How I Took Back My Life

How I took my life back

I’d had enough, it was time I made some changes and take back my life! I was so tired of not getting anything done, tired of feeling bad about myself and just tired of being tired. The house was a mess, full of clutter and I was a mess at 40 pounds over weight. My health was suffering and so was my family. I had no routine and felt like I was being pulled in too many directions. I was no longer working outside the home so my excuse of working more than 40 hours a week plus a two hour commute was gone.

I started each morning by getting up turning on the computer, having several cups of coffee and then turning on the television and eating donuts for breakfast and then by lunch time I was ready for a nap. I felt like I was stuck on some hamster wheel going around and around knowing I needed to get off but not sure how, so I decided I needed to create some new habits. I would start by not getting on the wheel in the first place and to avoid this I had to start as soon as I got up in the morning. I have always been an early riser so I didn’t change that, but everything else was changed. Now when I get up first thing I do is go to the kitchen a get a large glass of water, set down with my pen and notebook and start plotting out my day. I don’t turn on the computer because if I did, I’d be on there for hours. First on my list is exercise, I go for a long walk which really clears my mind and it’s amazing at some of the ideas I come up with once I get my blood flowing and some fresh air. I feel so good and I’m ready to take on the world! When I get home I make a smoothie and take a shower. I turn on the computer check my email and see if anything needs my attention right away and then it’s about time for the rest of the family to get up. Its time for morning coffee.

Having a solid morning routine in place sets the tone for the whole day. I can plan for projects I’m working on, meetings I need to attend and appointments I need to keep, without feeling overwhelmed. If someone stops by the house I’m not in a panic because it is a disaster. I’m 10 pounds away for my goal weight and planning has played a big part in that. I have certain days I deep clean, days I speed clean or lightly clean, days I do laundry, and days I go grocery shopping and run errands.

A typical day may look like:

  • Exercise
  • Water the outdoor plants
  • Light clean the master bathroom
  • Clean the first floor
  • 2 hours for working on current project
  • Fix dinner
  • Family time

Tips to taking back your life

Learn to say No!

This is hard for me but I know my limits. If I feel like I can’t do a job well, or fully commit myself I will be to stressed out and it makes it easier to just say ‘no’.

Know when to ask for help

I’m a bit of a control freak, my motto has always been if you want a job done right, do it yourself, so delegating is not my strong point, but I am working on it. I know when I do ask for help it makes things much easier. I do have a small circle of friends I can count on that will be there and do a good job.

Keep an on-going list

I keep a list on the refrigerator for groceries I need to purchase.  A list for projects I’m working on or if I’m planning a party, I may a have a couple different lists. It saves a lot of time to write it down the moment I think of it. Once it’s written down I can let it go and move on.

Routine in place

Your routine may not look like mine. If you are a night owl you probably won’t be starting at 5:00 am and thats ok, figure out what works you. Ask yourself what are the hours you are most productive and make your plan around that.

Bounce back

It never seems to fail that my plans gets derailed by having to make an unexpected trip to pick someone up or a 3 hour phone call from a family member or a friend who just needs to talk. When these things happen, I only do the really important things on my list that can’t wait because tomorrow is another day. The next day I resume as planned.

Focus on one thing at a time

If you are working on cleaning, do one room at a time. You will be more productive than bouncing from room to room. I have found that doing a certain task each day of the week works well for me. I like to deep clean on the first floor on Mondays, Tuesday I clean the second floor, shop on Wednesday, Thursday I light clean everything, and do laundry on Fridays.

Blocks of time

I only use this when I feel overwhelmed and I need some control in my life. Like if I have an out of town guest coming, throwing a party, or I have a project that has a deadline.
For a party, my block time might look like:

  • 6am-9am decorating
  • 9-11 last minute food prep and set-up
  • 11-12 clean up and finishing touches
  • 12-1 change my clothes, makeup
  • prepare to greet my guests.

I only use this for crunch time and it is very effective.

The hardest part was getting started and making a plan, but after a couple of weeks everything just kind of fell into place. I feel so much better about myself and I can truly say I have taken my life back from all the chaos and clutter. Am I perfect? No, far from it! Sometimes a 3 hour phone call from my sister throws me off schedule, but life is always throwing curve balls and forcing choices, my goal is to strive for a balance. It is still a work in progress, but I know I’m in charge now.

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