The world can sometimes be a place of organised chaos, which can make us feel out of control at times. The good news however, is that we all have the power to be in control of ourselves. We don’t have to act in a reactive way if we are proactive in deciding how we will deal with situations before they arise. On a day-to-day basis, this helps us operate with a clear mind as we have clearly laid out priorities and can let go of the things that are holding us back and replace them with the things that will help us move forward in the direction of our choosing.
Of course, with anything in life, this is far easier said than done. Sometimes the things we love and prioritise may require more effort and time to deal with than the not so important, which is often why many of us find ourselves in a permanently reactive state, dealing with things as they come along, making the newest item the biggest priority. Of course this often doesn’t work very well and we can end up in a situation with a longer and longer list of priorities of seemingly equal importance and urgency. Some of the real priorities keep being put on the back burner while we tell ourselves we will deal with it later. Inevitably, things get missed and we can end up in a place of not feeling very good about ourselves and lack of control.
So how to do we move from a place of prioritising everything to prioritising what’s important?
Well, we can take a five-step approach:-
This technique is mentioned in my popular and highly recommended 'How To Find More Time For Busy Mums' eBook, if you've read it you'll be familiar with the process above.
If you aren't familiar, it stands for:-
Must Do - urgent or consequences
Seek To Do - seek to do by set date or soon becomes urgent
Nice To-Do - nice to do, enjoy doing but can be flexible if greater priorities above or crop up
Remaining to-do - anything left is delegate or delete
As mums and women we can find ourselves almost programmed to look after everyone and everything before ourselves. Whilst it is something that is our strength, it can also be our weakness. We all know what self-care means; actually making it a priority is something completely different. The time we want to put aside for a massage or long bath would be far better used to get through the ironing for next week or doing the shopping. After all there aren’t ever enough hours in the day to do everything are there?
Though it can feel like this, the saying of “Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day” is true. It’s up to us to decide the best way to use them to achieve the outcome we want. This varies drastically from person to person. Some of us are happy to ensure our homes are tidy, children are fed and we are happy. Some of us have a calling to do work that helps others on a small scale or large one. Both views are honourable ones; they may require a different way of working to achieve the outcome.
There is no right or wrong way to do this. That is the beauty of being an individual. While we can take inspiration from the way others do things, there is no cookie-cutter formula for success. Feeling guilty about how much needs to be done doesn’t help anyone and we are not in competition with anyone. Making daily cooking a priority can take the same amount of time as networking or meetings.
Worrying about the ‘shoulds’ can feel like carrying a heavy rock around with you– it makes everything harder than it needs to be and zaps you of your energy. Life is too short to feel weighed down. Your children won’t stay the same age forever; you want to be able to enjoy every moment you can with them. Not be exhausted, irritated and having your mind elsewhere.
It can be hard to let go of what we think we should be doing for a variety of reasons, guilt, worrying about the consequences, fear of hurting somebody’s feelings, or just being plain scared of what letting go will mean in terms of change.
We can’t hold on to everything. If we hold on to everything with great importance, then nothing is important. Letting go of lower priority items allows us to focus and give all your attention to the things that really matter like family, your health, and your business. Sometimes that means giving up things that offer us temporary good feelings or relief – including procrastination.
As Elsa sang so beautifully, sometimes we just have to Let It Go. Give yourself permission to let go of what doesn’t serve you and move forward in the direction of your dream life. Prioritise what’s truly important and put your energy and positivity towards those things.
By doing this you give yourself the gift of an orderly life. An orderly life will give you the freedom of a clear mind and will allow you to be the calm, controlled version of yourself – which is the best and most loved person you can be.
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