Soul-Fed Mama: Say No To Busy - How To Declutter The Calendar
I have a very seasonal personality. I have a lot more energy in the spring and summer than I do in the fall and winter. As the cooler months of the year approach, I find myself simplifying. I clear out cupboards, wrap up or toss unfinished projects, and start canceling things off my calendar. I need more sleep, more time alone, and fewer commitments because it takes me longer to do everything in the winter months.It is the calendar clutter that is the hardest to deal with. No one cares if I get rid of the four sweaters I haven’t worn in two years, but someone might feel hurt or think badly of me if I drop out of a volunteering position or choose not to go to their party.But it is also the calendar clutter that can overwhelm you, make you resentful and exhausted. Is that party really going to be fun if you would actually rather be at home on the couch in your jammies with a book? I’d rather be at the two parties I really want to attend this holiday season than at two every weekend from now until Christmas. To make that happen I have to declutter the calendar of the rest of it.Sometimes I hear people saying, “I’m so busy!” and yet they seem completely unwilling to let go of anything. Their busy-ness is not making their lives happy, so I wonder what they are getting out of it. Is it a way to communicate how important and vital they are in their jobs? Is it a way to get out of connection with others? Is it a way to cover up a feeling of emptiness or disconnection?I know when I was “so busy,” there were elements of all of those things happening in my life. When I let go of my attachment to “so busy” I had to face those things but the effort was worth it. My life is so much more spacious and happy now. And I rarely ever say, “I’m so busy!” any more.[Tweet "If you want more room in your life, start with this: Declutter the calendar. "]Identify Your PrioritiesBefore you even get out your calendar, make a list of the 3-5 things that are most important to you and your family right now. These may change based on the season of the year or the season in your life, so don’t worry about choosing priorities forever. You can make a new list next month if you want. Just get clear on what is most important to you right now. Keep it short!If I were to make this list right now, my list would be family time, time for spontaneous projects, time to rest, and time to build my business. Your list may look completely different than mine and that’s fine! I get very inwardly focused at this time of year so things like socializing and traveling are not a priority, though they might make my list again in the spring.If it feels really hard to make this list, set it aside for a while and make a little space for yourself and see what comes to you then.List Your CommitmentsNow pull out your calendar and make a list of everything on it. How do those things align with your priorities? Select the ones that support the priorities and cancel the rest. You don’t need to give a big explanation, just send an email or make a quick phone call to let them know you won’t be participating. Finish out any classes or activities that have been paid for and don’t continue the next session.Involve Your FamilyIt can be really difficult to simplify when you live with other people who may not see the value in it. Involve them early on. Have a family meeting to talk about your current priorities as a group. Focus on the benefits of having a simpler schedule, which may be different for each of you. For you it may mean less time as the Mom Taxi, but for your child it may be more time to read or to play with friends. It might mean more art projects at home or more trips to the park and the library for all of you.Say No To Future CommitmentsWhen new opportunities come up, consider whether they align with your priorities. If they don’t, say no. Be ruthless! No one is going to guard your time if you don’t.What are your time priorities this month? What is one thing you can cancel from your calendar this week? Share your thoughts in the comments below!