I hate to say that my life is defined by a lie, but some days it kinda is.
The lie that it if I accomplish enough, if I get every little thing done and read the kids a million books and grocery shop and clean out the car and eat so crazy healthy and exercise and have a post go viral–something magical will happen. Happiness, perhaps. Not quite sure.
It’s a frantic terrible mess, living a life ruled by this lie. The lie of productivity.
I make these lists and run around and yell and plan and fret and do do do. Yet the lists never get all the way done before I am making another. The day is too short, the kids too needy, the house too cluttered and my energy too limited. And so, even though I tried really hard and we did do many things, it just doesn’t seem to have been enough.
It never seems to be enough.
Somewhere we know that it is foolish to believe that if we are simply productive enough we will be happy. Stepping out of the frenzy I can see that there is only one person keeping track of all that is done or undone: me. No one else is measuring my success and ultimate worth by what I do. But I just can’t seem to stop all of the doing.
I’m not the only one obsessed with productivity. Google it–I dare you. The sheer number of tips and tricks to increase productivity is enough to send anyone into a paralyzing anxiety attack. We are all trying to do do do, clinging with white knuckles to the idea that if I do more than I am more.
And that, my friend, is the seed of this lie, isn’t it: that doing somehow equals being.
The truth is that all of this do do doing is the balm we hope will sooth the aching question deep in our guts that we don’t dare look in the face:
“Am I enough?”
Am I enough for my children? Well, I’m not sure…perhaps if we watched less TV and I feed them better food, and was on my phone less….
Am I enough for my spouse? Well, I think so…but I really should be less crabby when he gets home in the evening…
Am I enough for myself? I’m just trying to survive…I’ll worry about me later…
Am I enough for my God? Don’t know. We haven’t talked much recently…
And no matter how much we accomplish, living while questioning if we are really enough–well that’s not really living at all.
We aren’t called to prove every single day that we are enough. We are called to live boldly simply knowing THAT WE ARE.
Easier said than done. I know.
So today I’m joining the legions of people out there spouting productivity advice and not because I’m an expert. Nope, I hope you know by now that the struggle I face every day around here is REAL–and at least once a week lock myself in the bathroom to cry while little people bang on the door. I fail regularly, but I have decided something that I am working to embrace:
It’s not about HOW MUCH I get done. It’s about WHAT I get done.
As I’ve shared before, I am an obsessive list maker. Every day I make a list of things I need to accomplish. Everyday. But, for the most part my lists were random and scribbled on a loose piece of paper. I finish writing my list and pick a haphazard place to start. Some days I complete everything and others I loose my list shortly after making it. But even when I was able to come back and cross off that last item on the list, I didn’t feel as satisfied as I’d thought I’d feel.
Sure, productivity carries with it a natural high, but I never reached that level of completeness I craved…
Turns out happiness doesn’t lie at the end of a to-so list.
Because here’s the thing. Although I was getting a lot done, I wasn’t getting the right things done. My prayer, when I got to it, came after I had picked up the house and met the needs of my kids and scrolled Facebook and put in a load of laundry. I thought about my health and happiness, um, never and my husband was lucky if he got a half smile as he walked through the door in the evening.
My priorities were out of wack–and as a result so was my whole life.
For the past few months I’ve been working on an overhaul of my life. I’ve been thrilled to see almost 1,000 Catholic moms go through the Reclaim the Day! email course. Thank you for sharing your ah-ha moments with me–each and every one of them has challenged and touched me. But, after the course is over, how do we live this? How do we avoid being pulled down into the mania of doing?
How do we put God first and get back to taking good care of ourselves?
Here’s how I’m doing it–by putting things in the RIGHT ORDER with this DAILY DOCKET FOR CATHOLIC MOMS. I’m not exaggerating when I say that using this simple sheet each and every day has changed everything for me.
Take a look:
If you’d like to use this daily docket, I’d be happy to send it to you free. Simply enter your email below and the PDF will be delivered to your inbox in both the full page and half page format:
This daily docket show exactly how I have started to organize my day. I work from the top down.
First off, prayer. I read the Gospel reading each morning in the Magnificat, reflect on it, practice a little lectio divina and write one or two verses with a thought at the top of the daily docket. It is how I start my day, and with this daily docket, it is what I try to carry with me through the rest of the day.
Next, it’s time to take care of me. I am seriously addicted to sugar and not a naturally active person. If I’m going to do better I have to write it down each day–as well as a few things that will make me happy.
And then my husband. At first this step felt silly–can’t he take care of himself? Why should I do something special for him every day? But once I got into the habit of thinking of one reason why I loved him and actually writing it down–and then translating that into an action through which I could show him my love–I grew to appreciate my husband a little more each day. Seriously, try it.
After my husband, it’s the kids. Life can be a drag when mom is just cleaning and cooking all day so I really try to write down something here that will be fun to do together. Some days we build Legos. Other days we ride bikes around the block or play with playdough. No super mom stuff here. Just basic stuff I can do, and will be glad that I did–even if the laundry doesn’t get folded.
And then the house. After I started using this daily docket I realized that most of the IMPORTANT stuff never made it onto my old lists! Before, when I was just jotting random things down, I would list the things I wanted to get done around the house and a few things I hoped to get to with the blog. That’s it. I know I need to get things done around the house in order to have a clean, healthy, happy home, but I like to work on things in the proper order, and I feel that this Daily Docket for Catholic Moms helps me do that.
The final box is for one way we can serve our community…because we all need a little more than just the jabber of kids.
And there you have it–my very humble attempt, yet again, to grab hold of my own life and live a little bit better. I still struggle, I still drag my feet to prayer and get lost in a list of to do’s, but I’m trying.
And since, I am certain, Satan views me as some seriously low hanging fruit, I have decided to throw a bunch of these daily dockets into a little book and print them up (lulu.com, my new favorite site, does it real cheap) because as soon as my binder runs out of these sheets, I know I will forget to print more…and pretty soon all of these good habits will be over.
If you would like a copy of these daily dockets–it’s just a simple paperback with 100 pages of daily dockets–you can purchase one here for $10, plus shipping. That’s basically just the cost of printing. These daily dockets are a game-changer.
I’m trying to boldly believe that what I accomplish has nothing to do with what I am. I am enough, already, done or undone, and so are you.
And that is the truth.
Thanks for being here,
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