Several years ago, the artist Emma published a comic about the idea of “mental load.”
If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s how her comic explains it:
I mean… that’s pretty spot-on, right?
While I don’t fully agree with EMMA’s conclusion that my mental load is my husband’s fault for not “helping enough” (he’s amazing), I do think the concept is true.
We have a lot going on in our minds – even on days when our schedule is relatively light, our minds are racing with things like “order new mascara” and “renew driver’s license” and “thaw chicken for dinner.”
And while we can’t shirk responsibility, we CAN do a few things to help lighten the load a bit.
Small practices can make a big difference – so if your mental load feels...
A few weekends ago, I cleaned out a corner of our bedroom.
I had been piling things there for months: my (unused) gym bag, some random papers, a shirt I was thinking about returning… anything I didn’t know what to do with.
Every time I walked into our bedroom, I saw that pile.
It was relatively small, but it was clutter.
And that physical clutter was quickly becoming mental clutter.
When you’re surrounded by chaos (even in small, corner sized doses), you can easily get overwhelmed and distracted.
A task or a decision that once was pretty easy feels surprisingly hard.
You feel paralyzed… so less gets done… and the cycle of overwhelm continues.
The good news? All it takes to break this cycle is a good old-fashioned “clean up.”
You can do this in two easy steps:
Step 1: Set your timer for 10 minutes and tackle a single drawer, a cabinet, or even your freezer.
Step 2: Do this again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after...
Have you ever reached 5pm and wondered what happened to your day?
You woke up early, with all the best intentions, and yet… it feels like someone literally stole hours of your time.
You have no idea what happened or how it happened.
You just know your time disappeared.
And your to-do list feels way too long.
Here’s the thing, friends: our time often “disappears” because we don’t realize how long it actually takes us to do things.
We think we can get fifteen things done in a day, when in reality we can only do nine because we also have to eat, wipe off the counters, respond to that text from a discouraged friend, etc.
The result of misunderstanding how we use our time is that we end every single day feeling discouraged—simply because we assume we can do more than is actually humanly possible.
(We’re so hard on ourselves, aren’t we?)
There’s a simple solution to this problem, though: track your time.
Here’s how you do...
Here’s a sneaky little lie that creeps into our thoughts:
I need XXX amount of time to workout/read a book/clean the house/do that thing I want to do… and I just don’t have that amount of time so I can’t do it.
Do you ever find yourself thinking this?
And if so, do you sigh and shrug your shoulders and hope things will be “better” in another few months?
Friends, I’m here to tell you that it’s 100% possible to make progress on the things that matter to you – and it doesn’t involve waking up super early (unless you want it to).
Instead, it involves believing that small things MATTER.
In fact, they matter a lot.
Here’s the truth: You can make progress in 10 minutes a day. It will be TINY progress at first, but it will snowball and you will see actual results.
Want to workout? Get up just 10 minutes early and run outside, do a quick HIIT workout, or get on your yoga mat.
Do this more often than not (aka: be consistent)...
For years I struggled to get to bed on time.
I didn’t stay up late intentionally – I just always had one more thing to do.
And then another thing.
I’d do them all, go to bed late, and wake up exhausted.
I married my husband and he taught me the power of an evening routine.
Now, before you roll your eyes and click away because you already know you don’t have time for one of those magazine evening routines (you know, the ones that include 20 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of meditation, and an hour long bath…), I want you to read what I said again.
My husband taught me the power of an evening routine.
He’s not a yoga, meditation, hot bath kind of guy.
He’s a “plug in the phone, brush teeth, floss twice, and read for 10 minutes” kind of guy.
And you know what? It works!
The simple act of stopping at the same time every night, plugging in my phone (I keep it in the kitchen), and then going to wash my face,...
I looked at my boss and took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t get that proposal finished in time and I know that let you and the team down.”
I could feel the knots in my stomach tighten.
I hated making mistakes at work and I hated admitting them to my boss.
But I had learned that shifting the blame or making excuses only damaged my integrity, so I stood firm.
“I’m planning to finish proposals the night before they’re due from now on, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
He looked at me and thanked me for accepting responsibility and creating a plan to ensure success going forward.
And then he gave me another proposal to work on.
I couldn’t have felt more grateful – my willingness to own my mistake had strengthened the trust my boss had in me, rather than tearing it down.
It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
If you’re wondering how to talk to your boss next time you make a mistake, I invite you to...
I have a love/hate relationship with my phone.
I love all the things it enables me to do – run my business on the go, stay connected to my family and friends, avoid traffic, order takeout, update my calendar, listen to podcasts, take pictures… it’s such a good tool.
But I hate how it can easily control me. Every ding, buzz, and red bubble notification is like a siren demanding me to PAY ATTENTION NOW—and before I know it, I’ve spent countless minutes just “keeping up” with everything my phone tells me I need to do.
Here’s the good news, friends:
You can take back control.
By setting your phone up to serve you and your needs, rather than you serving it.
Wondering exactly what that looks like?
I’ve got you covered ;)
Step 1: Turn off (almost) all your notifications
I recommend turning every single notification off, except for your texts and reminders. Let them pop-up on your screen but turn off the sound – that way...
I have a confession to make.
I’m never motivated to wash my face at night.
By the time 10pm rolls around, I’m just tired.
Splashing cold water on my face feels downright cruel, and my makeup has smudged itself off anyways, so I don’t even “see” the need to spread cleanser all over it.
Here’s the thing, though: I somehow always manage to wash my face—even though I never feel like it and even though the consequences of not doing so aren’t really all that bad.
I have a nightly plan—a routine—that includes washing my face.
And because I have the plan, I just execute it.
I don’t wait for motivation to come.
I don’t even expect it to come.
But because I have a plan, it gets done.
Sister, I think we can get so much done when we do feel motivated that when the motivation goes away we think we can’t keep going.
And that’s just not true.
Motivation is a fickle friend. It will come and go.
Moving is hard.
There’s no way around it – even if you’re not moving very far, the logistics required to pack, clean, and organize in a very short period of time can be downright overwhelming.
While I might not be a moving expert, I’ve moved 8 times in the last 13 years (including one cross-country move) and I’ve learned a few things that have helped streamline the entire process for me.
Want to know my secrets?
Read on, sister – you know I’m here for all this practical life stuff ;)
Tip 1: Number Each Box
Buy a sharpie and put a number on every box you pack. Use the notes app on your phone to make a list of the box number and the general things that are inside.
This has helped me SO much when it’s time to unpack – rather than dig around in countless boxes, I know exactly where to look.
Tip 2: Research Internet Providers and Schedule an...
We’ve all heard it: don’t multitask. Your brain can only really focus on one thing at a time.
For the most part, I agree. I find I’m much more productive and efficient when I give 100% to one task and then move to the next.
But, when I’m doing a mindless task (like folding laundry), I find that doing another more “mindful” task at the same time doesn’t detract from my productivity or efficiency—in fact, pairing a mindless task with a mindful task can often make the mindless task far more enjoyable.
(And of course, it saves TONS of a time, and you know I’m all about that!)
Want to test it out this mindless/mindful multitasking idea?
1: Start by making a quick list of your weekly “mindless” tasks.
These could be things like:
2: Then make a list of more “mindful” tasks you could pair with the...
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