Seeking Serenity in Life

Since coming home from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mtns I feel overwhelmed with things on my to-do list…bills to pay, laundry, shopping and of course, writing. Today I dug out an article I wrote on prioritizing tasks and re-read it. Hopefully, I can restore some sanity if not serenity to my life. Take a look-see if you’re feeling as stretched in all directions as me…

#1 Schedule your time. Make a weekly calendar so you don’t miss a doctor’s appointment, dance recital, or the neighborhood cookout. Keep certain times “off limits”. Don’t sign up for meetings, exercise classes, or volunteer work if it interferes with the family dinner hour, Sunday church services, or other events you hold sacred. Make sure each day includes personal time, whether it’s a solitary walk or rocking in the porch swing. Figure out how to manage housework, yardwork, laundry, etc. (a little every day, or one day for each task, etc.) Don’t allow Internet surfing, answering e-mail, chatting on the phone or texting to steal too much time. Set limits on “time-robbers” or your sense of serenity will suffer.

#2 Prioritize your tasks. If you work outside the home, discover ways to do errands during your workday, such as shopping for gifts ast lunch or chatting with mom during the commute. Shop for groceries and stop at post office or dry cleaner on your way home to prevent extra trips. If you work at home, treat it like a job—schedule work hours and stick to them. Otherwise you won’t get any “free time.” Regarding your social life…pick and choose carefully. Don’t feel you must accept every invitation, volunteer project or committee meeting. Learn to say “no” unless you truly wish to devote the time and energy.

#3 Multi-task, but only if it’s productive. The only time I dust is during phone calls. I check voicemail while walking the dog. I group errands into one trip to free up uninterrupted time for writing. But don’t make the mistake of balancing your checkbook during your son’s ballgame if he’s expecting you to watch him play. You will fail at both tasks. Be sure to allow “down time” every now and then to watch a sappy movie, read a book, or play a game of checkers with a child. If you’re feeling stressed, recharge your batteries.

#4 Lower your standards. I can live with weedy flowerbeds as long as my bathrooms are clean. I don’t like clutter but dust doesn’t bother me. I take store-bought brownies (dusted with powdered sugar) to parties so I have time to write stories about women who love to cook. You can’t do it all. Repeat that as a mantra every morning. Give up the notion you can do it all and compete with the Food Channel gurus. But if cooking happens to be your pleasure, find another area to be mediocre in and don’t apologize.

#5 Release the outcome.  Put your future in God’s hands instead of looking too far into the future.

Ahhh, yes. I feel a little better. Have a great weekend, readers!