You are driving back home from the gym after a hot yoga class. The two excellent hours of peace and self-care are nearly erased by your 1-year-old screaming over her VeggieTales music from the back seat. As you try to calm her down, and run over the mounting list of work waiting for you in your home office (and kitchen), you feel nearly swallowed up in a raging sea of impossible to-dos. The pressure of work goals, childcare needs, and housework needing to be done nearly sucks the breath from your lungs. What finally drowns you, though, is the fact you feel like a failure as a mother, a wife, and also an entrepreneur. Because you are unable to divide your time adequately between all three areas of your life.
Does this sound like you? Yes? Let me share a secret with you: this is a clip from one of MY days just two months ago. It was when I pulled into my driveway at home that I decided I needed to find a shelter of peace and calm in the midst of my own storm of life. And so new routines and strategies were born. Along with this post.
Do you long for an oasis of calm, too? Routines and strategies that take you from drowning in the raging sea of a hectic life and take you to riding the wave of successful focus? Then read on as I show you how I discovered ways to instill my days with peace and calm.
Eliminate As Much As Possible
If you want to do it all, you can’t do it all. Does this oxymoron sound even more confusing than normal? Let me explain. If you want to turn your creative work into an entrepreneurial success (or simply perform your job well and climb the corporate ladder), instruct your children while simultaneously making them feel loved and special, and be a fascinating wife with stimulating conversation and a beautiful home….then you are going to have to set your priorities. And set them rigorously.
And let some things slide. Okay, maybe a lot of things.
For example, three of my top priorities are my husband, daughter, and then creative business (in that order). And sometimes that, plus a bit of self care, is all I can get to in the day. On such days I might not get to any laundry, we might eat the simplest of delicious meals for dinner, and I might have to cancel or postpone appointments. Sometimes I am truly only able to cook, clean up, take care of (and love, teach, train, and spoil) my daughter, work during her nap and a little bit after, and then make some time for my husband and myself in the evening. While eliminating everything else. But, I find peace and calm in the midst of my storm by doing so.
So, what are your priorities? What do you HAVE to have in your day to make you happy and further your life goals? And, what things would you like to do but you can eliminate if you have a crazy, stormy, seething day where life just throws too much at you? Answering these three questions will take you a long way to creating peace and calm in the midst of the storms of your life.
I can’t talk about this step enough! However, I have to quit now if we are going to get to the other two important steps you have to take to create your own peace and calm in the storm of life. So, if you would like to read more on setting priorities, eliminating the attractive but nonessential areas of your life, and increasing your productivity, then read these three blog posts here, here, and here. If you are getting really psyched about this whole doing-it-all-by-not-doing-it-all oxymoron, then check out my favorite entrepreneurial website Shetakesontheworld.com and my favorite mompreneur-who-needs-encouragement-and-tips resource naptimeempires.com.
Create a Morning Focusing and Uplifting Routine
Eliminating as many tasks and stressors from your life isn’t quite enough, however. For you can set just five top priorities in your life, tailor down your to-do list till it looks extremely manageable, and only get to half the tasks in a day that fall under those priorities….and still feel like your day is overwhelmed. Simply because you aren’t focusing on your priorities and are getting distracted by nonessentials. Maybe Facebook. Or you are tweeting a little more than need be for your business. Plus running out to the store when you could have waited till tomorrow for that block of cheese. And spending an hour on Pinterest when you really just needed to look up that one inspiration board to help get in the zone for writing. This is when you need a focusing routine.
Personally, I break my day down into three parts: before nap time, nap time, and after nap time. Then I allot myself one to two overarching things to focus on during each time slot. For example, on a normal day I might decide to focus on my morning routine and work before nap time. During my daughter’s nap time I would then focus on the most creative of my creative work (aka, actually writing my novels), and then after her nap I might focus on housework and my family. I find that writing all of my tasks down in these three time slots in my Bullet Journal and then taking about three minutes to picture my day the way I want it to run helps me to stay focused on the most meaningful and important work in my day.
Maybe you are very focused and you are able to get your tasks done, but you are dragging because you aren’t finding any joy in your day. It is very easy for this to happen when you have a day filled with task after task and a teething baby who just isn’t satisfied with any solution that you come up with. You might get everything done…while saying over and over again, “I can’t do this.” This is when you need an uplifting routine. It might sound silly, but I find that having a go-to song (or playlist of songs) really helps me get my day off to the right start. Or back to where I want it to be. My personal favorite go-to uplifting song is “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. I will find myself, when things get overwhelming, subconsciously hearing, “Don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing’s gonna be alright.”
Combine the focusing routine and the uplifting routine that you find work for you, and you will have an invigorating, successful day that you get through with an inner sense of peace and calm.
Carve Out Time for Yourself, to Rejuvenate
To truly create peace and calm – lasting peace and calm – for yourself in the midst of life’s raging storms, you have to do one more thing than eliminating tasks and creating focusing and uplifting routines for yourself. You must carve out time for yourself, to rejuvenate. No matter how busy you are. Every. Single. Day. It is best if you can take a moment in the morning and then several, longer moments in the evening. (Aka, go to an exercise class or take take a walk in the morning and then read in a candlelit bedroom in the evening.) If you can’t find rejuvenating time every morning, strive for at least three times a week. And make sure that you have a nightly relaxing routine. One that you never (or at least almost never) skip. Trust me, this will not be waisted time. Especially if you make your daily rejuvenating routine as beautiful as possible. If you are able to go to bed with a smile on your face, you will be almost guaranteed to wake up with one in your heart.
Find your sunny island oasis of peace and calm in the middle of life’s surging ocean. Don’t let the crashing breakers wear you down. Eliminate as much as you can from your day, develop a focusing and uplifting routine, and carve out time to rejuvenate yourself every single day. You will be rewarded with an inner state of calm in the midst of life’s daily storm.
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