Are you addicted to easy? If you’re like most people, it’s likely you are. All one needs to do these days is browse their Sunday newspaper circulars to see all of the products invented to make everyday tasks quick and easy.
Microwave ovens can whip up a meal in a few minutes or even seconds. Email has replaced letters and thank-you cards. Computers help us balance our family budgets and get homework done in half the time.
All of these conveniences were designed to give us more time to enjoy life, but have they succeeded?
I say no.
Because we have so much more time, instead of filing it with meaningful activity, we fill it with more tasks. Our To-Do lists get longer and longer each day, exhausting us beyond words, stressing us out, and overall making us unhappy.
We base our worth on how much we can get done in a day. When every item on your list is not checked off, you’ve had a bad day. If you were lucky enough to cross off more than 50 percent of your busy-ness, then you’ve had a good day and feel good about yourself.
It’s time to stop defining ourselves by what we accomplish and start recognizing who we are as human beings.
I can’t tell you how many mothers I speak to regularly who are struggling to balance their never-ending chore lists with their work with their kid’s schedules with finding time for themselves. They are in a state of fight or flight 24/7 and are wondering where their lives are going.
“How did I get here?” “Where has the time gone?” “I don’t even know what I ate for breakfast!”
Does this sound like you? I know how you feel. I asked myself these same questions years ago until I made a decision that something had to change or the writing on my tombstone was going to read something like “Here lies Jennifer. She got everything done but has no memory of doing it.”
How did I make this change? First, I admitted I was a work-a-holic. I didn’t think I was, but I was. How did I know for sure? Because every time I would try to relax, I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I paced my house looking for more things to do because I didn’t know how to just ‘be’.
Next, I looked at my daily schedule and commitments. I realized that many of the things on this schedule were no longer needed or I was doing them for the wrong reasons. Volunteer commitments ended. Spending time on projects with no real payoff stopped. Expecting my house to be in tip-top shape went out the window.
In short, I figured out what was important to me and my children. Having knick-knacks perfectly dusted and aligned was not quite the memory I wanted my children to have when they looked back on their early lives.
I wasn’t enjoying my life and what’s worse, I was teaching my children how they could not enjoy theirs.Yikes – double whammy.
Am I completely cured? No. But, since re-arranging my time, getting rid of unimportant committments, and recognizing that I’m not getting any younger has changed my life dramatically. Yes, there are still days when I wonder about how to get it all done but my approach to my tasks is vastly different. Today I delegate. I ask for help. I reprioritize. When I crawl into bed, I’m not plagued by feelings of worthlessness over an undone task.
This week, when you are creating your to-do list, take a moment and see which things can be re-arranged, delegated, or simply removed. Then fill those minutes or hours you gained with meaningful activity either for yourself or for your family.
You may still be dog-tired as your head hits the pillow, but you will be tired from BEing instead of DOing.