“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
– Thomas Merton.
Have you ever felt like you just don’t have enough time?
Like there just aren’t enough hours in the day?
I used to feel that all the time.
I ran around being busy. And to be fair, I packed a lot into my days. I packed a lot into my life. Looking back, I can see that I was completely in Superwoman mode – you know, when you put your pants over your trousers, fasten your cape and rush around being everything to everyone – just to prove that you can.
And if you’ve ever done any work with me, you’ll know that Superwoman is really great to get things done when everything’s going to the wire, and there’s no other choice; but it’s not a great mode to be stuck in all the time. It leads to overwhelm, stress and anxiety and ultimately burnout. All the things that clients work with me to resolve – because it’s not great to feel like that.
So, I try to practice what I preach. I do practice what I preach. I find balance in my life.
That means that I can do the things that I need to do as well as the things that I want to do, without feeling like I’m constantly being pulled in all directions. Of course, life always happens, it always will – extra stuff gets dumped on your plate, things happen that are beyond your control. I don’t have time to do everything, and working out the priorities and how to fit them in was something I really had to work on.
One simple thing that changed for me was just changing that self-talk; my internal story, the monologue of my life.
I used to wake up in the morning and think “I don’t have enough time”.
I’d think about all the things that I needed to do that day and immediately tell myself that I couldn’t fit it all in. From the moment I opened my eyes, I felt like I didn’t have enough time.
Of course, that gets the adrenaline going right from the start. I’d get up feeling stressed and anxious. I’d go through my day feeling stressed and anxious, with my to do list constantly whirling in my head to the background song of “I don’t have enough time”. All the things that pop up on a day to day basis would appear in front of me and add to my stress. By the time I went to bed I’d be exhausted – but with all that stuff still bubbling through my head and affecting my sleep, I’d wake up feeling exhausted – ready to do it all over again.
If that sounds familiar, the first thing you can do is wake up and just tell yourself a different story. You don’t need to over-complicate this; it can be as simple as “I have enough time to do the things that I need to do”. Write it on your mirror. Leave a little note for yourself to see as you get out of bed. Any way that works for you, so you start the day with a more helpful story.
Now of course, it’s not a magic wand solution. You’re going to have to do some work as well. There’s so much we can do to help prioritise what’s important; defend your boundaries; learn to let go of the unimportant stuff, so that your time becomes your own again.
Life will always throw curve balls from time to time; things that throw you off track and make you change course. Recently a lot of upsetting things happened within my wider family; illness, bereavement, some really difficult things to deal with. Those things knocked me off track a little, and that is okay. Because things were happening that were upsetting; it’s okay to feel upset when upsetting things happen. It is okay to feel overwhelmed when lots of things happen at once.
Allowing myself to feel those emotions; giving myself time to process them and turning to people for support meant letting go of some of the other things that I really thought I should be doing. Letting go of any guilt around that was crucial.
And suddenly here we are – well into the new year now (I never do New Year resolutions anyway!) The Chinese New Year has just gone so I’ll take that as my fresh start for this year – because suddenly things are feeling a little bit more like they are going as I would like them to be. I feel more able to look forward, to make plans – and more importantly, carry them out.
I’ve been very clear about prioritising what needs to be done. I’ve been really good at reaching out for support – from other coaches, from various resources, from other people around me, and really getting on top of my scheduling and my planning.
It’s helped enormously; and now here I am, on a Wednesday afternoon. My to do list hasn’t got way got out of hand this week. I’ve actually ticked things off my list. Today, I’ve celebrated with a wonderful long walk. Although it’s been a cloudy and showery kind of a day I decided to come to a place that means a lot to me. It’s beautiful. It is a bit of a drive from my house, and often I like to stay local because I’m just squeezing the dog walk in between everything else.
But I took the time to drive over and found that here there’s blue sky; it’s a beautiful February afternoon. It’s quite mild for the time of year, and I’m enjoying a longer walk in beautiful surroundings. It has really made me appreciate the work I’ve done to get to this point; and think how can I help you as well?
That is what fires me up; helping other people sort their stuff out too. So if you want some help to get on top of prioritising the important things in your life; working out how to meet your needs and find balance; working out how to juggle all the competing demands of your life – then book a discovery call with me and let’s chat and see what we can do.