Monday, September 23, 2013

How To Do It All?

My friend and I were out for our morning walk with the kids discussing our overly stuffed lives. We wondered how can we be more efficient, spend more time with the kids, have more time to volunteer at the school, keep the house clean, get the laundry done, write the next chapter in our new books (she's an author too), and keep ourselves awake a bit longer so we can offer our husband's a little romance. The list doesn't end there. What about time for home improvement projects and community and religious service. The grocery shopping, the homework, the bathrooms--mine are looking questionable--and healthy food for our family. I know you can all add to my list. I think in my lifetime I can easily say I have spent days at a time trying to figure out how to do it all.

Today I think I figured it out.  You're excited aren't you?! Well I hope this next part doesn't dash your hopes. My answer--It Can't Be Done and it shouldn't be done. What?!! No, I'm not crazy and I'm not hopeless. I've simply come to understand that life is not about doing it all it's about choosing the best and getting rid of the rest. I've put together a list of things we can all do to find a happier balance in our lives.

1. Set goals based on what is most important to you. Determine what you ultimately want for you, your spouse, and your family. If you're not intentional about what you want then who knows what you will get? For example, my husband is the love of my life and I want our relationship to be strong. That is one of my goals.

2. Purge. Get rid of anything you need to in order to achieve your goal. I want a great relationship with my husband but it's not going to happen if I am too tired to spend time with him. I have started to literally get rid of things in my home so that I won't have to spend so much time and energy cleaning because it's a huge drain on me. It also helps the house to look nicer so I can focus more on my man than my house.

3. Say No. I often have to say no to my children's cries to play with friends, so that I can go on a date with my husband. Sometimes it means I don't do that extra expensive home improvement project so that I can afford dates and babysitters.

4. Accessorize. Now that you have purged, what is it that you need to add to your life to achieve your goal. (Be careful here. Accessories are the icing on the cake. The little touch that improves. The goal when accessorizing is happiness not craziness.) For me it is exercising, healthy eating and going to bed earlier because all of those things provide me with that little bit of extra energy.

5. Constantly re-evaluate. Every day provides me with new opportunities to distract myself from what is most important to me. I have to constantly purge, say no, and add a few accessories.

6. Enjoy your life.  One of my favorite quotes is by Gordon B. Hinckley. "In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured."  My friend mentioned this morning that her husband finally told her she needed to have time in her life for happiness. I found it to be wonderful counsel.

If I don't have time to do what's most important to me and enjoy my life, I am waisting my time. I'm realizing more and more that sometimes the purge must be great and often it's very difficult. Almost always it's hard to say no and accessorizing usually means creating new habits. Re-evaluating usually takes some will power and patience with ourselves and others, and enjoying life is often more simple than we think.

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