Detox Your Schedule

You detoxed your body in January.

If you have not yet detoxed your home and your stuff, read this post and get ready for some serious spring cleaning.

calendarWhen I detox my body I always feel lighter and filled with good quality, nurturing foods. After detoxing my home, the only items left are practical, work, are well-loved, and fit my style. That’s how I wanted my schedule to look. But, I was really overwhelmed. I said yes to everyone and every work opportunity. I was distracted by people, places, and things urgently demanding my attention via text, email, and messages. My calendar was like a closet bursting open with old clothes.

I set out to detox my schedule.

First, I used the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I looked at my day in 15 minute increments to analyze how I was actually spending my time.

Then, I read some Steven Covey. He helped me schedule my priorities FIRST.

I identified three priorities: faith, family, and food.

My phone

I read how really successful business people only check their email three times a day. If I am going to be the successful President and CEO of Angela Baker Britcher, Inc, I can check in only three times a day. I turned off all notifications on my phone. Emails, texts, calls and social media messages no longer pop up on the lock screen. You can do that thing where people say, “But my job! My kids!” I have lived through medical crises and being on call 24/7 for a job. You can do it. Put down your phone…when you’re done reading my blog. It was an adjustment, but only checking in a few times a day has made me much more present to work and family.

Faith

Faith was easy to schedule. Mass on Sunday and 15 minutes daily. I would give 15 minutes to faith every morning before the news, social media, email, or work. Yoga every other day. Yes, yoga is a faith practice for me.

Since making this change, people of all different faiths keep appearing in my life with encouragement and support. I have the time and energy to recognize them and build these relationships since my schedule is clearer.

Family

We never felt like we had enough time together. I was the problem. I was always over-scheduling; saying yes to people, places, and things that cut into our family time. Or I was tired and cranky from all the yessing. I scheduled family first every day and declared some times sacred–which means just us. This family time is always worth it!

Food

Food means a couple things to me. It means making enough dough to feed my family, keep the roof over our heads and keep the heat on. Seriously, I am cold all the time. It also means buying, preparing and eating good quality food together.

Work: I decided to focus on the freelance writing and journalism work I had been assigned instead of so much time looking for more work-which was taking up a lot of time. Focus, scheduling, and prioritizing has equaled more quality work from great employers and clients. I am a wellness advocate for DoTerra. Since focusing, my business has tripled.

stopmevolunteerVolunteering: Dan described several of the people, places, and things I volunteered with this way, “Every time you say yes to that organization, it’s a total cluster f^%#. Say no to the cluster. Say no to the cluster. Say no to the cluster” while trying to hypnotize me. My schedule was overwhelmed with saying yes to everyone who needed any kind of assistance. I know that sounds really helpful, but not at the expense of time with my family and paying work. I chose two things to be volunteer gigs. This means doing quality work for places I love and find rewarding.

I didn’t look at it as saying no. I looked at it saying yes to my faith, family, and food. It was hard at first. People, places, and things are not used to hearing no from me or to not having me available to respond by text, email, and message 24/7. Some tried to work out my schedule for me or tried guilt. One dumped me. I saw clearly how out-of-control some relationships had become because of all my yessing. Just like my closet and bookshelves, I had to decide which were a good fit to support my priorities.

Lots of people, places, and things responded positively. Relationships are blossoming. They just needed more room to grow.

With my three priorities scheduled, peace has replaced the overwhelm. My phone battery no longer dies all the time. And, Dan, Soph, and Dash are really enjoying that say-yes-to-everything-cranky-pants-Mommy has been replaced with say-yes-to-us Mommy.

What people, places, and things can you say yes to more often to detox your schedule? Make a list of yes things. Then, make a list of people, places, and things that you could say no to in favor of saying yes to your yes list. Finally, make a list of the benefits of detoxing your schedule. Think of it as spring cleaning your calendar. When it fills with quality time with those you love it will be worth the work.