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You Can’t Have it All

You’ve heard the expression, “have your cake and eat it too!”. Unfortunately, in life, it’s not really feasible to have it all – At least not all at the same time. In real life, schedules get busy, work gets messy and life gets stressful. So how do successful people get it all done? There are some secrets that can help us. These are not rocket science cures, but they are great first steps!

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You can’t have it all – so pick what’s important!

Pick what’s pressing.

Sometimes the important things are not the really the things that are most pressing. Sometimes the most pressing thing for the moment is washing clothes so your kids will have their soccer shorts tomorrow. It may be that it’s more important to send an email for work than it is to clean your house. Look at the tasks facing you in the moment and just move through the list one thing at a time. Get the things done and off your plate that are really pressing. Then you can move on to the other things in life.

Work Ahead when possible:

The best thing I do for myself is to work ahead as much as I can. When I am in the zone and being productive, I work ahead, write my articles, schedule my social promotions for my blog and do some extra laundry around the house. But then there are the other times, when I’m just barely scrambling to catch up. That’s when I have to apply the next principle in my life.

Give yourself a break.
Share grace. Let yourself off the hook. However you choose to look at it, realize that you aren’t perfect. You’re not a superwoman and you just can’t be all things! Remember that the other people you see who look like they have it all together are actually just having one of the good days. They are in their zone at the moment. Cut yourself some slack and have an inside chuckle knowing that they will have one of ‘those days’ eventually too.

This past weekend my Mom shared the movie Mom’s Night Out. I have to admit I have not laughed so much at a movie in years. The creators of this movie just ‘get it’. They know Moms! I laughed at the stress of a Mom blogger with kids who draw on the walls, laundry that just never ends and the fact that she is living her dream, but yet so stressed.

There were several lines in the movie that just jumped out and they just fit this article perfectly.

I doubt the good Lord made a mistake giving your kids the mommy He did! and how about this one?
I’m a mess, but I’m a beautiful mess. I’m His masterpiece and that’s enough!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that my life is a circus – but it’s my circus! and I love it!

My friend Ashley at Beautifully Designed regularly shares articles about how life is not perfect and yet God has designed us to live our life on purpose – beautifully designed. She recently wrote an article that reminded me of the fact that we often give others a pass when they don’t deliver perfection, but we fail to give ourselves that same grace!

Take a minute and read it! It’s worth your time!

Adopt the life or death approach.

I have a work colleague who has this approach down pat. When work gets stressful, deadlines are looming and expectations are complicated, she asks a simple question – “Is this a matter of life or death?” Obviously, if the situation you are in is truly life threatening, then you need to proceed differently. But in many of the stressful situations we deal with on a daily basis, we aren’t facing life or death. We’re more likely dealing with communication issues, unmet expectations or complicated schedules.

Once you adopt the approach that you are dealing with things that are fixable, some of the stress just evaporates. It is a perspective shift.

Give yourself 15 extra minutes.

I don’t know about you, but if I can stay up 15 minutes after the family goes to bed, I can accomplish seeming miracles. It’s often worth it for me to spend those 15 minutes starting the dishwasher, clearing the counter or picking up the extra eye clutter from the floor. I can go to bed then knowing that my environment is ready for the challenges of the new day. If you are more of a morning person, then just crawl out of bed a few minutes earlier so you can actually start the day with a few minutes of quiet.

Make a list:

Some people work best with a list. Write everything down on your list so you know you won’t forget anything.

If you find that your brain just won’t shut down at bedtime, maybe you need to put a pad of paper beside your bed. Every time you think of something else you need to do the next day, just lean over and jot it down. That way you don’t have to try to remember it all.

How do keep it all together and get everything done? Got any tips or tricks? I’d love to hear!

Excerpts of this article appeared in the print edition of the Advocate Messenger, 3/13/16.

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