Here are three things you NEED to do today:
Anything else you accomplish today is just icing on the cake (or icing on the vegan pumpkin bar… like this recipe).
You have time. Seriously. Use it wisely.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who feels very overwhelmed and anxious– she always feels like she has to be doing, doing, doing, and she can still never “do” enough. I feel that way too– working from home (expect when I am teaching classes) means that my down time is easily confused with work time. My work hours begin at 5:30 am and end at 9:00 pm during the week AND I work every weekend. In addition, my profession is my passion. How do I keep my sanity? How do I keep myself from working ALL the time? This has been my biggest struggle the past year. Out of necessity, I’ve spent much time and energy bringing balance back into my life, which was previously overwhelmed with obligations/ e-mails/ work/ exhaustion/ anxiety.
Here’s what works for me:
Firstly: I schedule daily Meditation Breaks. (If you are new to meditating, check out this article.) I meditate, or sit quietly, for five minutes before every yoga class I teach. Most people aren’t afforded the luxury of being in a yoga studio three times a day, so my suggestion is that you schedule (literally: put it on your outlook calender) your daily 5 minutes of sitting still and breathing. When five mindful minutes is a non-negotiable part of your schedule, you are more likely to stick to your routine.
Secondly: I use my iPhone as tool for mindfulness.
Every day, my phone reminds me to take a big breath. It reminds me that my self-worth is not contingent on how much I work. And it reminds me to take note of the many blessings in my own life. (Find out why you should write down your blessings.) I schedule into my day short reminders that I am blessed to be alive. I got the idea from Max Strom’s book There is No App for Happiness. He writes:
“Many people schedule every part of their day–except its most important parts– time to cultivate their deepest beliefs and convictions. Schedule time that inspires you to do more with your lifespan.” -m. strom
I also organize my apps so that I’m not unconsciously wasting time.
My Ironman laughs when he sees this heading for my app collection of Time Wasters, but I’m totally serious about it. If you are going to spend idle time on social media, be conscious that you are doing it. Don’t be that person who checks her Facebook 53 times a day and then complains that she doesn’t have time to take a walk and smell the roses. Increase the quality of your time and your time increases. Be conscious about how you spend your time.
Thirdly: I’m diligent about Airplane Mode. Since I realized my morning alarm would still sound even if my phone is on Airplane Mode (yea… I’m not the most ‘tech saavy’ person you know…) my phone goes on Airplane mode the moment I walk in my front door after my evening yoga classes. Why is this important? I shouldn’t be checking my work e-mail at 9:00 pm! My time is my time. Blue light from electronics disrupts sleeping habits, so e-mails and texts can wait until the next morning. Airplane mode. It’s a seriously great habit.
I’m still negotiating an appropriate balance between ‘work time’ and ‘life time.’ But these three practices have been instrumental in alleviating my anxiety over ‘not doing enough’ or ‘not having enough time.’ They’ve also been instrumental in cultivating quality time with the people I love. These people deserve my time and attention. I still have many things to do. I still work two jobs and teach 17 classes a week. But, when my to-do list gets overwhelming, I take a short walk outside and find something beautiful to marvel. And I remind myself that there are really only three things I need to do today: eat, sleep, and smile. When it’s put that simply, it’s easy to believe: you have time.
How do you find balance in your life? What practices happen in your home that help your family find more time to be together? I’d love to hear from you.