As I am writing this, I’m hours away from leaving on vacation for 4 days to Vermont, followed by a week long trip to Santa Barbara to run a retreat for entrepreneurs.
I am literally laying here taking deep breaths while I write in order to stay calm — I have SO much to get done in order to be able to leave for a week and a half.
Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my to-do list.
It just feels like I am always behind. Do you know the feeling?
Behind on my inbox, behind on my to-dos, just… behind!
While it hasn’t gotten to the point where it has disrupted my business, I’ve been wanting to figure out how to make this FEEL better.
Quite honestly, feeling behind, and like I am always on his hamster wheel just trying to catch up simply doesn’t feel good. Instead of feeling paralyzed by this overwhelming feeling, or turning to food, something I might have done in the past, I have been experimenting with ways to turn this around.
Yesterday, when I asked you on Instagram what topics you’d like me to write about, a few of you asked me to talk about topics such as how I find time to “do it all” or how I maintain balance in my everyday life. Considering that I am about to leave on this big trip, and I am feeling the pressure myself to keep it all together and balance it all, today feels like the right time!
So…here is what has been helping me “do it all” (I put that in quotes because nobody can really do it ALL) while staying sane and calm…
1. Consider each task / commitment thoroughly and watch your habits around what you say yes and no to: It’s really important that we watch our habits and question whether they are still serving us. For instance, when I was in a calmer phase of my business, I used to meet people for lunch a couple times a week. Now, with my business being as busy as it is, I can rarely do that anymore. However, my habit is to say yes, when really, I need to say no. Similarly, I’ve been used to doing most tasks in my business on my own, and I have the attitude that “it’s faster to just do it myself”. Lately, I’ve realized I need to ditch that way of thinking and push myself to delegate way more than I am comfortable with. Before every single task / email now, I ask myself, “Is this something that must be done by ME specifically, or can I pass this on to someone else?” I make myself stop and consider if it is something that absolutely needs to be done by me. If not, I pass it on to someone on my team. Take time to pause before you do anything, and ask yourself a) Does this have to get done NOW? / Do I need to commit to this? and b) Does this have to be done by ME?
2. Create boundaries for yourself. As I write this, I have my notifications on “Do Not Disturb” and all social media closed on my computer / phone. Just notice how distracting some of this can be, and be sure to turn it off when you really want to focus. It’s also okay to say something along the lines of, “Hey, I have a super busy day, so I am going to go focus for the next several hours, but I’ll give you a call tomorrow when I free up!” to someone who keeps reaching out to you.You do not always need to be available, but it’s up to you to deliberately set those boundaries for yourself.
3. Play a game with yourself! When I was younger and my Dad wanted me to clean my room or get ready for bed, he’d say “I bet you can’t do this in under 60 seconds!” Of course I would want to prove him wrong, and I’d run around picking up my room and getting ready for bed in record time. Being against a ticking timer motivated me like nothing else! I still do this today. When I am dragging my feet around cleaning my apartment or going through my freakin’ mail (I hate this the most), I will say “okay Jame, put the timer on for 20 minutes and let’s see how much you can get through!”. If I know I only have to do annoying things for 20 minutes at a time (you can do this with 10 or even 5 minute intervals), it gives me a surge of energy and then I turn it into a little game with myself to see just how much I can get done.
4. Know your limits and TRUST them. A part of deep self-care is really knowing yourself inside and out. Knowing how much alone time you need. Knowing what feels like “too much” in your schedule. Trusting your gut when it says “please say no to this!”. Last night I was so tempted to go meet up with my boyfriend and some of his friends, and I was debating back and forth whether or not to go. It was 8:30pm and while it sounded so fun to say “screw it” and go, I really felt into what I most needed. I knew that if I went, my day today would be that much crazier and I would have even more to do before vacation, and I would end up leaving for my trip frazzled. I knew that if I went I wouldn’t be able to wake up early today, which I really really wanted to do (I cherish my early mornings on my balcony getting work done!). While in some cases I would have chosen to go even if it wasn’t the perfect situation, in this case, I knew that I needed that time for myself. If you pay enough attention to yourself, over time you’ll learn what helps you thrive. The key is to pay attention 🙂
5. Let your body tell you what “too much” feels like… and try to allow that to come before your “people pleasing” nature. As I planned my trip to LA / Santa Barbara I originally tried to DO IT ALL while I was out there. I scheduled a 3 hour intensive with a client, meetups with everyone I knew in the area, and multiple client sessions. …And that was all before I was about to lead a 4 day Retreat! I looked over my schedule and my body immediately felt so TIGHT and constricted. “No no no no no, why are you doing this to yourself?” is what I intuitively felt. I was doing it because I wanted to make everyone happy and I didn’t want to let anyone down. Sound familiar? Knowing that my pattern is to overschedule and people please, I consciously unraveled this. I cut my trip a bit shorter, I cancelled meetings that weren’t 100% necessary, and I gave myself SPACE in my calendar to relax and breathe before leading an intense Retreat. Clue into your body to help you FEEL into what decisions will set you up for being able to handle everything with more ease.
6. Know your rhythm + add pleasure. It’s important to experiment with when and how you work best. Since I know I work best in the morning, I’ll often save my hardest and most annoying tasks or projects for the morning hours. Lately I’ve been taking my laptop out on my balcony really early while it’s quiet out and getting a ton done in a way that feels really lovely and pleasurable to me. Sometimes we need to get creative around how to get things done that seem to be dragging — this can be choosing a specific time of day that works best for you, a change in environment, adding music, buddying up and working with someone else, having someone help you, etc.
So, that’s an inside look at what I have been practicing lately to help me get a lot done and manage a very busy time.
As our lives expand, and our careers or businesses grow, we may need to rethink how we handle everything on our plates.
As my life has expanded and my business continues to grow, I have learned that boundaries need to be set – within ourselves, our calendars, and others.
We need to know ourselves incredibly well in order to know what we really need the most.
We need to let go of people pleasing, and we need to practice choosing ourselves over anyone else’s opinion or needs.
Juggling everything is not always clean or easy or straightforward. I am right there navigating it all with you, and I hope that these tips give you some ideas to make it all a bit easier for you.
I would love to hear in the comments below:
- What is one strategy that has really helped you “do it all” in your life?
- What is one thing that you want to practice in order to help you manage your time and energy a little bit better?
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Thank you Jamie. Your posts – as always! – are a true treasure. Warmest wishes.