The other day, I visited a local reputable cafe for the first time. Although it had character, it wasn’t what I expected. I mulled over what bothered me most about the cafe and decided that the place was trying to do and be too much. Serve good coffee, be welcoming, look stylish, offer a contemporary edge, feel cozy, maximise its space, sell vintage homewares, make tasty food… it was all too much for me to take in.
As I was breaking down the cafe setup in my head, it made me realise that I was drawing parallels to the setup of my life. Finish my novel, win at parenting, renovate my home, lose the excess weight, update my wardrobe, grow that side-business, grow the other side-business, fix my finances…
I’ve been trying to do and be too much.
Some of those are a higher priority than others but they all carry weight and all contribute to overload. Not having a clear focus and trying to distribute my energy across multiple areas of my life have always been a problem for me, but I’ve kept my head above water. Somehow. Now, not only do I want to stop myself from drowning, but I want to swim effortlessly, and I want the current with me. And I want to be equipped and confident when the current is against me, too. A beautiful backstroke if possible.
In other words, I want to do more than cope. I want to feel like I am progressing. Is this you, too? I’ve given some thought to what I need to do to remedy my situation. Here are the 7 tips that I’m going to run with.
- Acknowledge the problem.
If you keep saying that you’re fine, that you can manage when you actually can’t, then you are just putting off the inevitable: getting burnt out. I’ve felt an imbalance in my life since my second child popped onto the scene. I’m so grateful for my kids and my husband, and wanting change doesn’t mean that I’m not grateful. If I make changes for the better, everyone in the family benefits. It took a visit to a coffee shop to make me realise it.
2) Get in the right frame of mind.
How to do this? By accepting responsibility for everything, and accepting that everything is within your control. For me, this is a daily struggle. You can control the process, and your reaction, but let the outcome be. Even if you didn’t personally vote for Malcolm Turnbull, or Donald Trump, they still run the country, right? Complaining about them will not un-elect them. Making excuses and blaming others will always hinder progress.
3) Break the load down into manageable chunks.
A lot of us have probably said at one point: “I’ve got too much on my plate”. We’re familiar with that metaphor, right? So if we take smaller bites, or chew more slowly, or cut down on the carbs altogether (so to speak), then we are pacing ourselves, and it’s easier to achieve our goals. Whether they be goals for the day, or goals for the year. In the same way that you wouldn’t try to shove an entire plate of food down your throat, your agenda is much more manageable when you pace yourself and divide it up. How to break it down? You could sort by priority as a start.
4) Make decisions from a place of love, not fear.
It’s much easier to tackle the load when your heart is in the right place. I wrote, “win at parenting” earlier. If you’re a parent too, you know that this is something you can’t win at. You can only do your best. And you do this by making decisions with the information you have at hand, and when that fails, you go with your gut instinct. Above all, if you make decisions out of love and not fear, the universe is on your side.
Above all, if you make decisions out of love and not fear, the universe is on your side.
I have started projects and side businesses as a form of procrastination. Why? Because my true love is writing. And writing is hard. Focus on one thing and do it well. I’ve used photography to pay the bills and I like hunting for vintage items to sell, too. But what do I really desire? For the work that I love to ease my financial burden. I love to write, and I’ve been trained to think that I can’t make a decent income from writing. Well, it’s time for me to fight this negative belief and focus.
6) Take the pressure off.
You can’t work full-time, make gourmet meals 7 nights a week, be there for the school pick-up every day (as well as attend all of the school events), blog and conquer social media daily, and keep your house spotless 24–7. Unless you cut out sleep and take super-meds. Seriously, though. Once you have established your priorities, the other areas of your life that you feel need work (for me it’s finances and self-care) may iron themselves out. Resolve the bigger, debilitating issues first. Seek advice. Meditate. Ask for support. Go easy on yourself. Set realistic expectations. When you’ve got the tools to fix the larger problems, and when you love what you do and leap out of bed every morning to do it, you’ll notice a rippling joyful effect on the other areas of your life where you want to see improvement. I’m not there yet, but this article is, in many ways, a letter to myself.
Resolve the bigger, debilitating issues first. Seek advice. Meditate. Ask for support. Go easy on yourself. Set realistic expectations. When you’ve got the tools to fix the larger problems, and when you love what you do and leap out of bed every morning to do it, you’ll notice a rippling joyful effect on the other areas of your life where you want to see improvement.
7) Let go and leave it to the universe.
If you’ve already implemented all of these tips and haven’t noticed any changes, then it’s time to let go. Chances are that when you’ve loosened your grip on your eagerness to see immediate improvement, the universe will deliver. I’m going to go as far to say that the universe loves to surprise you. Try one tip, or try all seven, and surprise the universe right back…