I don't know about you, but I can often get bogged down with the endless to do lists in front of me. I may not work outside of the home, but I do live on a small acreage with lots of animals craving love and care, a garden of veggies needing nurturing so they can provide food for my family, and a hard-working husband needing a good supper and cleaning up after. All the while, I'm a mother-to-be trying to find her way in the publishing world. This creates a to-do list longer than the days of the year.
I'm certain many of you can relate.
Most of the time these to-do lists grow faster than we can cross off the accomplishments. When I can't cross off an item on my list for the day, I get discouraged. Like, I'm a complete failure who is just plain lazy type of discouraged. I know, it sounds like an exaggeration but my type A personality can't handle the slightest amount of failure. Even if the failure is not finishing the last load of laundry by 8 pm.
But friends, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. No matter how strictly you plan your day, or how hard you work, sometimes life is not going to cooperate with your schedules and lists. Each and every day is unpredictable and offers up new challenges. However, we can create ways to battle the upsets bound to happen in our day! By creating easy routines and predictable schedules, we can fight AND win our day.
Remember: small, consistent actions can move mountains.
So I came up with five non-negotiables. This is my biggest priority task list. If nothing else goes the way I want for the day, these five items will get done. No excuses. Here are my big 5:
1. God and Me Time: This is so important for me because spending time meditating on God's Word gets my mind in the proper mindset. While I don't always have the chance to do this first thing in the morning I make a point to find quiet time during the day--even if it means staying up later than the rest of the family to get it done! I also read one chapter from a personal development book during this time. PD books are great for growing as a person, but more on that subject in another post!
2. Workout/Stretch: Our bodies need just as much TLC as our souls. I am a huge advocate of living an active and healthy lifestyle, so I make my workouts a priority. Some days, my workouts are longer and more intense (such as a long distance run) but other days it might just be a quick stretch or yoga session if I'm feeling run down and exhausted. But I get my body moving every single day.
3. Make Bed and Tidy House: Clutter is one of the greatest contributors to depression and anxiety. I could be the spokeswoman for this topic. If my home feels cluttered or messy, I can't focus and I get super emotional. (My husband can vouch for this 100%) By taking just a few minutes each morning to make my bed and tidy up the loose ends around the house, my space is clear and free which, in turn, allows my mind to be clear and free of unnecessary stress.
4. Write 500-1000 Words: I'm a writer. I want to publish awesome and inspiring fiction and get my books on the New York Times Bestsellers list. I want this website to take off and be able to inspire people with my blog. I can't do any of this, though, without actually sitting down and writing. So number four on my non-negotiable list is to write at least 500 words a day. Did you know 500 words is only about a page? That's not much, but I have a tendency to make my goals too large and that whole defeated feeling gets the better of me. So I'm keeping it simple and most of the time I end up writing double or triple my goal amount! Then I feel ten times more successful.
5. Make a Good Family Dinner: Oh yes! This one definitely belongs on the list. Eating out is not a good option for my family. We live in the middle of nowhere. We don't have delivery and the only take out within ten minutes of us is Casey's Pizza. Not to mention, eating out is not the best for overall nutrition in any family. But who doesn't get tired of cooking? I had to put number five on my list after my first trimester. During first few months of my pregnancy, I couldn't keep anything down or get through cooking a meal without running to the bathroom. Brighton ended up doing most of the cooking and I fell out of the habit quickly! Once I started feeling better, my motivation to cook just wasn't there anymore. I could tell my husband was getting frustrated and missed my home cooked meals. Now that I have this on my non-negotiable list, I find myself thinking ahead for supper ideas and cooking has become a natural routine once again.
Having this list keeps me on track with prioritizing my day. Doing these simple five tasks each day gives me a feeling of accomplishment no matter how chaotic the rest of the day gets. I can go to bed knowing I was productive and healthy, not just physically but mentally and spiritually as well.
I challenge you to create a non-negotiable list, too! Keep your list to 3-5 tasks to make it doable for every day. Simplicity is key. Your priorities might look different from mine and that's okay! The point of a non-negotiable list is to make your individual life manageable and smooth. Good luck, friends!
Busy days and hectic schedules can be hard to keep up with. Here are some tips and lessons I've picked up along the way to make life a little more fun in the midst of crazy.