I’ve recently seen a quote floating around about how we all have the same number of hours in our day and so saying, “I don’t have time,” is not an acceptable reason not to do something. I get it. I really do. The problem with it though is that although we all have the same number of hours, we also all have different responsibilities, priorities and demands on that time.
Often I “don’t have time” for something and it’s actually a matter of it not being at the top of my priority list. Other times, though, I really do want to do something, it’s on my priority list (not at the tippy-top, but it is on there!) and I truly can’t do it. For the longest time I was frustrated with myself for not being able to get all my priorities done. I cut all the extras out of my schedule and still couldn’t get my basic to-do list under control. WHY???
I recently (finally!) learned that there are two reasons.
One is that I. am. exhausted.
I learned several months ago that I have a ton of symptoms of adrenal fatigue and my tendency to just push through and get it done, no matter how tired I am has driven my health into the ground. There have been many other contributing factors (two pregnancies with severe morning sickness, one abscessed tooth that I didn’t know about that caused heart arrhythmia and other scary symptoms, lots of stressful situations and countless sleepless nights), and I got to the point where I just quit being physically able to bounce back from those things.
I hope to write a lot more about my journey to recover from adrenal fatigue, but what I want to get out there is that although it isn’t a medical condition that all doctors recognize, it’s a very real and difficult problem. If you feel hopelessly exhausted and sleep doesn’t help, do some research into adrenal fatigue to see if that might be the cause. This bone-deep tired feeling 24/7 isn’t normal. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it better. Just pushing through is only going to make it worse. If you are experiencing this too, you need rest!
The second reason is that I really don’t have enough hours in my day. At least, not enough to do all the things on my to-do list.
I started reading this wonderful book called, “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” by Crystal Paine. In the book, she has an exercise (after figuring out priorities and other important things) where you are supposed to list all the things you want to do in a day and assign a block of time to each task. I started with “sleep- 9 hours” because that is my goal to help get my adrenal glands on the road to recovery. (As a side note, I’ve only had 9 solid hours of sleep about 4 times in the last 3 months.) For each priority, I put a block of hours that I felt each one needed/deserved every day. Cooking (with clean-up), homeschooling, my Real Traditions online store, homemaking/housekeeping, etc. all got the number of hours that they need.
Friends, I ended up with a 32-hour day in my 24 hours!!! No wonder I can’t get it all done! No wonder I’m always exhausted and desperately trying to just push through! If you are feeling like you can’t possibly get everything done, maybe you can’t. Write down all of your daily tasks/to-do list items and assign each one the number of hours you try to or want to give to them. DO NOT do the math as you go– just be honest about the time you try to put into things. Start with sleep and don’t forget meals. Are you within the actual 24 hours, when you add them all together? Do you have at least two hours of “margin time” for rest and to allow for all those everyday interruptions?
If you’re at all like me and you find that you’re trying to cram 30-something hours into your 24-hour day, I’d encourage you to get Crystal’s book. She has so much wisdom to share and I’ve been able to make some hard decisions about what to let go of and what to rethink. Follow along on my “Surviving to Flourishing” series for step-by-step help to get out of survival mode and back to living your life!