Lately I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with just the daily stuff of life.
I’m pretty good at managing my time and fitting all the important to-do’s into my day, but it seems like I’m not getting much more than that done, and it’s frustrating. There is so much I want to complete each day, and when I can’t get it all done, I start to feel down.
No matter how I slice and dice and schedule my time, I still only have 24 hours in a day, and there is only so much I can humanly accomplish during that time. When I start to feel ineffective, I have to take a look at what I am prioritizing and make sure I am spending my time on what is really important. I have to declutter my day.
Perhaps you’ve felt the same way before, or are feeling that way right now. If you are, hopefully this post will help you as much as it helps me by writing it.
Identify Daily Priorities
The first thing I do when decluttering my day is to identify tasks that are non-negotiable and have to get done during certain times of the day. This includes obligations that may vary depending on the day of the week. I put down my work schedule, time for sleep, exercise, meal prep and cooking, Cub Scouts meeting, music lessons and any other commitments that happen at specific times.
Once I’ve identified the tasks and commitments that must be completed each day, I decide if any those could be removed or reduced. Extra-curricular activities that are no longer enriching, cutting back on a service commitment or work brought home that can be left for the next day. I map out my remaining free time, the time I spend surfing the web, watching TV or on the phone, and evaluate where I can make changes.
Morning & Evening Routines
The next thing I do is to write down how I am spending my morning and evening. What is my routine during these hours? Am I sleeping until the last possible moment and rushing through the morning, or am I sitting down and watching two hours of TV in the evenings to unwind? Am I using these times of the day in the most effective way?
After I’ve identified priorities and compared those against my actual daily routines, I evaluate the expectations I have for myself. I tend to expect too much from myself, planning too many goals and activities into my day. Setting unrealistic expectations with twenty things on my daily to-do list is not a good way to increase confidence in what I can accomplish. Planning my day with a reasonable number of tasks on the schedule makes it a lot more likely that I’ll achieve my goals.
Taking time and thinking through my days while going through the steps above helps me see what areas I need to change up, reduce or re-prioritize.
More often than not, I find I need to declutter my day by doing one of the following-
-Cutting down on TV or Internet in the evening so I can get more sleep and have the energy to complete tasks the next day.
-Carving out time for regular exercise, which increases my stamina and energy on a daily basis. Even if it just ends up being a 20-minute evening walk some days, it can give me a quick burst of energy to complete a couple more things.
-Identifying my top three tasks to accomplish for the day, and making everything else on the list optional. Doing this each evening for the next day is the most beneficial.
-Make my morning routine simpler. Sometimes I try to fit too much into the mornings before the kids are awake. Decluttering my morning routine can help reclaim the rest of my day’s productivity.
Decluttering my days when I start to feel overwhelmed with life is essential. Much like decluttering my physical home, decluttering daily life makes space in my mind.
While there are many wonderful and good things to spend time on, having a limited amount of that time requires intentional choice and mindful consideration of what is most important in my life and brings the most joy.
Photo Credit: Laura Fox at In The Loupe Photography