I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now and am so impressed by all that you do. I’ve often wondered how you are able to stay organized and on top of so many projects, including managing your health and weight. I am a mother of one boy who is the same age as “the toddler” and also have a demanding career. My husband is often traveling for business and we spend much of the year on our own. I find that I struggle to keep all the balls in the air. I often notice that if I put the time in to manage my health (e.g., sleeping well, exercising regularly, doing all of the planning necessary to lose weight or just to eat nutritionally), I become behind in other areas of my life. I just can’t seem to stay focused or organized enough to manage. Eventually deadlines loom and I go weeks without attending to my health. I’d love to hear how you organize your time and your life, including any resources you might use.
The beginning of your email made me laugh out loud and I mean that in a funny nice way because if you REALLY knew me you’d know, I am NOT organized. Not even in the least bit. You should see my office or my house for that matter. It routinely looks as if a tornado swept through. I’ve been in my new home for over a year and still have boxes in corners and my computer is so muddled I can hardly find files when I need them.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s Proof! I snapped these this afternoon…
My "cozy" living room…
My "lovely" kitchen…
My de facto "office", i.e. the Ottoman and dinosaur jungle.
I’m not telling, rather showing you this to make you feel better. It’s true. I can’t keep up. And I’d wager there are women all over the world that will benefit by the next 5 words I’m about to type…
You can’t do it all.
I’m also going to throw in…
You can’t be everything to everyone.
You can’t be in two places at the same time.
And the famous…
You can’t make everyone happy.
For me it comes down to prioritizing. It’s simple. I make time for the things that are important to me, including spending time with little guy, cooking healthy meals for my family, running/working out, and posting on the blogs. Those are my non-negotiables.
I define a non-negotaiable as something I will do regardless of my other responsibilities (within reason of course, I mean you can’t get fired.) That means I routinely go to bed with dirty dishes in my sink. Sometimes there is laundry in desperate need of folding for weeks, and you know what… my floor could use a good sweeping but it’ll have to wait, I’m responding to you at the moment. :)
I think the most important thing for you to do is prioritize and forgive yourself for not being Super Woman. I know society wants us to be. They think women can be effortlessly beautiful while managing a full-time career, raising the kids, keeping a spotless house and finding time to devote to their health and relationships. I hate to tell you, it’s just not possible.
You pointed out in your email that you become behind in other areas of your life when you focus on you and your health. I’m curious what these other areas are? Is there something you can drop to the bottom of the list that just isn’t as important as… well… you?
This is what I learned…. when I spend more time on me, as in eating healthier and staying active, I’m more equipped to handle the other things in my life. I handle stress better. I’m less moody. I’m more confident. I sleep better. I’m happier. The list goes on and on. However, the time it takes for me to focus on my health does need to balance out in the end. I mean there are only so many hours in the day. In my case, I skimmed that time from keeping a clean house. I don’t know about you but I’d rather take care of me first, the house second.
Of course others would prioritize differently. We all have our reasons but I would guess there are many of us that spend time doing things that really… at the end of the day… don’t matter.
As for me and how I organize my time? I have one simple rule I live by…
Do what you can, when you can, with what you have.
I wrote a post about this a while ago with regads to running but now I apply it to everything in my life. From eating healthy to working out to my job and the sites. I don’t beat myself up if I’m having a busy week and have to eat out more. I simply do the best I can and follow some simple rules to make healthier choices. I don’t throw in the towel if I can’t find the time to workout. I simply pick it back up again when I can. Maybe getting up early to squish in a run before work knowing it will make me feel good to do so. Sometimes I have so many things I want to fix on the sites that I could honestly work on them continuously for days but that’s just not possible. So when I get a free hour I accomplish something small off the list. Knowing I’m that much closer to my goals helps me feel like I accomplished something.
I do what I can when I can.
And guess what…. ALL those little things, those healthy choices at restaurants, those quick runs in the mornings when I have time, those small to-dos checked off on my list… they add up to big things. I mean really… somehow over the last 5 years I lost 65 pounds, built 5 sites, and ran a conference. All those things took a lot of work but it was a lot of work done a little at a time, over YEARS.
So it may look like, from the outside, that I have it all together. That I’m some super human crazy organized robot. But in reality I’m just a 30-something, mom struggling to find balance, trying to figure out what works for me and my family and making the best choices I can along the way.
I’m sorry if this wasn’t the answer you were looking for but I hope I shared something can help you find the balance you seek.
Does anyone have any time management tips for Kathleen? I’m sure some of you are better at it then I am! Maybe I’m missing some “big secret”.