Whether you’re a student trying to get a million projects done, a mom just trying to eat at a normal hour of the day, or a CEO running a business like a boss (literally…), it’s really easy to feel like a clustered mess. I once had a British boss who called this a cluster…f. And though I won’t type that out, there are certainly days I sure feel exactly. like. that.
It’s a good week. Shoot, a good day, if I can make it through feeling like my head is on straight, I didn’t forget anything, and I crossed off my entire to-do list. If I am not careful and intentional with every moment of my day, I can quickly find myself saying, “I feel like a chicken with her head cut off just trying to make it.” It’s taken a long time, a few jobs, and a lot of clustered days to get to a spot that I feel like I am really doing it all with a whole lot less of a “just makin’ it” attitude.
God intended for you to live a quiet and peaceful life. It’s how He designed us to live. It’s what He had in mind for us before sin ever even originated. A perfect picture of the lives God intended for us to live can be seen in Isaiah 32:15-20 . But, dang, we do a good job running from quiet and peaceful lives in the “fertile land.” We live busy, flustered, crazy lives to keep up with the chaos that is our world. Our jobs can rule our days, if we aren’t careful or set healthy boundaries. Our relationships can dictate our mood and perspective. Our finances can control our sense of security. Our fears of the unknown can hinder us in the present.
So, truly this has been a few year long journey of saying “no”, being intentional with my “yes”, living an organized and clutter-free lifestyle, and a life of healthy boundaries and expectations. I have quit jobs that didn’t allow for me to have these things, distanced relationships, and became far more respectful to MYSELF and my hours each day by trial and error.
Here are some of my life hacks and habits to hopefully help you, mom/student/boss/athlete/wife/hard-worker, to achieve a less clustered lifestyle.
- Slow start every morning WITH breakfast. I know, it sounds wild. But wake up at least an hour and a half before you have to leave the house. *GASP!* This gives you ample amount of time to do a quiet time, pray/journal, drink a cup of coffee (or two…), shower and feel put together, steam your clothes you have for the day (!!!), do your make-up well, leave on time, and not have to race the clock to get where you’re going on time. These are ALL THINGS that will make you feel put together, confident, and at-ease to start the day with. I really believe that how the first hour of your day begins will dictate how hard you have to work to feel at peace the rest of your day. It’s not to say a rough start makes the rest of your day a loss. Of course not! But, it does make it easier to approach the rest of your day with grace and a sound mind.
- Have food in your fridge ready for every meal, just in case! We keep a tupperware of chicken all week long to have for my lunches and dinners (if need be). Crockpot that chicken on Sunday night or Monday morning, and you’re set. We have healthy food like veggie cakes and salad mixes for me to pair with the chicken, VOILA! Easy, healthy, and no time at all because we prepped for it. We always have waffles or french toast in the waiting for Knox, pasta at all times, bananas, apple sauce pouches, and protein packs for quick and easy meals. He also eats the chicken and veggie cakes for lunch almost every day. This is so helpful to keep us on schedule each day with naps and work without having to start working on meals 30 minutes before it’s actually time to eat.
- WORKOUT. I made a goal to make it to a class at my gym at LEAST 3 x’s a week at the start of 2019 and I have stuck to it! Really, I make it 4 or 5 times a week, but 3 is my minimum for classes. My gym also gives us up to 3 hours of childcare with our membership, so it gives me such good “me time” to focus, think, dream (all my best ideas come either in the shower or during a workout), and I feel like a better version of me afterward. Paul and I both are just better people when we workout, and we both know it.
- Write out absolutely everything you have to do for the next day the night before as you’re winding down. I usually do it as I lay in bed. It takes just a few seconds, but it feels like a mental “hanging of my hat” for the day. And, it helps me feel like I know what I need to do the next. I write out my day, including quiet time and gym, and then put the tasks I need to do. I then go back to that note on my phone all throughout the day to delete tasks I wrote out. By the end of the day, my note SHOULD be blank to write out my next day of things. If it’s not blank, that task goes to the top for the next day.
- Time with my husband. If you’re not married, this is applicable to friends/boyfriend/family. You need healthy time with the people you love. It’s just a fact. TURN OFF ALL “TO-DO’S”! I feel “off” when I don’t get to sit and talk with my husband regularly. I get cranky and short with him. This was a problem long before we even had a kid. We are just hard workers who could literally work from sun up to sun down without hardly a glance up if we aren’t careful. We could easily be on our computers typing until midnight rather than talking and connecting. We are very intentional with this because we need to be, for our mental health and our relationship’s health.
- Grocery List: We keep a pretty simple grocery list week to week, you can see it here. But having the list makes Monday restocks EASY PEEZY. Sometimes, if we need to, we do our haul on Sunday after church. But most weeks I know Monday is for groceries, whether I go or Paul does.
- 5 Wins EVERY SINGLE DAY. At dinner, we ask one another what 5 wins were for the day, and you can say 1 loss or frustration. We get to build up one another, celebrate each other, and help troubleshoot frustrations together.