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Stress. Burnout. Exhaustion. Do those words sound familiar to you?
Maybe you can relate to this: Last November, I was so looking forward to Christmas break. We were taking the whole month of December off. In addition to family and Christmas stuff, I thought it would be a great time to catch up on this online course I’d signed up for. The course was four weeks with four videos to watch each week, each about an hour long.
It was a self-paced course with access to the videos for a year, so even though I’d signed up over a month prior and had only watched three or four of the videos, I didn’t feel too behind. Oh, and I was going to spend my extra free time writing some blog posts for some friends who had asked me to do some guest posts.
I didn’t watch a single one of those videos. I didn’t write the first word of a blog post. I didn’t have time.
Can you relate?
Oh, and I also planned to read this book I had agreed to review. It was a little book by Crystal Paine called, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life.
Time Management for Moms
You want to know the really ironic thing? I seriously debated agreeing to review the book because I wasn’t sure I would have time to read it. Did you get that? I wasn’t sure that I’d have time to read a book about taking control of your time, a book whose back cover reads:
You wake up tired. Your to-do list is too long. The commitments – and the laundry – are piling up, but your energy keeps dwindling. You feel like you’re simply making it through the days, not living or enjoying any part of them.
Do you see the irony? If anyone needed to read that book, I did. I had planned to publish the review in January, but I hadn’t had time to finish the book. Y’all may know that I’ve been trying to get up earlier and become more of a morning person. That earlier start was supposed to provide time for me to work in peace and quiet before everyone woke up for school – and it did for awhile, but then, I found the time was just being sucked away again and I had no idea where it was going.
I had to read this book.
I really, really enjoyed Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. It’s an easy read, written in the conversational style that I love when reading non-fiction (otherwise my attention wanders). It’s filled with practical tips and personal stories, which made me feel like if Crystal and these other moms could take control of their time, I could, too.
I love that each chapter begins by outlining a goal with a strategy for achieving it and ends with action steps for the reader to take. That’s one reason it took me a little longer to finish the book – I wanted to complete the action steps, at least mentally or with some notes on paper, before moving on. You don’t have to do that – I love how Crystal acknowledged in the final chapter that some readers may have made notes of suggestions as they read and might now be ready to implement them – but I didn’t want to just race through the book without trying to make some changes along the way.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I certainly haven’t completely overhauled my life. This is definitely still a work in progress. However, the big themes I took from the book were:
- Define your personal priorities so you know when to say yes and when to say no
- Create margin by planning an outline for your time each day
- Set goals so you know where you’re going and can see if the ways you’re using your time and your money are getting you there
Why Goal Setting Is Important
I’m terrible at creating goals. I’m just kind of a go-with-the-flow kind of person. However, that attitude is what often makes me wind up completely over-committed. In the very first chapter, readers are guided through creating a personal priorities list. This list is going to be different for everyone, but mine included things like:
- Personal – physical health, mental growth (I want to commit to reading at least one non-fiction book each month. I buy them and never finish them!)
- Spiritual – making time for daily Bible study and prayer
- Family – investing in my relationship with my husband and kids by not just giving them my “leftover” time
- Work – setting aside focused time for blogging and social media management…and finishing that online course!
- Serving others – being intentional about doing something for someone outside of my immediate family at least once a week.
Once you’ve got your personal priorities in place, it’s easier to see what you should say yes to and when you should say no. There are good opportunities that come my way every day, but I should only say yes to the best – those that are in line with personal priorities.
In addition to time management and goal-setting, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode covers topics such as:
- How to break goals down into manageable chunks
- How to be more efficient with your time
- Learning self-discipline
- Money management
- Household management
- Making a difference by serving others
- Taking care of yourself
Honestly, I’ve only made a few little changes so far, but I’ve already seen it making an impact on my life. I am managing my time better and getting more done. Because I’m managing my time better, I’ve had more time in the evenings to spend with my husband investing in our relationship.
I’ve made some small steps in spending more quality time with my kids, but that’s an area in which I still need to improve. I’ve said no to some really good opportunities – but they weren’t the best opportunities when held against the plumb line of my personal priorities. I thought that I might regret saying no, but I’ve only felt relief.
One of my goals this year is to be able to say, “I am so glad I didn’t sign up for/agree to do that,” much more often than I say, “Why, oh why, did I agree to do this?” That’s because it’s the “why, oh why” things, along with poor planning and time management that keep me in survival mode. I don’t want to live in survival mode. I want to enjoy my life, my family, and my work. I want to live with purpose and passion.
If you’ve been functioning in survival mode and have been wondering how long you can keep the plates spinning before they start crashing down around you, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. The practical tips that Crystal breaks down into easy-to-implement action steps will help you take control of your time so that you can start enjoying your life.
Do you feel like you’re in survival mode or do you have a pretty good handle on life right now?