The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Deana at Your Happy Stuff.
One thing I hear over and over from busy women is how they have to do EVERYTHING for their families, or stuff just won’t get done. It’s a huge frustration and I totally understand. Seriously, I was so overwhelmed about four years ago I about had a nervous breakdown. No joke.
The most important thing you can do when trying to change the way things have always worked with your family is to keep your mind open to new ideas. I heard it put like this:
“You control the speed at which your life changes by the speed at which you let new thoughts in.”
Are you ready to try some new things to help your family shoulder some of the weight around the house?
Okay, let’s do this.
How to Do Less and Get More Done:
1. Stop thinking like a servant and begin thinking like a manager.
Divide (the work) and conquer (the overwhelm).
I don’t believe that we do our kids any favors by giving them a free ride around the daily tasks that HAVE to happen for life to run smoothly. Dishes, laundry, cleaning, bed-making…these are life skills that kids need to learn so they can evolve into independent and self-sufficient adults.
Questions to ask: What are some chores that your kids need to learn so they don’t become grown-ups who leave piles of things for others to deal with? Could you make chores feel like a game? Could you ask your kids to HELP you design a chore game?
2. Swap out the nagging with play. Get creative!
Okay, so you must be thinking, “Yeah, I TRY to get my kids to help, but they tune me out.” I get that. But you have to know it doesn’t mean your situation is hopeless, it means you need try something new.
When my daughter’s room needs vacuuming and she’s lazing around on her ipod, I’ve been known to knock politely on her door and use my best over-the-top Jersey girl accent (think of Joan Cusack’s secretary in Working Girl). “Hey hon, sorry to bug ya…I know you’re busy. But the vacuum coawled and said it had an appointment with ya now. It’s next victim is yo brutha’s room, so tootle it down the hall when you’re done. Thanks toots!”
Questions to ask: How could you say things or do things differently? Can you adopt an attitude that feels light and playful?
3. Stop trying to solve all the problems yourself.
When you are overwhelmed the last thing that’s going to help is a “family meeting” where you lay down the law because you are sick and tired.
Instead, have a family brainstorm session around a particular situation that isn’t working in your home. Encourage everyone to share their ideas.
You’ll get some doozies. Write them down. Keep an open mind. And be interested in trying something new. Give family members some ownership (even if it’s not exactly how YOU would do it) and you’ll get better “buy-in.” Bonus! You may actually have some fun in the process.
Questions to ask: How could you create a team environment that feels more inclusive rather than bossy?
4. Don’t give up when the first try doesn’t work!
Did you know that James Dyson, the inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, created 5,127 prototypes that FAILED? Can you even imagine that?
You need to stop letting “perceived” failure keep you stuck. When something doesn’t work, it’s means you experimented and got a certain result. Want a different result? Change a variable in your experiment and try again.
Questions to ask: Have you tried an organizing strategy that didn’t work for you? Could you tweak something about it rather than throw the whole thing out?
5. Focus less on aesthetics and more on intuitive design.
You know how your smartphone is so easy to use that a toddler can easily figure it out? That’s because the design is intuitive and the labels make sense to a variety of ages and skill levels. Do this with your space. Kids not putting their clothes away? Could you lower their clothing bar to make it more
accessible? Could you label the inside of drawers so everyone knows where things go? Could you use icons for your labels instead of words (very helpful for kids and adults with ADHD)?
Questions to ask: How can you make your space more easy to navigate? Are things easy to see and reach?
Giving up some control to get my family on-board with de-cluttering and maintaining our space was the BEST thing I ever did for myself.
Did everything I tried work the first time? Nope. Does our house still get messy from time to time? Yup. Do I stress out by handling everything myself because “it’s just easier that way?” Not any more!
P.S. Feel free to write your answers to the above questions in a journal. Tip your ideas out onto paper. You’ll find you have way more solutions for your life than you realized. We always do:)
Deana Ward of Your Happy Stuff loves helping overwhelmed women simplify and calm their lives. As a breakthrough life coach and creator of the 4-week rut buster, Happiness Hotwire, she helps her clients decide how they want to live and gives them simple steps and accountability to make it happen. Be sure to get your FREE gift and weekly tips from Deana over at Your Happy Stuff. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.