I love this quote by Amelia Earhart…
“When a great adventure is offered, don’t refuse it.”
I think great adventures are offered to us all the time. And YET, if you’re like me most days, it’s too easy to miss them because you’re bogged down in the details of the day-to-day. I truly believe the saying, “The devil’s in the details.”
Adultitis is alive and well in the minutia of everyday living.
The leaky sippy cup. The off-white tile that shows everything. The toilet that simply will not learn to clean itself. The non-sound proof windows that allow my overtired and peacefully sleeping toddler to be awakened day after day by the same two barking neighbor dogs. (Grrr!)
When we’re ensnared in the details, we’re missing adventures left and right.
A large part of my role in our company is to hash through all of the “to-do’s” for the events Jason is speaking at; things like staging requests, travel plans, itineraries, publicity, etc. With 52 events a year, this keeps me hopping. I enjoy it and yet I find myself living in the land of the never-ending management of details. But no matter what our roles, we’re all there though, aren’t we?
How is it possible that the car needs an oil change again already? Has it really been a year since I’ve seen the dentist? Time to take the screens off of the house for winter. The ol’ driver’s license is expired (where did ten years go?) And the tasks keep piling onto the perpetual pile.
The trick is finding a way to manage the details without letting them manage you.
Here are my top 5 ways to find the balance between management and overwhelm…
1. Trust Your List
Keep one MONGO master to-do list on your computer and one paper list that acts as a stepping stone to your elecronic list, for those moments when your computer is not nearby. Avoid having a bazillion little lists scattered throughout your life. Try brain dumping onto the master list at least once a week, so that you trust that it’s up to date. Also, re-prioritize the master list on a regular basis. As soon as you stop trusting your list, it becomes an ineffective tool. Computerized lists are key, so that you don’t spend unnecessary time rewriting and cleaning up lists when you cross things off.
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Extra fun tip: Use graphics and your favorite colors to liven up your list, so that it’s fun and reflects YOU.
2. Hold Household Meetings
Identify time each week to sit down with those in your household to discuss the details of the week ahead: scheduling, meals, chores, errands, and fun. (Yes, FUN. If you don’t schedule it in, it won’t happen!) Front loading your week in this proactive approach will pay dividends as the week unfolds. Inevitably new “stuff” will pop up and you’ll all be better equipped to manage the spontaneity with the foundation laid during the family meeting.
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Extra fun tip: Create traditions for your meeting that everyone looks forward to. Things like eating ice cream sundaes during the meeting, wearing goofy hats, or taking turns being the moderator (the moderator gets to speak in a funny accent of choice).
3. Set Realistic Expectations
What can you accomplish in one week? Everything?! Is it physically possibly to do it all: grocery shop, clean the house, laundry, pay the bills, help with homework, prep meals, attend your children’s extracurricular events, spend QT with your spouse? Be honest and identify realistically what things NEED to be done weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly. The more thought you put into this, the better equipped you’ll be to let things go and be okay with that. Don’t let assumptions and guilt over the day-to-day tasks lead to overwhelm.
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Extra fun tip: Keep a bag of Hershey kisses (or your treat of choice) in a secret place. When you identify yourself letting go of guilt to be able to be more present in the moment, take a kiss and reward yourself.
4. Schedule in Fun
Make an appointment with yourself (JUST YOU) each week to have some fun. In September, I started a weekly Zumba class and even though there have been weeks that I “should have” spent that time catching up on chores, errands, or work, life continued to go on when those things were put aside for a little “me time.” Is it selfish? Well, you tell me…ever hear the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”? This is a true statement for anyone, not just moms. If you’re miserable, everyone around you will be also.
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Extra fun tip: Find something that ties into an interest of yours from childhood. Kiting, fishing, biking, or just playing in the mud.
5. Gang Tackle
Empower your family members to tackle the details together as a team. I’ve mentioned before, Jason does ALL of the grocery shopping, cooking and on many nights, the dishes too. I’m in charge of laundry, cleaning, bills and the yard. Resentment runs wild in households where the share of the load is primarily on one person. The household roles need to be customized to the unique reality of your lifestyle. Try not to let the roles of your parents and grandparents set assumptions for your household that may not be healthy or realistic.
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Extra fun tip: Own your roles and embellish them with a little whimsy. Get dad a silly apron to wear while doing the dishes. Bedazzle your laundry basket. Find a funny pair of glasses for the person in charge of vacuuming. Why not?
It’s time to move beyond the details and into a state of perspective that allows for an adventurous life. Do not sit back silently and let yourself be swallowed up by the details and distractions of daily living. Wise management of the details will allow you a higher probability of being open to the adventures waiting for you!
What adventures are waiting for you?
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