“The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.”
Irene C. Kassorla
Cluttered. Chaotic. Unsettled. Fatigued.
Those are all the words that describe the way you feel when you realize things have gotten out of hand in your life.
These words describe the heaviness that consumes your mind when you can’t seem to get off the hamster wheel you’re on.
It’s burdensome. You go to bed restless, but when you wake up to anxiety, you feel even worse.
When you reach this point of discontentment, there is only one solution: Take back your life.
You may be wondering how you can even think about taking back your life when so much of you is expended on others. I get it. Totally get it.
I often feel like I spend more time giving out to others, only to find myself exhausted. That soon converts to anger when I see how little care I gave to myself.
Many times, it’s the outside elements that prevent us from gaining balance:
- Spending time listening to everyone else’s problems and then spending time trying to solve them
- Going through our to-do list, which actually takes us hours longer than we expected
- Our boss notifies us that we have to take care of something right now, pushing everything else to the back burner.
- Kids and all their needs. All of them.
- Traffic and more traffic. It just pushes back our schedule and our patience.
At the end of the day, I think it’s safe to say that we all need a break from that cycle. Through trial and error, I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me to bring back the calmness that my mind so desperately needs.
Learn to Say “No.” You’ve heard this before. It’s not rocket science, but it’s so hard for us to do, especially those of us who are givers. I’m one of those people who finds happiness in helping others, but there are times when it leads to sacrificing my own time and energy. When people make requests of you, be okay with saying no if it cuts into your “me time.” Trust me: It gets easier to say no after a while the first few times.
Divide your work between what’s urgent and what’s important. Someone gave me this advice last year. When taking on tasks or deciding when to engage with others’ needs, we must do a quick assessment: Is this something that is urgent or just important? If it’s urgent, handle it now. But if it’s important, schedule a time to engage with it when you can give your devoted focus. This may hurt some feelings, but it saves you the headache of being reactive when things come your way.
Understand that there will always be work to be done. Your responsibilities will always be there, my friend. That’s just the truth. The way you orient towards your work matters much more than that to-do list. Basically, don’t try to accomplish everything and don’t try to be everything for everyone. It’s just impossible. Do what you can, and finish the rest tomorrow.
Have a non-negotiable time period for yourself. This one has changed my life. Very recently, I started to block off time for myself to do those things that matter most. For me, those included having a time for my morning prayer & devotion, exercising, and blocking off time to write. During these moments, I turn shut down my email and put my phone on “Do Not Disturb.” It has been liberating and gives me that rejuvenation that my mind, body, and spirit needs daily.
Start with these principles and see how they lead to increased possibility for balance and calmness in your life. Don’t let your world determine what you need and how much of it you need. Take back what belongs to you – your life.
And now I’d like to hear from you. What are some things you’ve done to take back your time and have more control of your day to day? Feel free to share in the comment section below!