by Susan McCarthy
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Everyday practice: It's seems easier to focus on what we need to do, but take a moment to question why you will work on a task.
The lazy days of summer? I find my days a little fuller in the summer because my garden (which I can ignore for months during New England winters) needs cleaning, weeding, planting, and watering. I even devote more time to feeding the birds in the spring and summer than in the winter since I live along a river and get a lot more summer visitors raising the noisy young.
My focus, for a few months, turns to the outdoors – along with tending the garden, the porch and patio needs sweeping and dusting, so they are ready for guests invited to a dinner from the grill. Of course, none of the tasks, chores, and errands that get done on a regular basis throughout the year go away.
When your days feel like one long to-do list, it is possibly to simplify your schedule.
Go with the Flow
At any time of the year you may find your days busier. Holidays. Visitors. Guests. Minor illnesses. Seasonal changes. Work schedule. Family obligations. Home repairs. And on.
I’m not talking about long-term changes – a new child, marriage or divorce, a move, a serious illness – but changes that will occupy a few days or weeks. In some cases, these temporary disruptions to your days can feel more annoying because you feel like you should be able to squeeze in everything that you’re used to doing plus the additional commitments.
You don’t have to.
Take a deep breath and accept that you can’t do everything right now. Creating balance in your life isn’t about squeezing everything into every day.
Instead, it’s about acknowledging that at different times different things and activities will be more important than at other times. You do this all the time, maybe without thinking about it. You know a project at work will take up most of your attention for the next three months and so other projects get put on hold or get less attention. Decluttering and renovating your basement into a family room means that you say “no” to some casual get-togethers because you want to project done.
Tweak Your Schedule
Tweaking your schedule involves making small changes to your days. Maybe for a week you’ll host out-of-town guests. Maybe you come down with the flu and you need to set aside your regular workouts. During the holidays, you rearrange some furniture or décor so you can accommodate holiday displays.
You lean your attention in one direction for a while and then later tilt in another direction to focus on something else.
All this comes down to reducing your need for perfectionism and accepting good enough. Neat enough. Clean enough. Busy enough. Decide what is most important to focus on right now and realize that in another week, you can tweak your focus to what will be most important to you then.
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The Organized Squirrel, Susan, shows you how acorns (small habits) can grow into oak trees (a better life).