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Is your head full of ALL.THE.THINGS you have to do? Mine is.

Currently I am thinking about dinner (what shall we have of the options available which might actually involve eating food rather than chewing non food items?), and telling grandparents about an event at school next week they might like to go to (and then I will have to buy the tickets and coordinate meeting up and all that good stuff), and what the weather will be like for the next few days to try to get some work done in the garden (and how much will the trailer cost to hire so I can cart the stuff I pull out to the dump?) while I keep an eye on the time for an appointment I have coming up (and what do I need to get ready for it again?!?). 

Crazy eyes trying to find a way of prioritizing calm

How in the world can I talk about prioritizing calm then?? What would I know if my head is as full as anybody else’s???

Well I did give you a few examples of the noise in my head – and sadly it is only a few examples, there is SO much more – for you to see what I am like. I need help as much as the next person.  

But we like calm around here don’t we??

So how do we prioritize it?

My method for prioritizing calm

I cheat.

I’ll show you how to as well.

Use a cheat sheet. This one in fact.

to do list for prioritizing calm

First, print it out (after you download it from here or click on the image itself) and write down EVERYTHING you have to do that you can think of.

Then pick the things that must happen for life to continue. Those can go in the bottom section. Easy right?!?

But that is not all, oh no, that is not all! (Anyone else have Dr Suess on the brain??)

I also like to use another sheet I have made to choose to actively not do some things. You see, I want to free up space in my head so that when things get a little crazy I am not already feeling so full that I nearly explode… or actually explode. Neither is pretty. 

So I want to prioritize what I do so that I know the most important things are happening AND so that I know that I am totally leaving the things that don’t make me any more calm or happy. That my friend is prioritizing calm.

So here is the next sheet. Again, you can download it here. Or on the image itself. (But if you struggle to print things out, also a bit like me, then you can draw it on a piece of paper… that’s why I like things to be simple if possible!)

prioritizing calm

As you can see I have used the very useful quadrant that some people use to decide on where to focus. (Yeah, it will have a special name, but I don’t know it. I used to roll my eyes at this kind of thing. If you do too, I’m not worried. But try it before you decide it isn’t any good… I finally did and have to eat my words. Now I embrace it. I love seeing what I don’t have to do!!)

I think my hesitation was with really knowing how to decide if things were important or not. Yes really. Some people may roll their eyes at that too! But the perfectionist in me wanted to “do it right” so I couldn’t decide where to put things.

How do you decide if something is important or urgent?

Now don’t hate me for this answer, but you have to decide yourself if it is important and if it is urgent. 

See, I always wanted someone else to decide that for me. It felt too hard and I wanted to make sure I did it right… recovering perfectionist over here.

So how do I do it now? By thinking about what might happen if I don’t do it. And about if I consider it urgent or not. If I leave those decisions to someone else, especially someone who is not part of my immediate family, then we will not have calm.

Let’s look at what was in my head earlier.

Making dinner is important. If it is late afternoon then it is also urgent! Buying tickets to the event at school is not urgent even though it needs to be done by a certain time. But it is important, to us at least, since it is the first school event my son has been part of. Getting garden work done might be urgent on a sunny day… but frankly for me it is only moderately important and not always urgent. If someone else offers to help do it then I will say yes (I have lovely wider family!). So it can either wait till it suits me or until someone else can do it. My appointment is very important, so I will make sure it happens.

Does that make sense?? Decide based on what will make life easier. Period.

I think this article from Focus on the Family was good at talking about this too. You may like to read it as well.

And never be afraid to fill that space that is not important and not urgent and therefore not necessary right now!!

So tell me… what would be on your lists, and what would you drop?

Prioritizing calm

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