In my line of work, everyone has their own unique story about how or why the clutter accumulated. No two stories are alike, but I hear the same three things over and over from almost every client I meet. I also hear these words often from my mom friends, relatives and busy people with families.
Overwhelmed, Too Much & Not Enough
Those words are like the holy trinity of stress, and there can be lots of pain associated with them. They each carry their own meaning and burden.
I could go on for days dissecting, analyzing, giving solutions to each word or phrase in that trio, but I tell my clients to tackle one thing at a time in the organizing process, so I'm going to follow my own advice.
Let's Focus on Not Enough.
Not enough... time, money, space, living, peace, sleep, laughter, calmness and so on.
Not enough translates into not doing enough... to be a good partner, parent, worker. Not doing enough in your community to make a real impact. Not doing enough for yourself to be healthy and present. You're not doing enough of what you really want to be doing and time is running out.
Want to know the funny thing about all of this?
Most people who feel like they're not doing enough are actually doing too much on a daily basis, which leads them to be overwhelmed and in turn they feel like they're not enough!
Oh the tangled webs we weave.
They're all connected which stinks, but it's also great because if you work on improving one, the others will follow.
Tackling The Not Enough Blues
1. Breathe Baby -- Sounds simple but seriously, sit down in a quiet place for 10 minutes a day. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. I do a breathing exercise where I focus on the exhale not the inhale. So I inhale and count slowly (to myself) while exhaling. It calms me down, gets some extra oxygen to my brain and once I'm done I can focus better.
2. Learn to Say NO -- If you feel like there's not enough time in your day, well you're probably right. Take a look at your schedule. Is it jam packed from the time you rise until you crash into your bed at night? What can be eliminated from your calendar? Do you have to volunteer at every school function? Do you have to go to every birthday party you and your kids are invited to? Nope, you do not. Practice the art of saying no. It can be as simple as, "I'm sorry, I'm not available." or "I'd love to help out but my schedule doesn't allow for it at this time." Keep it simple and move on.
3. Stop Multi-Tasking -- Women pride themselves on being multi-tasking mavens but in truth it's impossible to do well. Doing many things at once leads to feeling frazzled and nothing really gets done the way that it should. Focus on one thing at a time. Turn off all distractions like the TV, computer, cellphone, kids ( don't you wish they had on/off switches sometimes? ), set a timer and devote yourself to one thing completely. You'll be surprised at how much you'll accomplish that way.
4. Curb The Negative Nelly -- We all having less than positive thoughts swimming around in our heads, but at some point you have to practice letting them go. If you constantly think you don't have enough that will lead you to feel anxious and stressed. It makes it difficult to problem solve and take action if that's the place you're coming from. Acknowledge your negative thoughts but look at how they are inaccurate or not helpful. Replace it with something that will move you forward and put you in a better place.
5. Make Time For You -- I know this is a difficult thing for so many of us moms to do but the benefits are truly worth it. Go for a walk, take a dance class with a friend, treat yourself to a pedicure, reconnect with people who always make you feel great. Sometimes the "Not Enough" Blues stems from feeling isolated so reach out to those you love.
6. Follow Your Passion -- Many times the not enough feelings creep in when our lives are packed doing the things we have to do. You know the daily errands, the carpool grind, household chores, homework with the kids, etc. Stop and take notice of this. Are you days completely full of things that don't set your heart on fire? Yes, we all have to do things to keep our households and families going. We may sometimes dread these tasks (for me it's the laundry) but, also schedule time to pursue the things you feel passionate about whether it's a cause or crafting.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if you keeping focusing on "not enough" you in turn will not have enough. A small shift has to happen. Spend a bit of time practicing the six steps above and mix it with a little gratitude. And remember, you have enough and you are enough.