Life over at CMO central has been absolutely insane lately.
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, and just can’t catch up.
But I know that this will pass, and I’m using all the tools and techniques I know to ruthlessly prioritize.
Let me explain what’s going on, and what I do to deal when things get crazy.
Life At CMO Central
Last week, I was in Pennsylvania and Delaware from Sunday night until Thursday night, traveling for work. I left after spending a full weekend with the Boy Scouts camping from Friday night until Sunday morning. I didn’t get to sleep in my own bed for a week, and traveling after spending two nights on cots in tents wasn’t the most fun thing I could think of.
This week, I’m working for two days and then heading down to FinCon (THE financial conference) where I’m both attending and speaking. I’m also up for two awards for this site – best Family Finance blog and Best Series for the Breadwinning, Six Figure, Millionaire women series (woo hoo!). I had to prepare my forty – minute long talk, and I’ll need to pack soon for the five day long trip. I’m going to be gone from early Wednesday through Sunday morning.
As soon as my flight gets back on Sunday, I need to drive to try and catch my middle son in the parade in our town at 2 PM. Fingers crossed the flight’s not late!
After a week at home, I’m traveling again to Delaware the following week from Monday – Wednesday.
On top of all this, of course, is my usual job (which has reached crazy levels of busy), the three kids and all their activities, trying to keep up with my health improvements, and also relaxing. Oh, and sleeping.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all!
So how do I do it all then?
I Don’t Do It All
The only reason I can travel like this is because my husband is a stay at home dad. An involved stay at home dad, I should clarify, one that cooks, cleans, packs lunches, runs the boys around, and is terribly supportive of everything I do. Without his help and support, I wouldn’t be able to travel at all, and certainly wouldn’t feel confident of things running smoothly at home.
The only thing I’ve been doing to help get things ready for when I’m at FinCon is making sure we have a meal plan in place for the week, with many things pre-prepared. Saturday and part of Sunday were spent preparing foods for the week, to help make dinners go more smoothly.
In order to deal when life gets this crazy, I have to remind myself that I can’t do it all, and ask for help when I need it.
Let Go Of Perfection
I also need to realize that not everything will be perfect. Not only at home, but also with myself.
I need to cut myself some slack. If I don’t eat perfectly healthy every day travel gets crazy, I need to focus on doing the best I can instead. If I don’t have time for my usual morning walk, an afternoon or evening walk will need to do. Or I might need to walk around during random short spurts during the day to get in all the activity I’m looking for.
If I can’t get everything done by my own self-imposed deadlines, that’s fully OK. I need to stop expecting too much of myself, and do the best I can. That doesn’t mean letting everything go by the wayside, but it does mean I don’t need things to be perfect.
Especially when life gets crazy, I need to prioritize. It’s never more true than it is lately.
Every day I ask myself what’s most important, and decide what I’m going to do based on that. Sometimes, that means things I want to do fall off the list for now. I don’t have a lot of free time to read a book or do art, because the little available time I do have I want to spend with the boys. We still try to find time to get in a family activity every day, to keep everyone active and having fun, and dinners at home are a non-negotiable.
I always drop the “extras” first, and then of the things that are left I work them in priority order. Sometimes that means less sleep for me, other times it means some things just don’t get done in the time I wish they did. They still get done on time, luckily, but it’s cut too close for my personal comfort.
When things get crazy, I need to “externalize my brain”.
That means lists – lots and lots of lists. Usually in my phone, or on paper. I’m not much of a journaling/calendaring/Todoist type of person. I prefer old-fashioned lists, which I find easier to remember.
When things are less crazy, I usually don’t need lists. I can keep a running list in my brain instead. But when things go nuts, I need more lists than usual.
I also love my Alexa list, which I use from the Echo Dot (affiliate link) we keep in the kitchen (it was a Christmas gift). We use it for shopping, just shouting out the various things we need to buy in the grocery store – Hey Alexa, Put Olive Oil On The List! – and I use the app for our shopping trip. It made things so much easier on Saturday when I swung by the grocery store to do the weeks shopping.
