4 Steps to Finding Rest As a Type-A, Over-Doer
I’ve been focusing a lot lately on self-care. It’s been a tough few weeks. We just passed the 6 month mark of my brother passing away, we’re facing insane work schedules and a lot of work stress on top of it. As much as we work to not let it seep into home life, sometimes that’s a very difficult boundary to hang on to.
With my self-reflection, I’ve been coming to the realization that one of my top strengths is also a top weaknesses in my life. I’ve always been that type-A, get things done person and with that comes the need to continually invest in healthy boundaries, stress relief techniques and the ability to intentionally carve out time for rest and relaxation.
If I’m not intentional with my down time, my life quickly falls into the pattern of……
Work item due next week? I’ll do it now.
Decide we don’t like a paint color? I’ll repaint it after work tonight.
I can squeeze lunch hour into my schedule today? Extra time to fit in errands.
Need to reorganize/restructure/clean/do anything at all? Done. Immediately.
My motto is always – Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today? You have no idea what tomorrow will bring, so get it done now and rest later.
But that’s the problem….when does later ever become now? There will always be something to do or a project to finish. There will always be a problem to solve. It’s never, ‘just finish this list and be done’, life will always add more on.
Yes, I get things done. It’s how I’ve been successful in my life but it’s also what drains me. It’s something I’m focusing on so I can re-train my thought patterns and habits to allow more down time. I don’t want my life to be made up of tasks instead of moments.
So what can us Type-A, get-it-done personality types do to unwind, relax and (gasp) let things go until another day?
Here’s a 1 week plan to venture into the unknown – the world of….it’s okay to let it slide. One week – we can all do one week to allow ourselves a break. And this experiment may just provide us with more than a few days of rest.
4 easy steps because the only way for our type to to learn to let go of our constant planning and goal setting is to create steps for doing so 😉
Look at your to-do list. (If you do not have a to-do list, then you can just stop reading now. You don’t need this.)
Forget any of the markings/rankings/order you’ve already assigned and highlight what really needs to get done today to survive until tomorrow. Yes, I know that your closet needs to be cleaned out but do you really have to do it at 9pm after a long day when you finally get a moment of quiet? No, you don’t. If you die tomorrow, no one will judge your overflowing closet.
Anything not highlighted can move over to you B-priority list. (Don’t lie, I know you have one.)
Look at your have-to-do-it-or-I’ll-die list and see what you can hand off to another person. What can your spouse do? What can the kids do? I know you might not love to give up anything for fear that it won’t be done completely the right way, but this is an exercise of release. Give it a try. Your kids will be fine wearing wrinkly clothes because instead of folding them they shoved them in their drawers. And your bathroom will be clean enough if your husband does it differently than you do. Things will get done and the world will keep turning.
Tip: don’t watch your spouse and kids complete the necessary items. You don’t need that kind of stress. Sing it with me….Let it go, let it go….(ha! Sorry for getting that stuck in your head. And…welcome to my life now that our 2 year old was introduced to Frozen.)
Now….what is left and what is the good-enough point? Some things you just can’t put off, they have to get done today and by you, and that’s okay. But do they have to be done to the extreme? Find your good-enough point and throw perfectionism the window for this week.
When you finish these must-do tasks and realize that you still have oil left to burn at the end of the day, resist to urge to add more to your list. Pick up a book. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Go for a walk. Play a game with your kids. Do not add things from your back up list!
I don’t care what time it is or how energized you feel. You have energy because you didn’t wipe yourself out by running all over the place. Enjoy it, soak it in.
This can be the hardest part – having time and energy and choosing not to do more. I find this the most difficult habit to break. Reminder: You don’t have to be productive 24 hours a day! Or perhaps it’s actually that you need to redefine what productive really means to you? Hhhmmm….future blog post idea.
Continue for a week. Seriously, the whole week. Commit to a single week to refocus and recharge and then evaluate where you are. I know that at the end of this week I’m going to have things on my list that aren’t done. I also know that anything not done this week isn’t a top priority right now. Right now the top priority to rest and recharge.
Maybe at the end of the week you’ve learned some new habits or system of efficiently tackling reoccurring tasks. Or maybe all you’ve achieved was one week of rest. I’d call that a win in my book.
Tip: For anything not done at the end of the week, reschedule it out over the next few months because if it was pushed off every day this week then it’s not something you need to address right now. Windows can be washed next month. Wall can be repainted in two months. Do not pile everything onto next week. It can wait until the next month when you have an open day or weekend.
Sometimes we need to re-prioritize our life not to give more to our marriage, our kids, our job or our home – but to give more to ourselves. We all have times when we need to take a moment to rest. The habit of being and doing everything is exhausting. It’s not a sustainable practice and it’s not needed to make your family and home run efficiently. You don’t have to do it all, all of the time.
Good luck! I’d love to hear what you learn from this little experiment. What are the challenges you see and how do you overcome them? Do you have any tricks for letting go or investing more into self-care?