How much can you really do in a week?
For the last few years, I have been eagerly awaiting the day that my schedule would be in my own hands, allowing for more flexibility and more of the things I love.
And then that day arrived this past June.
My husband finished Rabbinical school and we moved to Massachusetts so that he could begin to serve his first community (yep, I'm married to a Rabbi! #funfacts).
I left my day job and, after a few weeks of settling in, began to turn my attention "fully" to coaching.
I put "fully" in quotes because obviously coaching is not the only thing in my life that I wanted to give attention to. I was also excited to start cooking more, to clean and take care of our home better, to go back to studying Spanish, to continue ceramics and dance classes (two of my favorite past-times), and to connect with new and old friends in the area.
Has this ever happened to you? You've counted down the days until you wrapped up some commitment or obligation, imagining that you would suddenly have all of this time that you could dedicate to the other things you really wanted to do?
I thought, my schedule will be in my hands and I can do whatever I want with it.
Well, of course I do have much more freedom and flexibility. And I am so grateful for that.
But, as it turns out, my expectations of how much I could do in any given week just didn't align with the pace and lifestyle that I have worked so hard to establish for myself.
They were noble expectations, based on a desire to nourish the different parts of who I am.
But even those self-care-based activities were too much for me to take on all at once.
I've written recently about urgency and our need to slow down instead of believing we have to do everything now. And I was reminded of that need so clearly.
Where are we getting this idea from that we can do so many things all at once?
Or even worse, that we should be, and if we aren't, we are lazy or unfulfilled?
There's been a good amount of research dedicated to understanding the workaholic nature of Western cultures (or at least the U.S.) and it feels like that culture has seeped through the business environment and into every aspect of our personal lives. Even our self-care.
We just can't do it all, all the time.
This has left me asking the question: How much can anyone really do in a week?
Here's what I've come up with for myself. I can...
- Meet up with/call 1-2 friends
- Get groceries and cook 2-3 times
- Put laundry and dishes away regularly
- Go to one yoga or dance class
- Go to ceramics class
Because this doesn't include work or the appointments and errands that come up every week.
And all of that life takes up space.
So it's a short list.
And your list can be shorter, too.
What's important is that you make sure that over time, you get a little bit of everything you need. For me, that means I get some social connection, I get to clean my home so I feel good in my space, and I have room for creative expression and movement.
But it can't happen all at once.
Otherwise, you’re trying to fill your life with things that make you happy in a way that will innately make you unhappy.
I'm going to say that again. Trying to do everything that makes you happy all the time will create a lifestyle full of happy things that makes you miserable. (Not to mention what trying to do things that don't make you happy will do!)
This is why in creating an intentional life, it's vital to start with your ideal vision and then, over time, work that vision into your reality and adjust along the way. Otherwise, what you thought was your ideal actually becomes overbearing and limiting.
We can find freedom within the limits we set for ourselves.
So what's realistic for you? How much do you try to do in a given week? Does it let you have the breathing space you need?
If not, you may need to set some boundaries around your current commitments. And you may also need to let go of some of your expectations of how much you can do.
It's not easy. But we'll get there.
I'd love to support you in creating a lifestyle that lets you nourish the different parts of who you are and lets you release the expectations of what you should be doing. Check out my coaching programs and be in touch to let me know how I can be of service.
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