If you’re exhausted trying to do it all by yourself, this post is for you my friend.
If there’s one question I get asked over and over again, it’s “How on earth do you get it all done?”. Often, when people find out that I homeschool my kids, I’ve written a book, I’m a gigging musician, I run a blog, clean our house and cook meals from scratch every day, the next question is fairly predictable:
“How do you do it all?”
Some people even add “…without losing your mind” to this question. And so I thought I’d take some time to answer my most frequently asked question here and tell you my secret to getting things done.
1. Realise that you can’t do it all
First of all, you need to realise that you can’t get it ALL done. You’re one person fixed in time and space. You can’t be everywhere at the same time. And so it’s impossible to believe that you can do the gazillion things that need to get done single-handedly by yourself and stay sane.
2. Focus on what matters
Once you realise that you can’t do it all. You need to make a decision as to what you’re going to prioritise. It follows that, if you can’t get it all done, you’ll need to prioritise what you’re going to spend your time and energy doing because you have to allow some things to be put to one side or dropped altogether.
Whilst you’re here, grab the free resource at the bottom of this post to help you focus on what matters each week.
So, ask yourself, ‘what’s important? What’s really a priority in my life right now? What do I truly value? And once you know your priorities, you can;
3. Design your ideal week
If you had no constraints on your time and you could do whatever you wanted to with the 168 hours in your week, where would you spend it? What would you do with it? Now that you know what your priorities are, how would that impact how you would design an ideal week from the ground up if you were completely in charge of your time?
There are a few steps to take with designing an ideal;
a) Plan & schedule rest
Rest and rejuvenation is the first thing that should be scheduled into your ideal week. Although this seems counterintuitive, this is the crucial element that helps you to stay sane and allows you to get a lot of things done without losing your mind.
b) Be realistic and honest
How long does it really take to do X, Y or Z? Often we underestimate the time different actions and activities take. This causes us to overcommit ourselves and feel drained and crazy exhausted by the end of the week. So, be as realistic as possible when scheduling activities in your week. And if you really don’t know how long an activity takes, just put your best guess down and as you go through the week, if you’re consistently finding that you’re taking a long time on a particular activity, then lengthen the time. Overestimate the times if you have to.
Don’t try to rush yourself through each activity. You don’t want to go through your week rushing everything because you won’t feel like you’re sane. You’ll feel like you’re constantly out of breath and slowly losing your mind! And you want to be able to go through each week feeling sane, rested and energised. And a big part of that is allowing yourself enough time to complete the different things that need to get done in the day.
c) Schedule your priorities
These are the things that you decided are really valuable to you, the things that matter in your life. Once you’ve scheduled in rest and rejuvenation into your ideal week, now you can add in the things that are valuable and that truly matter. It’s important to give these things a prime spot in your week because it’s important to know that you’re spending your days and your weeks doing things that really matter to you.
And when you spend your days and weeks doing things that really matter to you, you’re going to look back at the end of the week or the month and you’ll feel good about what you’ve been doing with your time, your life and your energy. And this will make a huge impact on your confidence and your goals for the future.
d) Schedule everything else (if there’s still space!)
This refers to items or activities that have to be done. This includes things like recurring appointments (e.g. kids swimming lessons) or regular tasks (e.g. meal planning). If you find that after scheduling rest and your priorities, there isn’t much room for everything else, don’t guilt yourself out about it. If these items didn’t make it onto your priority list in the first place, ask yourself ‘do I even need to be doing this at all?’. Could you delete or delegate any of these items? For example, you can delegate meal planning by purchasing ready-made meal plans.
The #1 planning mistake
Some people, when creating an ideal week, start by blocking out their regular appointments first, but this is a mistake! Doing that perpetuates the cycle of feeling rushed and insane because chances are high that one or more of your recurring appointments are activities that aren’t even on your list of priorities. If that’s the case, why are you even doing them? Can you resign from these or at least delegate them to someone else?
The #1 objection
The number one objection I hear when it comes to designing an ideal week is that ‘I’m not in complete control of my time so I can’t design one’. Creating an ideal week doesn’t require that you have complete control over your time. Nobody does. Everyone has events, tasks or appointments they have little to no control over. The purpose of creating an ideal week is so that you have a template of what’s truly important to you so that you can start focusing on the things that really matter.
How to get your sanity back
Your ideal week is the template you’ll use when you plan each week in advance. If planning your weeks in advance is something new for you, I’ll write another post about that soon! Just know that every week won’t look exactly like your ideal week. Life happens and it’s a good thing for us to be flexible when emergencies come up or to be able to accommodate other events that are important to us.
And you might find that certain obligations take a while to step out of. For example, if you’ve volunteered to run a weekly group and realise that the group isn’t in your list of priorities, getting a replacement before you can step down might take some time.
But once you’ve created your ideal week, you can use it as the basis of what to do when. And you can finally stop overcommitting yourself and rushing around. Over time, as you drop or delegate activities and tasks that aren’t important to you, you’ll begin to go through your weeks with a new sense of calm and purpose. And you’ll get to the end of each day with a feeling of success because you’ve done things that are truly important for you, things that really matter.
In conclusion, this post is really about how to get the things done that matter without losing your mind. And to help you do that, I’m giving you a free printable to help you, it’s my Weekly Focus and I use it to plan out my upcoming week and ensure that I’m spending time on the things that really matter.