People often ask me how I “do it all” or how I “keep it all together,” and I’m just going to be honest from the start and tell you my secret: I don’t! Nobody can do it all, not well anyway. And when I say nobody can do it all, I’m not saying you can’t have all the things you want or do all the things you want. What I’m saying is, it’s not possible to be perfect at everything all at the same time. You have to decide what’s most important to you right now and be okay with letting some things slide.
My life is full with three kids, my husband, and my business I run from home. I’m active in our school PTA, I teach classes, and I also try really hard to make time for myself on a regular basis. I know from the outside it may appear that I’ve got it all together and I handle everything seamlessly, but the truth is, I don’t.
I definitely don’t do it all and my secret is that I’ve gotten really good at letting certain things go. I’m constantly making choices about what my priorities are and mindfully deciding what’s less important to me. I’m going to be really honest here and tell you about some areas of my life that I let slip on a regular basis.
I’m not Perfect! Here are Things I let Slip and I’m Totally Okay with It:
- Bathing. Maybe you’ll find this upsetting, but I don’t bathe my kids every day. We do make our 11-year-old shower every day but that’s only because; 1. He can do it independently and, 2. Let’s be honest, 11 year old boys stink! But the girls who still need our help, they get a bath or shower about 3 or 4 times a week. And, brace yourself for this one, sometimes during the summer a swim in the pool counts as a bath. See, I told you, I don’t do it all!
- Cleaning my house. I am a really good tidier. I tidy constantly. If you ask my family they might tell you I’m a bit too obsessive about tidying. But when it comes to actually cleaning, I don’t do it very often. We have a helper that comes to our house every 3 weeks and I pretty much leave the cleaning to her. Three weeks in between cleaning sometimes means our house isn’t exactly spotless. Tidy? Yes. Clean? No. See, there it is again – I do not handle it all.
- Meal planning and prepping. This topic could be a whole blog article all on it’s own, and maybe it will be one day. But for now, simply put, I don’t spend a lot of time and effort worrying about planning amazing meals for my family. I do what’s easy and reasonable for our busy schedule. We repeat a lot of meals and we usually make things that take 30 minutes or less with very few ingredients. My husband and I have a routine that works pretty well for us. We get dinner on the table about 5 nights a week. Super simple and reasonably healthy are my two main requirements. Maybe that’s boring and un-inspiring, but remember, I don’t do it all.
- My mood. Yep, sometimes I get really grouchy and unpleasant. This isn’t something I enjoy and I don’t exactly mindfully let myself get this way, but I do mindfully forgive myself for it. I know that busy people get overwhelmed and stressed and it’s okay for my mood to reflect that sometimes. I don’t hold it all together perfectly all the time and I’m okay with that.
What is one thing you’d like to mindfully let slip today?
There are also Things I don’t let Slip…
As I mentioned before, my secret is that I’ve gotten good at letting certain things go. However, I’ve also gotten good at mindfully deciding what my top priorities are and making sure I really focus on them. Right now in my current life, my top 3 priorities are:
- Quality time with my husband and kids. I’m not perfect at it, but I make an effort to make some time every day that’s just for them.
- Myself and my self-care. This has been an ongoing effort for several years but I’m finally to a point where I fit myself in to every day.
- My clients and my work. I love my work so it’s easy for me to put a lot of care and effort into it. Sometimes I have to stop myself and make sure I’m not giving it all of my time.
Of course, those three things are not everything that’s important to me, but right now, they are the most important and I make an effort to treat them that way.
What are the top three most important things in your life right now? I invite you to take some time to think about it.
5 Tips for Doing it all (but not Actually Doing it all)…
- Prioritize. Mindfully choose the things that are most important to you or that you enjoy the most and then do those well. Your priorities don’t have to stay constant. One day your priority can be spending quality time with your family, and the next day your priority might be housework. This is called balance. It’s okay to let different things slip on different days. Be mindful and intentional with your choices and it will all work out and get done eventually. Or it won’t, and that’s okay too.
- Use a timer for certain tasks. If there is something I really want to get done and then forget about it, I will set a timer, work for that amount of time, and then stop when the timer runs out. I use this for tasks like tidying the house, finishing a work project, or even personal self-care time. The timer helps me focus in on the task at hand and not get distracted. It also helps me move on to something else more easily when time is up.
- Tidy daily. This doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Taking time to tidy up daily eliminates big messes that you feel afraid to tackle later. I like to start each day with a tidy house and when you take a little time to tidy each day it’s not that hard to accomplish.
- Delegate. Don’t even try to do it all yourself! In our house my husband does a lot (basically all) of the laundry and dishes, and like I mentioned before, we have a helper that comes and does the deep cleaning every three weeks. Delegating takes a lot off my plate and leaves me with room to prioritize other things. You might think I’m “doing it all” but in reality, I’m delegating!
- Give yourself grace. Sometimes your kids need to wait for you while you’re working on something else, sometimes your laundry won’t get done because there are other more important things happening, sometimes you’ll be grumpy and snap at someone you love. These things happen. And they are all okay and so are you. You are actually way more than okay!
One more piece of advice: Follow and listen to The Lazy Genius. Her philosophy is basically my life’s mantra: “Be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t”. That is exactly how I live my life (most of the time). I decide what really matters to me and I focus on doing a really good job at those things. The rest can fall by the wayside (at least to a degree). It doesn’t mean I’ll never care about those things again. I may decide to focus more on those things later on. Who knows? I’ll decide when I get there.
The next time you see someone who appears to have it all together or is “doing it all,” I hope you’ll remind yourself that nobody is doing it all. I’m sure the person you see is doing a lot, but they certainly aren’t doing everything perfectly.
Remember: Everyone is letting something slip.
The secret is to ask yourself this very important question: are you being intentional with your choices? I hope this article will remind you to make mindful decisions about what you choose to let go of and what you decide to prioritize. When you make mindful choices, you can have balance in your life and you don’t have to feel pressure to do it all. Let me know how this goes for you, I’d love to hear!
This Post Has 4 Comments
While I was enjoying this, I thought, I need to add The Lazy Genius in her comments!!! I see I don’t need to. Isn’t Kendra fabulous? She puts my life into good words, like you did here. #TheLazyGeniusWay
Thanks for your comment, Dorothy!
Yes, I love The Lazy Genius!
This is a brilliant, and timely article Juliette. Thanks for your honesty in sharing some of the things you purposefully see as not as important, and those that are. It’s always inspiring for me to see which features on other people’s lists, and to gain new ideas of tasks that perhaps I can let go of for a time!
And I LOVE Kendra too! I’m partway reading her new book, and loving her practical, encouraging way of helping me realise what matters, and what doesn’t 🙂
Thanks for reading! I wrote this article a year ago and it still applies today. 😊