One evening while I was watching my son’s football game I talked with another mom about how busy life is, especially during autumn. Volunteer work in children’s sports teams, parent associations, committees, new work projects, events, and plenty of other worthwhile projects we feel passionate about.
How is it possible to get everything done? The answer is, it isn’t.
The mom (who is, by the way, a psychiatrist) told me she had had an important yet extremely simple revelation: the solution is to do less. By learning to say No and by simplifying your life you are able to really focus on the things you do and also do a better job.
Sounds easy, but it actually isn’t. It kills you to say No to things that are worthy and fun. But, as Leo Babauta, a writer of the top US blog Zen Habits, points out: we are human, and we have limits, and we have to let go of this idea of doing everything and doing it well. You’re either going to do a couple things well, or do everything poorly, Babauta writes.
You cannot serve people and causes well enough, when you suffer from lack of time, sleep and concentration. Babauta’s advice is, figure out what the most important things in your life are, and cut out the rest. Be ruthless, he tells us.
Three simple steps for this week
When my three children were all under 10, I worked as a teacher and had to prepare the following days’ lessons after 9 pm when the children were in bed. I realized that being a member of the parent association in my children’s school was too much, as were a couple of other things I was involved in. It felt like getting rid of a heavy burden, super-energizing. When you do something, really give it your focus and really be present – and stay healthier.
1. Focus on becoming calm and listening to yourself. Try for example the Relaxing Exercises from the right side of YogaMe’s main screen. I warmly recommend for example the Gentle Forward Bend Against the Wall or the Tree Pose!
2. Think about what matters to you in life. Are there some things you could do without? You can write the things down, if you like.
3. In your mind, make a commitment to what truly matters. Think about what is enough. Perhaps you could free time and energy for the things that are important to you? Learn to say to people that you really want to help, but your plate is too full. You can’t serve them well, so you need to say No. Surprisingly often, people understand.
To become more focused, try for example the Tree Pose, as shown by Jenny Lauronen, founder of YogaMe