I’ve found that one of my main problems is I spread myself too thin. Now, I’m guilty of this quite often. I’ve done it ever since I started high school, with all honors classes and a chalk-full (very punny) gymnastics schedule. Ever since, it’s been about loading up my planner with as little empty space as possible, and I’ve never reached a ceiling. Until now. I’ve reached it, and it stinks. I know I’m not the only one who does this, and I’m not meaning to say that we need to become unproductive and lazy, because no no no. Just no. However, there are a few steps to take in regards to having a little more time to ourselves to do with what we’d like. Having that wiggle room is strangely essential, as I’ve learned. Having your day mapped hour hourly is in fact not usually the best way.
However, I’ve actively been trying to be proactive in making the future more balanced. I want to be as productive as possible, but I also want to be able to take plenty of time to myself, too. Here’s a a few things I’m going to try out in order to keep myself putting the right amount of time in the right amount of places, one of them being myself.
1) Find one area to cut back in.
I know, you’re going to say I’m crazy. Just hear me out on this. In my current life I have five areas: family/friends, school, work, church, and writing. Now, let’s analyze. I will not cut back in family/friends for obvious reasons. There is no way. School isn’t an option, either. I’m going into my first semester of senior year; there’s no way I’m going to slow down now. Church is a priority and I truly love helping out in the youth ministry, so not cutting back there. It’s kind of like the family/friends area: no way. Writing helps to keep me sane, and I can’t cut back much more than I am without losing it, so there you have it. That leaves one: work.
I simply will not be able to work as many hours as I did this past semester in the coming one. I plan to work all of my hours for my two part-time jobs during the week alongside my classes, keeping my weekends open for housework, getting ahead in homework, and any family or church events that come up. It just gives me two days in a row of freedom to be productive without a set schedule. I’m confident that this arrangement will allow me to put my all into whatever I’m doing in the week without feeling like I’m falling behind in something else. In order to do this, I’ll have to put in less hours at work, but I’m assured that my mental stability and happiness are worth much more than a few more hours of work. Cutting back on work, in this case, is a wise decision, and will save me a lot of tears.
2) Choose a few sources of renewment and stick to them.
With some extra time, it’s imperative that we pour some of it into self care and love. That can be a variety of things, but what counts is that when we feel refreshed and ready to take on the world when we’re done. For me, there are a few things that particularly help.
First and foremost, a nice long skincare routine will usually do the trick. I LOVE face masks, and while I can’t do an exfoliating one every day, of course, but I have a couple others that are just meant to refresh and revive the skin. Being able to take my time in this routine, and adding a mask ever couple days, will certainly help me relax and make my skin look and feel better.
Next up is a nice time exercising. Cardio is a huge stress reliever for me, so depending on the weather/season, hopping on the treadmill or trampoline really helps to clear my head. However, I also want to delve into yoga. I’ve taken a couple beginner classes, and I really enjoyed them. Now, I just have to stick with it, and I really plan to commit to that!
Last, but not least, I want to pour my heart into more free reading and writing time. Writing is my greatest passion, and it becomes my journal. However, once I get into the habit of “not having time” to write, it sadly sticks. I want to have time to work it into my day every day. To complement that, I want to consistently be reading things that I choose to read. I find that I come to dread reading when all I read is schoolwork. So, even if it’s just a page or two before bed, I want to work reading in, as well, because nothing frees my mind like the world of words.
3) Recognize when we just need to say “no” to more commitments.
Saying “no” when someone asks us to do something often leads to us feeling as though we let them down. That kind of pressure can make “yes” seem like the only word we know. However, we need to realize that if we can’t put the right amount of effort into that one more commitment, then that could eventually let them down, too. Not only that, but we instantly let ourselves down because we’re spreading ourselves too thin. Saying “no” to more in your schedule may seem hard in the moment, but with a kind explanation of why, chances are the other person will completely understand and appreciate your honesty. We just need to make that a constant decision to truly give ourselves a yes/no option.
Well, there we have it. Spreading ourselves too thin can really take a toll on not just us, but our loved ones, too. They feel our stress not only because it’s reflected in our words and actions, but because they care about us. It never works in our benefit to overshedule; it’s far better to channel our energy into a few solid things rather than many things that can become chaotic. I’ve learned this during this past semester at college. Lots of tough classes, lots of hours between two jobs, family, and church activities led to me being everywhere at once, it seemed. When describing this to someone a while back, I said,
“It feels like there are pieces of me in many places,” and I stand by that. The truth is, if we can’t even track down where all those pieces are at the end of the day, there are too many of them in too many places. Sometimes cutting back on filled planner space can really change us for the better. We finally cater to our own needs, and that benefits everyone in our lives in the long run 😊
As always, just a little reminder to count your blessings. You are loved!
Much Love, Quinn
Crazy cat lady. Exploratory writer. Much love.