what incentive do I have to take care of you? If it's not important to you, it's not going to be important to me." Hmm, as I keep thinking on that rationale of his, I'm tempted to call him wise.
Qualified or not, perfect at this or not (and mostly not), I'm going to dive into it anyway. Jump in with me, won't you? As our schedules get filled and our time in a day seems shorter and shorter, I want to be determined. I want the time for the things that are important to me. I think there are simple, and then not-as-simple things we can do to find the time. For whatever we need the time for. Being productive. Getting things done. Taking care of our families. Running our businesses. Nourishing ourselves.
My biggest thing right now is getting rid of clutter. I'm definitely in a "purge" state of my life, but I'm finding that clutter makes me feel much busier than I truly am, and certainly much more overwhelmed than is necessary.
There is freedom in de-cluttering, no doubt. Want to start feeling less busy, and more under-whelmed?! Try decluttering. No reason to go crazy, you're just giving it a try. Just pick an area. You know which one it is. That cluttered space that makes you hold your breath when you walk by. That you can't bring yourself to tackle because you don't know where to start. Here's what I recommend:
- Pick your spot. My spot recently has been that corner of the kitchen counter where everything piles up that you're not sure what to do with. Mail that you need to address, pictures the kids have drawn, reminders about phone calls that you need to make.
- Give yourself permission up front to throw things away. I cannot even tell you the wonderful release this gave me. My bet is you won't be too far into the pile when you'll realize you never remembered some of those things were there to begin with, and a lot of them have been there for way too long with nobody missing them.
- Keep in mind, you are not obligated to keep every scribble your child makes on a piece of paper. It does not make you a bad mother to throw it away. I no longer feel like the parent police are going to show up when I sneak out to the trash bin with the latest drawings, and take the time to stuff them down so my daughter doesn't find them. I keep the ones that are meaningful to me, or to my children, and that's it.
- When you find scraps of paper with reminders of phone calls you should make, appointments you should write on the calendar, etc., write them on one piece of paper. Throw the scraps away. Don't try to get all of those things written on the calendar, called back, or put in the mailbox right now. It will just distract you from what you're trying to do.
- Anything you do need to hold on to, separate into stacks as you sort. Kid's drawings that are going in the memory box, bills that need to be paid, papers to be signed, things to discuss with hubby before responding, etc.
- When you're finished with that spot, put your stacks away. Right away. You'll be tempted to see your stacks and feel so much better already that you want to just stack up your stacks into one neat stack. But remember, we're decluttering, so we don't want any stacks at all!! Some things need to stay out to be addressed, of course, but that will be a small pile compared to what it was, and we can live with that.
- Make a list of what you need to do to fully take care of that space, and then start doing it. Mine usually goes along the lines of "clean up counter, pay bills, mail cards, return phone calls, reminders on calendar, talk to hubby, take out trash."
- See how the first item on my list was something I did before I made my list? That's the one thing about me that always makes my hubby laugh. My to-do list ALWAYS includes something I've already done. I love to cross things off a list, and this way I can cross something off right away. Then I'm already off to a good start.
- When you're finished with your list - throw the list away!! No need to hold onto it, even though you want to because it's a list you have everything checked off of, for once!
I feel I can breathe a little easier, I can get inspired to purge some more clutter, and I can feel more productive and successful when I take the time to do this. It may seem like a pretty simple thing, and it is. But when your home and/or office is filled with clutter, your spirit is cluttered. My home, my business, and myself all function better when my spirit is not cluttered. Well worth the effort, I assure you. Doesn't this just feel much calmer already?!
Unwrap some ordinary gifts with me today over at Chatting at the Sky.