Are we coming or going? – Part 1
It’s time for another series! Woo hoo!!! Translation – too much for one blog so I’m splitting it up so as not to add to your constant feeling of being overwhelmed. You’re welcome. Enjoy!
It seems as if each day is filled to the absolute brim. The day is can sometimes resemble a rollercoaster ride. You get on, it goes up and down, upside-down, twists, turns, and it goes around again. Eventually you get off, but then you just have to get on again tomorrow. If you are lucky, it will pause on occasion. Your roller coaster ride might look like mine complete with kids (and all the stuff that comes with them), work, food preparation, and cleaning etc. You might have a day that consists of a 12 hour work day, commuting, and classes. Whatever the case may be, everyone seems to think there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things that need doing. I came to this conclusion after completing my extensive research. My very unscientific research consists of chatting with everyone: the neighbors on my driveway, co-workers at the school, friends at lunch, parents at my children’s various activities, and the many strangers I feel the need to bond with while I’m out and about running errands. Most likely, your life is some kind of crazy. I’m constantly working to try and slow this rollercoaster down so that we can have the time to actually get around to living. I’m not sure how it got this crazy but as I’ve always said…the Kuhels are a work in progress. This craziness is an excuse that many of us are accustomed to using as the reason we can’t do the things we need to do to live well. As a family we’ve come across some ways to surpass the chaos and make health a priority. I have a few ideas on how to handle living well in the midst of living crazily.
Time – What time?
If you have extra time on your hands and you are not living well, go ahead and look over “Is today THE day?” blog. This blog is reserved for those with seemingly insurmountable time constraints. I say “seemingly” because at first glance, maybe even after a few long hard stares, making time to live well can feel very unlikely. Just thinking about how to wedge in ANYTHING else can be that hurdle that keeps you and your family from making changes. The good news is that with a bit of creativity and compromise, you can just change how you do what you already do, without trying to carve out those non-existent extra hours in a day. You know that saying “work smarter not harder”? I wish I was the genius that thought up that little nugget, but I’m okay with having credit for just trying to adopt the concept. You are going to have to stop having your pity party and saying things like “Well if I had tons of time and money I could be in great shape with a personal trainer, nutritionist, and a personal chef.” I have uttered that exact sentence myself over the years and that wishful thinking got me nowhere in a hurry. For most of the general public, ideal time and monetary scenarios are not a reality. After growing tired of waiting for the money tree to grow in the front yard, I realized that you have to do what you can with what you’ve got.
- Get a handle – Take some time (make some time-this is your life we’re talking about) to put your typical week down on paper. Make sure you plug in all your obligations. Include commute time, prep time, wait time. Put it all in a format that makes sense to you. You can use your PDA, a day timer/planner, spreadsheet, paper and pencil, or a napkin and crayon (it’s some people’s reality – don’t judge). Be as detailed as possible to help this problem solving process along. So…”work” for an 8-12 hour block is not going to help you very much. Pay attention to your day and figure in any breaks, traveling to meetings, typical number of trips away from your desk, hours at your desk/work area, study time, TV time, specific chores, car pooling etc. You are probably going to have to blink several times when you look at all you are doing during those precious hours each day. You may find yourself feeling something. You are going to pat yourself on the back for being an overachiever, realize you have some time that could be better utilized, see that you are chasing your tail because you are not too organized, come to the conclusion that you are simply overextended, or likely you will feel a little bit of all of these things. So in the end, it’s all there in black and white (or purple crayon). Your life and your family’s life in a nutshell for you to dissect.
- Get real– Now it’s time to face the music and get comfy cozy with your reality. Resist the urge to further fill your days if you see some dead space. Resist the urge to poke your eyes out if you see no dead space. Do embrace the idea of scanning your days with an eye toward efficiency.
If you find yourself trolling the aisles of the local drug-mart several times a week because you discover no more toilet paper on Monday, no more cat litter on Tuesday (garbage night) , index cards for a school project on Thursday, and a Sunday night dark chocolate bar emergency, take notice.
Try and keep a list of your most used items in your house and when you start getting low (don’t wait until you are staring at the last empty roll of toilet paper on the dispenser) make a check mark. When you get enough check marks, go and get the stuff in one trip. My kids are notorious for last minute “needs” for school and it is best not to have the economy pack of dark chocolate bars lying around, so some of this running around is unavoidable. LOTS of running around is avoidable so plan, plan, plan. This kind of planning is applicable to your grocery shopping, picking up dry-cleaning, shuttling your kids from place to place, getting yourself from place to place and so on and so on.
Plan your routes to hit several places in one shot. Resist the urge to run out for just one thing. I KNOW you have more than only one thing you can take care of while you are out. Take a second and you can save yourself lots of time and aggravation. You will discover some time previously lost along with your mind that you lost last week racing to the store while someone was sitting patiently because they forgot to check the TP situation BEFORE sitting. We’ll talk more about what to do with your new found time in just a bit.
Okay, so a bit will be in the next blog. Take some time and try to get your daily life sketched out and we’ll cover a bit more next time. Come back and see what’s next.
Until next time…Live Well! – Toni Kuhel