Only lazy people are busy. – C. S. Lewis (paraphrased)
I read the above quote recently and it really hit home for me. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with my to-do list. So I don’t do anything. No, I’m not lazy, but I might as well be for the amount of work that got done. I know the days I take charge of my life, make a plan, and stick to it are the days I feel more fulfilled and content. The days I fail to choose what to do are the days I go to bed frustrated and even more stressed out.
If you search for ‘lazy quote’ you’ll find many quotes that warn of the danger of procrastination and laziness. Life may have been different back then, people may have been lazy, but I find excess stress and fear is the real problem in our home. We worry that we don’t have time, we think about what might go wrong if we don’t accomplish everything, we wait, and wait for the time to be right, only to miss it. We then discover our fears did not come to pass after all, but we still feel miserable, and starting the next project is even harder.
Creating a full life instead of a busy life takes practice, but once you’re in the habit of starting your chores first thing in the morning, you’ll find you have more time in the evening to relax and do what you’d like.
Right now our to-do list is huge. We have 4 children, 3 cats, a dog, a home, and a garden. Of course our to-do list is huge! lol But each day we have a choice to either tackle the items on the list, and make it easier to accomplish the other day-to-day tasks, or we can choose to fret about how busy we are, not accomplish anything, and end the day feeling empty.
How To Turn a Busy Life into a Full Life
- Keep a detailed calendar with the entire family’s schedules in one place. Anything that must happen at a set time should be written down so everyone can see.
- really think about what stops you from beginning a task (any task). Are you overwhelmed by the scope of it? (Cut it down to smaller sizes and do part of it first, then more later.) Do you have too many things on your to-do list and you don’t know where to start? I find it helpful to tackle the biggest item on my list first, maybe you’d prefer to do one or two smaller things to check of more items faster. Whatever your reasons for not starting, think about them, explore them, and move on.
- Have a routine to help you through difficult parts of the day. Coming home at the end of the day can be tricky for children (and adults too), have a snack and water on hand as soon as you/they walk through the door. Provide them with space to either move around, or sit and read/watch a show, whatever they need to unwind.
- On top of having a plan in place for your children, know what you need to do during the first fifteen minutes after you walk through the door. Do you need to check your phone? Do you need to let the dog out? Or do you need to prepare a meal quickly in order to make it through the rest of the day?
- Have one or two chores you do each day and do them. If you skip them one day, the mess just gets bigger! Trust me on this, I only found the playroom floor today after skipping cleaning for a few weeks!
- If you have small children in your home, understand the limitations of their ability to entertain themselves. Either hire a babysitter when you have extra household tasks to do, or automatically plan for them to take more time.
- Know what you need to do for yourself to feel healthy. Exercise is important, so is sleep, personal hygiene, and hobbies. Make sure you and your spouse both have some time for these in your lives.
- Know your limit! If you hit your limit and find yourself a yucky ball of stress, anger, sadness, take a step back and breath. Then make a choice, a single choice, to do something that’ll take the weight off your shoulders. It won’t fix everything, but it’ll help. You can make a single choice the next day, and the next until you feel in control again.
A quick point about control; it’s vitally important to understand you can control yourself, you cannot control anyone else. If the toys all over the living room floor stress you out and you don’t think you can handle one more minute of them being there, then clean them up! Don’t ask for help, just do it. Trying to control someone else will damage your relationship with them. When you’re calm, you can talk to the rest of the family about your needs and desires and find a solution that is respectful of everyone.
It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we just set our minds to it. It’s important to me to feel strong, healthy, and in control of myself. I don’t feel in control of myself if I let a chore stare me down and leave me unable to tackle it.