You’re sitting there trying to figure out how you got to this point, again. Wasn’t it just last week you created a new schedule that was supposed to bring more time and productivity into your life?
You spent hours creating to-do lists that were supposed to help you keep track of all you needed to get done. Yet here you are shoulders hunched, head in your hands, trying to figure out how you over slept, were late to three appointments, missed your workouts the last few days and had to order pizza for dinner, again. Sigh… Will this cycle ever end? Will your to-do list ever work? Will you EVER find more time in your days?
I’m not trying to discourage you, but in my experience the cycle doesn’t end just because you get a shiny new day-planner. The to-do lists and schedules will not work. And if you don’t change a few things you will always be overwhelmed, stressed and unhappy. It’s time to face the facts, schedules and to-do lists do not give you more time.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” -Eckhart Tolle
There is no magic bullet to having better time management. The only way to find more time is by changing the way you think.
My honesty comes from experience. I have tried many schedules and to-do lists that were guaranteed to work. I would spend hours creating color coded, minute to minute schedules. I’d put everything I could think of that I needed to do on a to-do list.
My plans would go well for a week, maybe two if I was “lucky”. Inevitably, I’d end up as that mom on the couch crying, frustrated and depressed that nothing is working and my life is spinning out of control.
Questions would go through my head, should I stop trying to create a business, should I take my kids out of their activities, should I quit homeschooling, should I delete my blog? Should I stop doing so much? Should I just live life in my house as a hermit and never do anything? If I stop all I am doing I would have all the time in the world! Wouldn’t that be easier?!
It sounded easier. I could just stop everything! Committed or not it was my life right? My problem was that being a hermit wasn’t what God called me to do.
God called me to help develop businesses with my husband, to homeschool my kids, to encourage my family, be their cheerleader and help them develop their talents. He called me to be a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and servant for Him. Unfortunately, I can’t do all that sitting at home on my duff, hiding from the chaos.
So I cried out to Him.
“Why God?! How am I supposed to do all of this and not die from stress, defeat and depression?!”
He’s always good about answering my prayers, but the condition of my heart determines if I hear him or not. I took me years to finally hear him on this issue.
For one moment I stayed still long enough for Him to speak. What did he say?…
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 New Living Translation Bible
Of course we have to worry about today not tomorrow, but how am I supposed to surrender all my plans and just work on today? Don’t you know I am a Mom?! Ack!
As I continued my conversation with God I realized that I continually live in tomorrow. I mean, I go through the motions of the day but I was not being present.
For example, I would be thinking about the deadline I needed to get done while I am playing a game with my kids. Or I would let myself worry about a meeting I had the next week while cooking dinner.
All this worrying and thinking into the future drains a lot of energy, which stops productivity. This cycle would always end with me asking the same question, “When will I get my life together?! When will I get more time?!”
During my conversation with God, it finally clicked. The answer was so profound, in front of my nose, so obvious yet hugely overlooked. Here is what he told me…
How to Find More Time In Your Day
1. It’s not about “getting your life together” it’s about being present in the now.
When you are present, you do not worry about all that you have to do. You do not fear tomorrow or what you will accomplish. You just live peacefully in the present moment. When you focus on today you have time to accomplish more.
Read more about presence here.
2. If you are constantly searching for the right schedule you’ll never find it.
Let’s be real, for most of us a plan or schedule will not work because we do not want to do it. It feels too restrictive, like a boss standing over you telling you what to do and making you feel guilty if you don’t get it all done.
Being a mom entrepreneur, you gave up the idea of having a boss the day you decided to start your own business.
You can learn how to deal with the to-do lists and schedules here.
3. Decide to make the most of the moment you are in.
I finally realized I didn’t have to keep looking for a magic bullet! I found that life was all of a sudden manageable! I know this sounds corny, but it was like Heaven opened up, light beamed down and the angels started singing!
It’s okay to wake up late, you needed the sleep. It’s okay if you don’t get it all done today, you shouldn’t try. It’s okay to not go to bed at the same time every night. It’s okay to let go of the rigidness in your life. It’s okay to take care of what is happening in the moment and not get angry about the past.
4. Let go of the “if only’s,” “going to’s” and “tomorrow’s.”
Start thinking Now, Today, This Moment.
There is a vicious cycle we put ourselves through:
It’s the “if only I would have _____, then I wouldn’t be dealing with _____ right now.”
If only I didn’t procrastinate, then I wouldn’t have had to work late on my deadline.
If only I didn’t stay up late, then I wouldn’t have woken up late.
If only I had got up on time, then I wouldn’t be behind today.
If only I wasn’t behind today, then I wouldn’t be stressed!
See where this is going? How many times do you do this to yourself? It’s time to stop. You waste so much energy going over this cycle of living in the past, having regret, feeling guilty and being disappointed with yourself.
When you give up the past and live in the present you tap into an unlimited resource of energy, time, peace and happiness!
5. A goal and dream will direct you, so make the most of your moment.
It is important to think about tomorrow in a certain way. Do not think of tomorrow in the “I need to’s.” It’s not about all the stuff you have to get done tomorrow. It’s about keeping your eyes focused forward while living in the day you’re in. You do this by setting goals and having dreams.
“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NLT Bible
Share your goals, plans, dreams with the Lord and ask him to guide you daily. He will show you what needs to be done. You give him room to do that when you live in the moment. He is able to show you the important things when you focus on the day you are in.
You can use your goals and dreams to motivate you by asking yourself, “what am I doing right now that will help me achieve my goals and dreams?” Keep your thoughts focused on today.
6. It’s about now, not when.
Watch how you are talking to yourself and others. Instead of saying “I need to get my life in order” say “I am living today how ever it comes to me.” Speak and think differently and you will believe it!
You will see the blessings in your life. You will start to define who you are. You will have time to focus on who you are becoming. When you stop worrying about tomorrow you start living today.
Start living NOW.
Watch this video….
This song is awesome. I love these lines…
“With peace in my mind. With peace in my heart. With peace in my soul. Wherever I’m going, I’m already home Living in the moment” -Jason Mraz
You will find true peace when you allow God to guide you. You will feel at home in God’s love. You will live in the moment. You will no longer feel overwhelmed. Your stress levels stay in the healthy range.
Life is a bunch of little gifts called moments that God uses to knit your life together.
Your life is a gift. God is your creator. He knows exactly what you need each day. So give the control back to him. Start seeing the color in every day and learn to live in the moment.
I would love your opinion about this post. Was it helpful? Did you find the information useful and inspiring? Please tell me in a comment below or email me at info [at] striveforprogress [dot] com