I get it: you're busy.
You have multiple roles and responsibilities.
You might be working on more than one career or biz venture.
You're passionate about lots of different things.
And you don't want to let go of any of it.
So how do you handle it all?
We've been talking about this lately through the #liveloudly newsletter (you can read it here + subscribe) and in our #loudladies group (you can join the conversation here). But I've even seen it come up in coaching sessions with clients, discussions between friends on Facebook, and on other blogs like Marie Forleo.
I don't know why this is such an epidemic among bloggers/women/humans. But I can tell you one thing: a lot of it comes down to PRESSURE. Pressure from our family + friends, bosses + teachers + preachers. Pressure to do more, make more, be more. Pressure to work hard + be the best + DON'T QUIT.
And I'll tell you something else: most of that pressure probably comes to you, from you.
Shoutout to my fellow perfectionists, workaholics, Type A's and ENFJs. You know who you are.
But I'm not going to tell you to change. I'm not going to say "NEWSFLASH: You can't do it all. Sorry. You need to drop something." Because, I honestly don't think you do. A lot of other coaches would disagree with me when I say... I think you can do as many things as you want.
Just don't try to do everything else, too.
Doing anything you want means choosing not to do everything. (Translation: Cut the fluff.) #liveloudly— Stephanie Shar (@loudmouthblogs) May 20, 2015
CUT THE FLUFF means CUT THE SHIT which means CUT OUT WHAT YOU THINK YOU "SHOULD" DO.
Start doing what you WANT and NEED to do instead.
For example, I "should" clean my bedroom.
Do I "need" to? Of course not. Brandon's not going to kick me out if I don't.
Do I "want" to? Sometimes, but usually not.
Therefore, my room stays messy 99% of the time.
I'm not saying YOUR room should stay messy, but is there something else that you need or want to do instead? Now, if you really ENJOY cleaning, or you feel like you NEED to do it in order to work better, then go for it. For me, I need to clean my office because that's where I work and it DOES help me work better.
But I'm only in my bedroom to sleep, so that doesn't matter as much.
Priorities. That's what will keep you sane, organized, and happy in business and in life.
Also, nailing down those priorities and making sure everything else lines up with them.
And, finding your "why" (your reason for doing what you do).
That's why I came up with these 12 questions today (or "quests" for short, because they're pretty epic questions) that you can answer in order to figure out your life. Are you ready?
Will you allow setbacks to make you better or bitter this week? It's all up to you. Don't lose faith! #liveloudly— Stephanie Shar (@loudmouthblogs) May 18, 2015
1. ARE THERE ANY TIME WASTERS IN MY DAY THAT I CAN ELIMINATE OR CUT BACK ON?
This is the quickest and easiest way to feel more balanced, so we're doing it first to get you going on the right foot. I'm not saying you shouldn't scroll through Instagram or watch mindless television, but set a time limit -- and only do it if it's what you really want from your day (not just because you're feeling lazy). Make your leisure activities intentional and exciting, not just time-fillers when you feel like procrastinating. Choose TV shows that you love and Instagram accounts that you truly enjoy.
2. AM I DWELLING TOO MUCH ON WHAT I CAN'T DO INSTEAD OF WHAT I CAN?
Don't play the victim card. We all have problems, and feeling anxious about them becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you have a lot to do and feel like you can't do it, then you won't. My therapist mother recently reminded me of this. The best way to have a balanced life is to think positively. When you stay relaxed, your life won't be stressful. It's not life that stresses you out, it's you that stresses you out.
Bottom line: Don't make excuses. (It doesn't work. I know from experience.)
Lmfao, I'm dead right now. My mom goes "Compared to most of the clients I've seen, you are not mentally ill. Just slightly neurotic."— Stephanie Shar (@loudmouthblogs) May 20, 2015
Thanks for the diagnosis, Mama Loudmouth.
3. WHAT ARE THE 3 THINGS I MOST WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN LIFE?
Or rather, what's most important to you?
I've talked about my priorities in detail before, but they can be summed up like this:
- LOVE- I want to have love.
- TIME- I want to have time.
- MONEY- I want to have money
4. WHAT DO THESE 3 PRIORITIES MEAN TO ME?
To me, LOVE means... being able to love God, love myself, love my family and friends and work.
To me, TIME means... being able to control and create time so that I am in charge of my life.
To me, MONEY means... being able to provide for my son and have financial freedom without worry.
When you know what you want and why, then you can start to analyze how you fill your days.
5. DO THE THINGS I ACCOMPLISH ON A DAILY BASIS LINE UP WITH MY PRIORITIES?
Are you doing what you NEED to do in order to get what you WANT?
You must decide if the things you do are bringing you closer to your purpose and helping you live out your passions, or if they are just there because it's "the right thing to do". Are you going to school because you want to, or because you're supposed to? Are you working a 9-5 job because you think you have to, or because you need to in order to achieve what you ultimately want?
