Monday, October 15, 2012

let this be the week | 05

(original image via Florever on Society6 | text by me)

You know those mornings you wake up and you just know it's going to be a productive day? Yeah... well those don't happen to me often. On Sundays especially, I prefer soaking up my last precious seconds of the weekend from the comfort of my couch, enriching my mind with something thoroughly thought-provoking like a back to back lineup of Reese Witherspoon movies on USA or a Law & Order: SVU marathon. But for some reason unknown to me, yesterday was an exception. I woke up, and suddenly I was a woman on a mission. I made lists, I mapped out the most effective route to all four of my errand destinations, I had a PLAN.

In one Sunday I managed to buy groceries, pick up some household items at Target, buy new sheets for our bed (we've been washing the same sheets over and over for about two years now), spend my World Market gift card on new decor items for my studio, dust and vacuum the house, wash our new sheets and dress the bed, finally hang up my "clothes pile" (this is what Jason calls the inevitable pileup of discarded outfits that congregates on our dresser), prepare dinner for Jas and I from our Everyday Paleo cookbook, AND make a fall wreath, which will be featured in an upcoming blog post. That may not seem like a ton, but for my complete lack of domestic skills, it's a miracle. I felt like Susie Homemaker, and I actually really enjoyed it.

Now while it's great that I accomplished my to-do list and got to toot my own horn for a bit, don't go calling me Martha Stewart yet. The length of my list did make it glaringly obvious just how long I had put off some tasks. I mean, for over a week I had continued to shower even though I knew I was both out of shampoo and out of shaving cream. Every shower it was the same story. I'd curse myself for not buying a new bottle, then unscrew the top and smack the bottle against my hand hoping for the last specs of residual shampoo, put the top back on and swear that I'd buy a new bottle that day. This went on for a while. Why? Because I SUCK AT LIFE. Well, not all of life, I don't really mean that as dramatically as it probably sounds. I just mean, an integral part of being an adult is having the ability to balance a lot of different facets of your daily life at once. And that's the part I really freaking suck at. What I'm saying is, I realized that I wouldn't have to pack my Sundays to the brim with to-dos if I paid any attention to those "around-the-house" tasks throughout my everyday life. Instead, I wait until the last possible second when things are causing inconvenience to my life so much that I have to do something about it. This has always been my style.

Example numero two - I was all about our new fitness and eating regimen when we were doing the 90-day-challenge because our whole lives were focused on it. However, the second we left for our two-week roadtrip, the focus shifted to work and doing a great job for the client. (Plus, let's be honest, there was ridiculously good food around every corner, so I wasn't just gonna sit idly by.) As a result I lost some of the muscle I had worked so hard to put on and now I feel all... soft. It's just hard for me to think about being healthy when it's not some big goal I'm throwing myself into.

And that's the story of my life. I've talked to you guys before about my hobby ADD. I get super passionate about things - hobbies, goals, friendships - and I give them my all until the next thing comes along and then I throw myself with equal enthusiasm into that. I've never been good at showing that kind of passion for a lot of different things at one time. Which is kind of what you need for daily balance right?

This is how things go right now... I focus on my blog for a few weeks and get all excited about that... Then I realize I've been neglecting the house so I work on improving that... then my personal friendships... then my fitness and health... then A MILLION OTHER THINGS. The list goes on.

But I want to change that. I want all these parts of my life to be a daily journey, not bopping from one to another whenever the mood strikes me. So this is my challenge to myself this week. I'm going to create a daily checklist of sorts where I can reference it at any time and try to at least acknowledge these different parts of my life on a daily basis.

I know myself well enough to know that maybe I won't be able to integrate this into my daily life, but I want to experiment with it for a week and see how I do. It's like when people tell you that if you just pick up around the house for 20 minutes each night before you go to bed, you wouldn't be so overwhelmed when it comes to doing a deep cleaning once a month. Doing things on a daily basis makes them easier to manage.

Here's my list below of all the elements I'm trying to balance in my daily life, with an example of an action for each, the idea being to do a different positive action each day that falls under each category. Maybe some of you out there are thinking about making your own lists. The items could be different for every person, but the idea is the same.

Here are mine:

FAMILY - plan lunch with my mom; offer to pick my brother up from school; call my baby sister
FRIENDS - send a card for no reason; plan a Skype date with old friends; text a friend just to say hi
RELATIONSHIP - plan a date night; offer to take on a chore; let him pick the channel for the night
WORK - help fix a process; get everything on my daily list done for once; look ahead 
HEALTH - workout; look up healthy recipes, prep healthy snacks for the week
HOME - clean the bathroom; make a fall wreath; buy new candles
HOBBIES - work on design projects; plan blog posts; craft
RELAXATION - take time to read; get a pedi; have a glass of wine
ORGANIZATION - donate old clothes to Goodwill; clean out an old closet; file mail
MONEY - organize the bills; evaluate budget

Phew... that's a lot of stuff right? I know. And it can seem overwhelming. But my thought is that somedays I'll be able to tackle bigger projects for certain areas (like cleaning out the closet... doubt that will happen during the week) and tiny, momentary things for others. But at least being mindful of all these things once a day will help me feel more balanced all the time, not letting things pile up on me.

There you have it. That's what I'm working on this week. Daily balance - paying attention (or at least trying to pay attention) to all facets of my life at once. I hope you'll join me and let me know how it's going - let's make it a great week!

// Okay guys, help me out. What did I forget? Anything glaring? Would you have added any other categories? How do you find balance in your daily life? //


  1. Ok, sorry for being a long-time lurker but I just had to comment on this post because I am going through this exact same struggle and kept feeling really frustrated when I would follow a "good balance" week with a bad one and undo all my work and then some. And I started this way, with detailed lists to try to keep me on track. It really didn't end up working like I wanted it to though-- when there are so many categories to keep track of, you are never going to be able to hit them all evenly.
    Or at least, I can't.
    Here's what's working for me right now: Five Categories. After work every day (I have a more standard 8-5, so that simplifies my schedule a bit) I try to do something from each category. Some days have big things from one category and little things from the others, but so long as I do *something* for each I feel more balance.
    My categories: Home. Finances. Body. Mind. Future.
    Home, Finances, and Body are pretty self explanatory. "Mind" for me includes anything that promotes a healthy mental well-being, whether it's reading a book, calling a friend, taking out time for my hobbies, or what have you. Sometimes this overlaps with Body or Future, but that's ok.
    Good luck, and keep writing! Whenever a new blog pops up on my Facebook newsfeed, I give it a few post grace period of support. Yours I've stuck with, for good reason.

  2. Erica - thank you SO SO much for commenting and for sticking around! I'm so glad someone else has struggled with this too! And your categories seem much more manageable (five is certainly easier to be mindful of than ten.) I think I'm going to try and evolve my checklist to be like yours and see how that goes. Hope it's been working for you, and I hope you'll keep reading. Your comment made my day!