It’s Not That Bad
Whenever I start to feel stressed, or like my current situation is just crazy, I think back to when my husband was ill.
When he almost died of septic shock, now that was a bad and crazy time. And my Facebook memories have decided to remind me that both three years ago and six years ago he was in the hospital recovering from surgery.
Nowadays, he’s healthy. There haven’t been any more surgeries since his total abdominal reconstruction three years ago, and although his health’s not perfect, it’s certainly better.
Six and a half years ago, I had to manage work, my MBA, two boys, and a deathly ill husband.
Now that is crazy.
This Too Shall Pass
Yes, this is a crazy time. But it will be over before I know it, and I know from experience that this won’t even be a blip on the radar that is my life.
Soon it will be Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I’ll get some time off work to really relax and recharge, and I’ll get some more spare time to do the other things I love to do again. I’m looking forward to redecorating the kids playroom, doing some more art projects, and having a fun time.
The life of a working mom can get crazy at times. But if we remember we don’t need to do it all, to let go of perfection, ruthlessly prioritize, stay organized, realize it’s probably not that bad in the scheme of things, and recall that this too shall pass – we can make it through.
I Want To Hear From You!
What are your tips for when life goes into overdrive? Let me know in the comments, or over on social media! I could use a few tips!
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8 thoughts on “Dealing When Life Goes Into Ludicrous Speed”
I completely agree with what you are saying. In fact, I recently bought Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week. While I don’t agree with all of it (very hard to apply a four hour work week as a physician – many surgeries I cover take much longer than that!) – I do think his advice on prioritizing what is truly important and leaving along the things that aren’t. This has been a lesson I’ve been learning over and over.
We often hold the misconceived notion that if we don’t deal with something ourselves it won’t get done. This just isn’t true. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be done. We are just so used to doing everything that we can’t realize that.
It’s in these moments of life that the necessary things become truly necessary and the rest can wait. I’ve always been impressed with your ability to balance it all!
Keep it up. And hope to see you at FinCon!
Good luck with the awards.
Busy busy times are hectic but they pass. (Says the woman on school holidays who had a Nanna nap on the couch in the sunlight in the middle of the day…)
Oh that’s so funny, I’ve just written a post about my own “Season of Stress” – that’s what Gretchen Rubin calls it on her Happier podcast. The meal prep is a game changer in my view – I made risotto for dinner tonight and used up all of the rice in it so that I have two spare portions to put in the freezer for days when I don’t get time to cook from scratch. I’m also swapping to an online food order and delivery for the next 6 weeks, the time and head space saved outweighs the small extra cost in the short term.
Yes! I’m so in love with meal prepping now. Love the idea of making some temporary changes to make life easier-good life hack!
I would say that you need to know when to ask for help! 2018 has been nuts and I finally had to hire help around the house to keep things running smoothly. It’s not forever, and it’s a temporary sanity-saving measure. It’s helped so much!
Let me know if your back in Delaware with time to spare. I’m work travel grounded for a few weeks and wouldn’t mind saying hi.
As for how I keep up… I leverage my resources. A great wife and family plus I work ahead during the slower time.
I outsource for brief periods. That includes picking up to go meals, using paper plates, having a lawn or cleaning service, asking good friend or relatives to help transport kids . . . Just one week of quick fixes can help get me back on track. I know its not the healthiest method or even the financially and environmentally sound way to go, but I’m not afraid to call “uncle” and get through the storm.
These are all great tips for keeping things going when life gets crazy. Letting go of perfection is a good idea, even when it’s not crazy. I always aim for the best that I can do, perfection isn’t something I go for – that’s just my personal choice because trying to get every detail of life just right takes too much time and effort and really isn’t worth it as far as I’m concerned. I’m all about lists as well, they keep me on track and help make sure I don’t forget anything. Keep up the great work. For me, when life goes crazy, I go with lists and the divide and conquer strategy – at least when my husband is home to help. Otherwise I mostly go by priority or what I can get done in a certain block of time.