353: How to Declutter Your Busy Schedule// Miranda Anderson

Is Your Busy Schedule Overwhelming? 

If you’re like most moms, the answer to that question is a resounding YES! And if that’s the case, I have a special treat for you. My dear friend, fellow podcaster, author, and life coach, Miranda Anderson, taught a special class on this topic to a group of 3 in 30 listeners back at the end of 2019. (Is it just me, or does that feel like a lifetime ago?!) Today, I want to revisit the wisdom that Miranda shared in that class about decluttering our busy schedules

Before I knew Miranda personally, I heard her on a podcast saying that she had been blogging for six years when she decided to stop for a year in order to focus on having another baby. I was floored! In our industry, it is unheard of to take a break like that! All of the gurus tell you that you’ll lose your momentum, and your business will quickly become irrelevant. 

But Miranda proved the experts wrong! She took a year off to have a baby – something she felt strongly was right for her. She then came back stronger than ever, and her business is thriving. This is so inspiring! I marvel that she was willing to take the risk of losing her business in order to live authentically to what she felt was right for her and her family. 

After that year’s break, Miranda reflected: 

“I came back to my blog with more clarity. My own mental space was better. I had taken enough of a pause to reevaluate and to put some plans in place. And that next year that I came back, I came back stronger and better than I ever had before. And I think it’s because of the pause. If I had just continued on, I would have done what I was always doing – because that’s what we do.”

Isn’t that true? We tend to continue running around in our busy schedules doing things just because it’s what we’ve always done, even if it’s actually not working for us. It’s the human version of the inertia Sir Isaac Newton observed! I’m inspired by Miranda’s willingness to lean into that, get uncomfortable, and choose the life path that was best for her. 

 

So let’s jump into the wise takeaways Miranda shared with the class: 

 

1) Everything in your busy schedule is optional. 

I know, I know, I can hear the “buts” ringing in your head! But what about feeding my family? But what about the piles and piles of laundry? But I have a busy schedule because everyone needs me! 

Take a deep breath, and stick with this for a minute. Miranda isn’t suggesting you stop feeding your family or never wash a load of dirty clothes again (although, wouldn’t that be a dream?!). Instead, she’s asking you to challenge how you’re currently doing it all, and imagine the possibilities of what you can change. She said this: 

If you allow yourself to consider that every single thing on your schedule is optional then you are immediately able to feel some freedom.

So, give it a try! Give yourself permission to think of everything in your busy schedule as a blank slate. If it’s all optional, what will you choose to do? What will you choose to let go? What in your schedule is adding value to your life? What isn’t? 

If some things feel non-optional, write them down and open yourself up to thinking outside of the box. What obstacles are blocking you from changing this certain thing? Is laundry important? Of course! But do you need to do it every Monday? No! 

This doesn’t mean that everything in your life will be fun, but it does mean that you will feel more agency over everything in your life. This is powerful! It allows the freedom to step away from feeling stuck in victimhood and resentment over your busy schedule

 

2) Time is a cycle – even within your busy schedule! 

Just like the natural world, and the rhythms of our female bodies, we go through different seasons and levels of energy, and that is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s optimal! 

One listener in the class asked Miranda how to make peace with the low-energy times. She said those times bring up shame for her. I love the example Miranda shared of the tulip magnolia tree she has in her yard. The trees flowers are gorgeous, but it takes the winter to replenish in order to bear the weight of the blossoms. If it just continued to add blossoms, the branches would break, and the tree would die. She wisely said: 

“The reason that nature is able to spring forth in the spring and sustain that through the summer is because it spends half of the year in dormancy, gathering energy.”

Miranda encouraged this listener to respect her seasons and focus on low-energy tasks during her low-energy times. 

Seasons of rest are necessary! As we stop trying to fight against that and we start to accept the cyclical nature of time, and incorporate that into  our busy schedule, we will find more peace in our lives and allow more room in our schedules. This is such a beautiful principle! 

 

3) Put the “Big Rocks” (a.k.a. YOU) into your busy schedule first. 

Referencing an analogy from Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Miranda talked with the class about the importance of filling a jar with big rocks first, then little rocks, then sand. If you start with the sand, the big rocks will never fit. She then explained that the number one rock to put in first is YOU. 

We tend to think of ourselves as the sand, and we want to put the big rocks in – which are taking care of our kids, doing our church responsibilities, doing our school or work responsibilities, doing the laundry. We think of everything else before we think of ourselves, and then we see what’s left over – what little bits of sand can we do to take care of our own health, to take care of our own well-being, to take care of the things that we need. And if YOU don’t fit in your jar, then you are unable to serve in any capacity as a good mom, as a good wife, as a good worker, an employee, a sister – all of the roles that you fill! You will be unable to fill with purpose if you have not put yourself in the center of your own life.

This might seem impossible or even self-centered, especially in the busy schedule all moms juggle. But, self centered – meaning grounded and centered in your deep sense of self – is exactly what we need to be if we want to be the mom, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and neighbor that we really want to be. If we try to squeeze in some soul-care as an afterthought – after all the work, kids, church, neighborhood, soccer team, housework, and volunteer commitments – we’re not likely to often feel centered and at peace. There simply won’t be time left. 

Prioritize some things in your busy schedule that sound FUN to you, and allow them to matter as much or even more than some of the more serious commitments. You’ll be surprised at the renewed energy and brain power that will come to your life that will allow you to show up in ways that you want in all the areas that matter to you. 

 

Don’t you love these takeaways from Miranda? I hope your brain is sparking with all sorts of epiphanies. I’d love to hear about them in the comments! 

My friends, even with our busy schedules, we don’t have to run around feeling frazzled and overwhelmed all the time. Let’s start decluttering and reprioritizing today! 

 

Before I wrap up, if you’re reading this blog post when it comes out, I just want to remind you of the masterclass on overwhelm I’m teaching this week. It will be a great addition to Miranda’s takeaways and help you manage your busy schedule. Plus, it’s not very often that I get to be live with the women in this community, so I am truly excited about it. I hope to see you there! 

 

 

>>>Are these tips from Miranda Anderson on decluttering your busy schedule helpful? What gets in your way as you try to implement her takeaways? What helps you? What did you learn? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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Mentioned in the Episode:

About our Guest:

Miranda Anderson is the founder of the Live Free Creative Company. With a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology, Miranda’s mission is to share practical ways we can apply the science of well-being to our everyday lives.

She hosts a weekly podcast called Practically Happy and offers one-on-one coaching for individuals who want to clarify their goals and receive accountability and support as they build a life they love. 

Her first book, More than Enough, chronicles her family’s experience of going a full year without buying any non-consumable goods as an experiment in practical minimalism. Miranda lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, two teens, one tween, 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 5 chickens.

Get in touch with our Guest!


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