How To Avoid Being "The Monday Lisa"
My kids can tell you they spent their formidable years waiting at the kitchen table for me to chauffeur them to school, clad in my best Brooks Brothers working mom attire, trying to pretend I knew how to keep it all together and never let them see me sweat. I’d race down the stairs praying no one would need anything else from me as we had exactly 7 minutes to get to school before the bell. Most days, I was successful, but totally drained as a result of not knowing how to prioritize my week and in those days, afraid to admit maybe some days I wasn’t able to handle it all.
Fast-forward to a me who is keenly aware of how much is too much. I have adopted a few simple rules for myself to keep my week in balance:
1) Start off the week with the most important meeting—the one I have with myself. Truth. If you look at my Outlook calendar, every Monday from 7-8am, I have time blocked to “ORGANIZE LAUREN”. I take inventory of everything and everyone who needs my attention that week and those that don’t. Family and Work—yes. Volunteering on every committee that comes my way—no. I make sure I put in my calendar time to check in with my college girls, pay bills, catch up with friends, run errands. I actually block time to take care of these things so I can REMEMBER to do them. It seems so simple, but for years these tasks crept up on me and snowballed and I found myself playing catchup all the time. Now, I get a sense of accomplishment when I check things off of my weekly list.
2) Workout. For me, this is so important. Not only do I not have time to shop for new clothes if I don’t stay in shape, but I have found that I sleep better and am much happier when I break a sweat 5x a week. Bonus: Since prioritizing my workout, my resting heart rate decreased 22 beats per minute. Amazing benefit to my overall health and well-being in one year.
3) Admit when I can’t do it all. This is a HUGE step in the right direction. I get invited to a ton of networking and social engagements. I love that stuff so please keep inviting me! I am getting much better at saying no when some higher priority item will suffer if I attend. Maybe it’s taking precious time away from my family, or my much-needed workout. Whatever it is, I have found that when I do attend, it’s because I really want to be there. My attitude shows it and the people I interact with get my full attention.
4) Allow myself to fail. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” So here is my advice: Allow your week to adapt to what is working and what is not. Use your Monday check-in, or whenever you have your meeting with yourself, to evaluate how you work best. There is no one answer, but over time successful habits will rise to the top if you allow them to develop.
I’ve found that all of the above brings tremendous FOCUS to every aspect of my life. When I am engaged, I am engaged 100%. There is a family-famous instance of me driving down York Road with cupcakes flying off my roof because I was too frazzled to remember to put them in the car! Please don’t tell anyone if you see any pink icing in the bushes.