Yup. It's true. We all have a limited amount of time in our days to do the things we want and need to do. As someone with a schedule that can be a bit of a problem child (like the majority of us), I've now become quite accustomed to reminding myself that the only person responsible for a crazy calendar is numero uno - and that I am in control over what I choose to say yes or no to.
The problem is that I still want to do everything. This is thanks to an overactive FOMO and the solid belief that future Sarah will absolutely be able to handle everything I throw her way - meetings, deadlines, fitness, catch ups, appointments, events, and anything else that comes up which I feel I 'need' to do or be at. It's taken years, stress, illness, honesty and discipline to realise this is not effective or sustainable.
Last week I spoke about dropping the ball in life when your choices have sent you so far around in circles that it's left you in a massive heap of exhaustion, frustration and general life unhappiness. This is a cycle I'm absolutely familiar with which can easily repeat itself even when you're aiming for more life balance.
Yes, we are in control over what we choose spend our time on. But it's so freaking easy to lose sight of this and forget that we are in the driver's seat.
So here are some things which are helping me stay accountable and in check with my lifestyle and schedule choices:
Define your real priorities
Ask yourself the tough questions and answer them truthfully and objectively - without listening to the ego. Is it really more important to stay at work til 9pm rather than go home or to the gym? Sometimes it is, especially with deadlines...but every night? Really? Is your job/work, for example, more important in the long run than your physical and mental health? I liked this blog by Rachel Kurzyp on why you need to stop using the phrase 'I'm so busy'. Sort our your actual, real priorities and get your perspective straight.
Identify your non-negotiables
Make a list of things that are (or could be) crucial in influencing your health and happiness that will stop you from losing sight of your priorities or letting them go altogether. You might not even be doing them yet - that's ok. Mine, for example, include getting enough quiet time every week for reflection and thought, plus seeing my kinesiologist once every month (Carol Yang helped me identify these). I recently realised that wasn't doing this, but really needed to be. Write down your list of non-negotiables somewhere handy as a reminder.
Make time for what's important
It's easy to default and push important things aside when you get caught up in the pace of life. Deadlines and work are important, but wherever possible make the effort and the time to address your priorities and stick to your non-negotiables. Literally making time for what's important can be as simple as scheduling it into your calendar so you don't book something else over the top. I now do this for the gym, quiet time and have booked my kinesiology in advance.
Mostly, I feel it's about giving yourself a good, solid reality check about what's important in the greater scheme of things, as well as admitting what you're sustainably capable of doing. Do we really need to be so busy all the time? Well, that all depends on your definition and perception of what busy is or needs to be. Parts of my week are now scheduled as busy doing nothing for my essential quiet time which I don't get otherwise. So ask yourself - what are you truly choosing to be busy with?
Little Miss Melbourne xoxo