I was standing over the skillet of eggs, with my head buried in my husband’s shoulder.
“I just don’t know how this is all going to work. I feel overwhelmed.”
As a mom, the feeling of being “in over my head” is not unusual for me, but I feel torn right now. Sure, wearing the hats of mom, wife, businesswoman, teacher, housekeeper, chef, and cruise director have something to do with it.
But mostly, I feel like I am not sure where to place my attention. If it is completely on the kids then my work suffers, if I spend my time worrying about work then I’m just in a constant state of a running mind. Finding any type of sweet spot feels like a lost cause.
How do I find a state of presence that is healthy?
I started using this one method of time management more than a year ago. It is simple, effective, and really works for me. It helps me focus, it helps me take the pressure off, and mostly it helps me actually get through things I need to get to get done.
The biggest plus of this is that it helps with the guilt. I don’t know about you, but I get so wrapped up in the guilt – how the heck can I be everything for everyone? I will sit in it and let it stir in my soul until it finally explodes in the worst ways. In ways, I don’t like to be. I have realized I have to come back to what I know works, and this does.
As much as I want to be this fantastic, superwoman of multi-tasking, wearing 1,800 hats doesn’t make me better than wearing just one.
So I’m going into one at a time mode.
One thing at a time.
One moment at a time.
One breath at a time.
This is how I do it:
I think about all the many, many things I need to get done. I pick my top three. Then I set out to work on those three things. I say “work on” because I’ve taken the word "finished" off the table. Because let’s be real it’s never finished. You do the dishes to do more dishes. You complete a proposal to take on the next one. You clean up crushed goldfish to turn around and clean up crunched up cheerios. Your work is never finished. I have to stop having that expectation at all.
I keep myself in this state with my project for only 25 mins. I set a timer for 25 minutes and start what I need to start. I do ONLY this thing and let all other things wait.
When that timer goes off, it’s hands up like your on an episode of Top Chef and you'll be disqualified if you add anything else to your plate.
Then I walk away from it. From the laundry or the sink or my computer. I let it go for the day. This is hard for me, but it works.
Here’s what I’m learning from doing this:
When I’m focused on one thing I’m so much more efficient.
When I know that I only have to do something I loathe, like folding laundry, for only 25 minutes, I can be far less burdened by it.
When I allow myself the parameters to dig into one thing, I give myself the freedom to explore and learn and be super present with what I am doing.
When I don’t have a running list flowing through my brain, I enjoy what I’m doing instead of just trying to get through it.
When I learn to do my best then let it go, I feel more accomplished, fulfilled, and happy in my life.
More than anything, I’ve learned you don’t have to do it all, be it all, finish it all, and look perfect all the time to be happy.
You just have to do a little, with all your heart and attention, and you will find happiness along the way- not from getting it done but for the opportunity to experience it at all.