You need to make sure that what you're doing is bringing you closer to your ultimate goals and not pulling you away.
6. WHERE WILL I BE IN FIVE YEARS?
Get specific! Where you will live? Who will you be with? How will you spend your day, starting with when you get up in the morning? Really visualize it. Write it down or use a voice recorder and save it. Every day will bring you closer to that five-year mark and what you hope for the future.
7. WHAT AM I DOING THAT I CAN GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO OR DROP COMPLETELY?
You might LOVE your job as a whole and yet not totally enjoy 100% of the tasks that come with it. Is there anything you don't want to do (but that you need to do) that you can hire someone else for? Is there anything you can simply stop doing because it's not as big a deal as you once thought (AKA one of your "shoulds")?
Maybe you only need to spend a half hour a day on social media instead of an hour. Maybe you can unsubscribe from some newsletters or unfollow some blogs that are simply distractions and not helpful for your journey. Maybe you can hire a VA to answer emails, or maybe you can sign up for a stock photo site instead of scouring Pinterest for appropriate pictures.
Is there a way to make certain tasks more fun and less annoying? If you need to make yourself a posterboard with gold stars in order to get stuff done, do that! Do whatever it is so that you can have more love, more time, and more money (or whatever your priorities are).
8. AM I MAKING TIME FOR RELAXING, HEALTHY, MIND-CLEARING ACTIVITIES?
These are NOT the time-wasters from #1.
I'm talking about intentional, luxurious, anxiety-squashing rituals like...
- completing a morning meditation or prayer.
- working out, running, doing yoga.
- taking a bubble bath with lavender oil and candles.
You know, "yummy" stuff that we rarely do for ourselves because we're busy taking care of everyone and everything else. Do one of those every day. (And if it really is Instagram or trashy TV, I won't judge.)
Finding balance in your busy life comes down to putting your priorities first. #liveloudly— Stephanie Shar (@loudmouthblogs) May 21, 2015
9. DO I HAVE A FRIEND, COACH, OR MENTOR THAT CAN BE MY ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER?
This should be someone you don't live with or see every day -- someone that you can check in with regularly, once a week, about your goals. Someone that can help you create a concrete plan for the future that keeps your personal priorities in mind.
10. WHAT SACRIFICES AM I WILLING TO MAKE IN ORDER TO LIVE A BALANCED LIFE?
Creating a balanced, low-stress life can actually be pretty difficult at first. This might seem unfair to you because having balance should bring you to supreme happiness and well-being, right?
Well, yes... but not right away. Think of everything you fill your days with as little building blocks. You're stacking them up to create structure, but for awhile it might not make sense and can even collapse. Yes, you may have to rebuild the foundation of your life a few times.
But it's all part of the learning process and once you push through the difficulty, you can fall into a pleasant routine and pattern that is both exciting and relaxing. I can't tell you how long it'll take or how much work you'll have to do, because everyone's story is different, but I've made tons of hard choices that have made my life easier in the long run (sleeping on a bedbug infested air mattress on the floor of a house with 5 guys for 8 months, while pregnant, is one of them -- but that story is for another day).
So, think about it: Are you willing to sacrifice a little time, money, comfort, or fun now so that you can a lot later?
Finishing up a 2,000+ word blog post. Then working out, showering, and praising God for another wonderful day at the office! #lovethislife— Stephanie Shar (@loudmouthblogs) May 20, 2015
11. DO I HAVE A SET SCHEDULE OR ROUTINE FOR TODAY, TOMORROW, NEXT WEEK, NEXT MONTH?
Planning may take time, but it saves time in the long run. At the very least, make a to-do list each night for the next day before you go to bed, so that it's ready and waiting on your desk in the morning. Then put it out of your mind and focus on one of your favorite pastimes that you thought of in #8.
Obviously, life doesn't always go as planned and things do come up, so don't get discouraged if the day doesn't go your way. Reward yourself for whatever you were able to do and move on. Dwelling will only hurt you rather than help the situation.
12. DO I HAVE ANYTHING IN MY LIFE THAT DOESN'T HAVE A LEGIT REASON ATTACHED TO IT?
It's up to you to decide what a "good reason" is, but I can tell you some bad ones:
- Someone else thinks you should do it, but it's not something you want or need to do.
- It gives you something to do when you're bored or procrastinating.
- It doesn't bring you closer to achieving your goals and dreams.
- It forces you to neglect your priorities instead of keeping them at the forefront.
- It provides you with a paycheck but doesn't add any other value to your life.
Ultimately, I want to earn money while having fun AND making the world a better place...
What about you? Let me know on Facebook, YouTube, etc.
Or you can just RT this. It might be easier: