How to Not Do It All (And actually feel good instead of guilty)

by | Sep 24, 2020 | Anxiety, Purpose

I kissed my girls goodbye and stoically rode shotgun with my husband to a treatment center for anxiety, insomnia, and emotional and physical exhaustion.

A life can be so full that it’s actually empty.

I see you there. The lovely one who volunteers for PTO, class parties, and church boards.

Yes, you, who not only chauffeurs your own kids to volleyball, dance and soccer, but also the neighbor kids and the straggler whose father frantically texts you that he is stuck at work and would you please…?

Yes, you, the employee who wins teamwork awards and gets promoted for achievements (which may mean more money, but always means more work).  

Yes, you, the one who looks at her calendar every night and feels her chest constricting at the rainbow blocks of commitments on deck for tomorrow.

You can’t remember the last time you had no one to take care of except yourself. The last time you filled a day with only the things that fill you. The last time your mind felt happily still, your body rested and your soul satisfied. And let’s not even mention the ever-growing distance between you and your partner. When’s the last time you talked about the dreams you once shared?

New research published this year found a significant increase in stress among mid-life people compared to just a decade ago. When did it become normal to be burned-out, stress-out and checked-out? How do you change the course of your life to avoid a full-on breakdown and anxiety diagnosis like mine? 

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not by committing to fewer things, it’s by committing to the right things for you and joyfully opening your hands to let the rest of it go.

It’s Time For An Energy Edit

I had an “ah-ha” moment yesterday as I binge-watched a new Netflix show called The Home Edit where organizing gurus Clea and Joanna tackle rooms in homes of celebrities like Reese Witherspoon alongside ordinary families like mine. There is a method to their magic, and I realized that the way they organize things is similar to the way I’m learning to organize energy and time. Here’s a quick overview of how I’m learning to stop living like life is an emergency and start being intentional about savoring moments of my life. You can do this too!

ASSESS your time

Ask these key questions about your current commitments.
– What on your list do you have to do?
– What on your list do you enjoy doing?
– What gives you energy?
– What steals your energy?
– What makes you feel lighter when you imagine not having to do it?
– What time of day do you feel most energized?
– What time of day do you crash?
– What tasks could you delegate to someone else?

what are your GOALS

It’s important to dig deep when thinking about the goals you have for your time and energy. Be specific. Consider all aspects of your life as well as your body, mind and spirit.
– What are your priorities? God? Family? Work? Hobbies?
– How much margin do you have? How much do you need?
– Are you scheduling every bit of your time, or do you have margin for when things go wrong (which they will)?
– Do you practice a Sabbath? One day a week when you practice downtime and delight. If not, it’s time to fix that.
– How are you prioritizing people over projects?

just say EDIT

When it comes time to edit your commitments to make your time and energy correspond with your goals, remember that “No” is a complete sentence. Feel free to consider me your official “Noach,” AKA No Coach. It is not selfish to protect your time! I remember when I was overwhelmed with three part-time jobs. I was literally sick to my stomach when I thought about resigning from one of them, but then I remembered that I work to live. I don’t live to work. I resigned and immediately felt the weight lift.

If you’re worried about hurting feelings of people who depend on you, here are some phrases I’ve learned to use when editing my time. You’ll be amazed at how you empower others when you model the wisdom of editing your schedule. And contrary to what you may believe, you are not the only one who can perform tasks well. Often stepping aside allows someone else to rise to the occasion.

Steal These Lines For Saying “No”

– Thank you for asking me, but I’m carefully protecting the margin of my schedule right now.
– I’ve really enjoyed serving with you, but I’m editing my time and need to step down from this volunteer position.
– I appreciate your faith in me, but adding another responsibility to my schedule will take away precious family time and I am prioritizing that in this season of my life.
– No, thank you! 

ORGANIZE What’s Left

Look at the flow of your energy and schedule. Just like you organize objects in a closet to make it more efficient, you can organize your time. Right now I’m experimenting with “batching” my work schedule. Mondays are for my team and weekly planning. Tuesdays are for organizational meetings. Wednesdays are for tackling my to-do list, Thursday is my video day and Friday is Freedom Friday. When I work hard to get everything done throughout the week, I can use Fridays to do things I enjoy and work on Seeking The Still. By scheduling similar tasks together and theming my days, it makes sense in my head, which helps me stay on track. I try to do my creative work in the mornings when I have the most energy. I find that I can do writing projects in much less time because I’m focused (the coffee helps, too). 

ENJOY THE FREEDOM

My default mode used to be pleasing everyone and saying “yes.” Kind of like my shopping habit and overflowing closet, my schedule was packed and my energy was tapped out. This was a big reason I broke down. I’m still learning and will continuously have to go through the Energy Edit process, but there is such freedom in knowing that I can choose to do what God created me to do and say no to the rest.

If you find yourself saying that you don’t have enough time in your day, it’s time to take a look at how you’re spending that time, where you can edit things out and how you can maximize your efforts. There is no reason you can’t have a weekly Sabbath day where you have downtime to only do things that connect you to others and delight you. In fact, that’s what God commands you to do! Free yourself from your overwhelmed life. It is possible and so worth it. I’m here to help.

Be Still,
Laura

P.S. I am sharing more Energy Edit hacks over in my Instagram stories this week and am also offering three free Energy Edit sessions where I’ll walk you through this process and help you implement it in your life. If you’d like to be considered, answer these three questions. The best is to come! 

Enter Below for a FREE Energy Edit Session with Laura!

Winners will be notified on October 15, 2020

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