There is almost nothing more stressful than an overbooked schedule. Coming in a close second is a cluttered and disorganized physical environment. Combine the two together and you have the ingredients for chronic exhaustion. Yet, I would venture to say that most of us live in a constant state of over-promising (to ourselves, our families, clients, etc.) and feeling like we fall short. And because we are so overstretched, tending to our environment (mental and physical) takes a backseat because who has time to de-clutter?
The grand result of this crazy little merry-go-round is burnout. That “I just can’t take another thing!” state of mind. So, we come home, kick the dog, yell at our loved ones and do-do-do until we collapse and start the cycle again. Many times we are not even aware of what is really going on because the “situation normal” IS living on autopilot and wandering around exhausted.
What is the answer? It can be found in a little known art form called – the art of elimination.
Before you can really take the hedge trimmers to your schedule and surroundings, though, you have to become aware of what “reality” is looking like for you these days. Let’s start with your schedule.
Take a look at your schedule and your to-do list.
- Are you trying to fit 30 hours of things in 24 hours of today?
- Do you set yourself up for failure because each day’s task list is so long that you don’t even stand a prayer of putting a sizable dent in it?
- Do you consistently under-estimate the amount of time it’ll take for you to complete client projects and then find yourself working into the wee hours?
If so, it is like trying to put 120 pounds of air in a bike tire designed for 100 pounds of air. You keep pumping frantically until — BANG! The tire finally blows out (and scares the crap out of you). YOU are much the same way.
Let’s look at the solution to this common problem.
Inner awareness shifts you must make to get off the hamster wheel:
- Give yourself permission to be human and slow down to the speed of life (If you think that equates to internet speed, go watch a plant grow and get in touch with the REAL speed of life).
- Embrace the fact that restorative time is of equal (or even greater) importance as time spent in action.
- Learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling that inevitably comes with change.
- Understand that the state of your physical environment directly supports or hinders your effectiveness and well-being. (Is it in a disarray of clutter? Is it visually appealing? Is there space in your environment to do what you need to do in it?)
- Reward your efforts along the way (stop waiting for the BIG win).
Now let’s look at some practical “can-do” solutions to creating space. [Read more…]