Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Overwhelmed by Lack of Time?

This is a guest post by Deanne Welsh.

It was happening again. The rushed feeling of anxiety creeping over me. The house was a mess. The sheer length of my to do list was filling me with dread. Where to start?

Have you been there?

For too long, I allowed this to be my normal. I woke up stressed and fell into bed exhausted. Besides myself, the people who suffered the most from this were my husband and son.

The tension of household chores and the pull of my writing and dreams had me caught in the middle. That’s when I heard of two strategies that changed everything.

The 5 Minute Pick Up

First thing after breakfast, I grab a timer and set it for five minutes: clothes are hung, counters are wiped, the breakfast crumbs are swept away… When the timer rings, I move to the next room. This ensures that I tackle what is most important to me first and then I make a conscious decision not to worry about the rest (yes, this is hard if you are a neat freak).

The result is that I can settle down to work knowing that most of the house is in order and that the places that are not can be tackled later. This time boundary benefits my mind and my spirit.

My house is cleaner than when I let my long to do list dictate my actions. The five minutes are easily accomplished and at times I even break them up throughout the day, to encourage myself to get up and moving. I can get a little obsessive about what I’m working on and forget how important mental breaks are.

The 5 Minute Strategy Meeting

As writers and entrepreneurs, we have hundreds if not thousands of tasks that can be completed on a daily basis. The reality is that we cannot complete them all.

For too long, I would write out a list of 20 to 100 tasks and then chip away at them. The discouragement and overwhelm never ended because as a few tasks were completed, more were added to the list. My list kept growing! The possibility of our potential does not have a ceiling and as a result, neither does our to do list.

Nip the long to do list in the bud. Sure – you can keep a long list of future tasks and projects, but do not stare at it daily, unless you want to burn out and go a little crazy. When we face a long list, we are wasting our creative and decisive energy to sort through the list and pick a task.

The better way is to plan a five-minute strategy meeting at the end and beginning of each day.

At the end of each day, decide which two to four tasks are most important to the movement and attainment towards your dreams and goals.  Aim for bite sized chunks that can be accomplished in the time you will have available the next day. Do not aim for super-human tasks: these should be broken down into smaller tasks.

At the beginning of each day, spend five minutes with your list of tasks (two to four) and use the five minutes to brainstorm how you will accomplish them.  If writing a blog post is on your list, brainstorm the subject and content. If calling a client lead is on your list, brainstorm your conversation. After your five minutes are up, go grab a cup of coffee and you are ready to dive in. In allowing yourself to brainstorm and free write how you will tackle your to do list, you have put yourself in a great position to succeed.

There you have it. Two five minutes strategies to help you regain control of your home and your work. Let us know how they go or comment below with other sanity-time saving strategies you have.

Deanne Welsh is passionate about helping writers set their ideas and stories free. She grew up on ships sailing around the world and believes that each of us has a story the world needs to hear. You can find her at or on Facebook here. She is starting a book club on Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way and would love to have you join her.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small percentage from sales made using affiliate links. Thanks so much!

Have you read my free ebook, 101 Ways to Simplify Your Life? Get it here!

The #1 Thing Holding You Back From Simple Living

The #1 Thing Holding You Back From Simple LivingThis is a guest post from Becky Hastings from My Ink Dance.

In this quest for simple living, I find myself with a growing to-do list. Even the tasks to achieve simple stack up. I feel the weight more every day, and there’s one thing holding me back from the simple life I long for: me.

I didn’t think I was the problem. I’m the one seeking simplicity after all. It’s the kids, and the house, and work, and carpool, and school, an endless list of things screaming for my time. Surely, it couldn’t be me.

I was quick to put the blame on everything else, but when I stopped to ask as single question, things became very clear.

Looking over my sticky note of tasks for the day, I began asking the question why.

Why was I really looking up the perfect recipe on Pinterest for cookies for the teacher luncheon?

Why was I bringing my family to that party of that coworker I sort-of know?

Why was I shopping for a new outfit for Easter Sunday?

Why did I have my kids in so many sports and activities?

The questions kept coming and the answers surprised me. When I thought about my why, the deep down, true answers weren’t pretty.

I wanted people to like me, to fit in, to look great. I wanted people to see the ME I wanted to be, instead of the ME I am. The desire to impress people and prove myself was the root of all the things that kept me so busy. When I am busy I feel like I matter, like I’m important.

We spend our days in a race of our own making, wearing busy like a badge of honor. We just don’t realize that the thing we’re really longing for is to feel like we are enough.

We strive and prove and run like mad, using busy as a status symbol to prove our worth.

But what if we stopped?

What if we stopped this life of hamster wheel running and striving, instead deciding to just be?

I know why I don’t: it’s scary.

When you stop trying to prove who you are by being busy, you’re left with you, and what if you’re just not good enough?

This is the question swirling like an undercurrent in my mind. But what if the question we forget is:

What if you are good enough?

What if you could let go and believe in who you were created to be? God never called you to a do-more life of striving and busyness. He calls you to trust in who He says you are.

You are enough.

You are loved.

You are worthy.

Just as you are.

It’s time to stop losing ourselves in an effort to please everyone else.

Yes, there are things that still need to be done. We can’t just ditch work and the house and the kids to live some lofty existence. But we can choose.

We can choose what we do and how we do it. We can choose to approach the things in our life believing that we are enough.

When we believe who God says we are, we are no longer left striving to prove ourselves. We are free to do the things we want to do and let go of the things that never really mattered.

Becky believes in embracing grace in the messy real of life. At My Ink Dance, she captures hard, uncomfortable, often unspoken feelings and brings light, honesty and God’s truth to them in a relatable way. Becky is a wife and mother of three in Connecticut writing imperfect and finding faith along the way. Her new book, Worthy: Believe Who God Says You Are, is available on Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small percentage from sales made using affiliate links. Thanks so much!

Have you read my free ebook, 101 Ways to Simplify Your Life? Get it here!