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Since adding the second bundle of joy to our family last July, my word of the year has been, NO (and be patient. and be kind. which my two year old and I are working on together... but that's another blog...). I used to feel guilty for saying it. Now, I experience the freedom it brings! Some things are non-negotiable. Sleeping, eating, hygiene and being active in some way. For me, the list also includes making those things happen for my little ones, and fulfilling my responsibility to work 20 hours a week for my school district.

Some things seem non-negotiable, but actually are more fluid than you think, like job aspirations, activities with your family, hanging out with friends or volunteer commitments. READ: I am NOT saying don’t do any of those things, but I am saying use discretion in how much of each you commit to. Re-train your mind to consider the possibility that those areas could look different than they do currently.

My latest task prioritization (whew! Big word…) technique, is a form of the bullet journal method cycling around. It isn’t nearly as thorough as some are. But it works for me! I use one page to represent one month. I have a vertical list line by line of the things I need to complete each month. Then I use the margin to add 4 columns (one for each week of the month) of check boxes. The number of check boxes I create for each line depends on how often those things need to be completed.

My list includes priorities and tasks that are important for me to complete. I have everything from having a quiet time (for me that's spending time reading my Bible and in prayer each day. If I don't start with that, I am off all day!), to checking in with my closest friends, doing a couple of things out of the house with my girls (this could be just eating/playing a Chick-fil-a or going to the playground - it doesn't have to be anything major!), business goals, volunteer responsibilities, and household tasks. Some weeks, things don’t get done (see that last week, I didn't get a facebook post up for Music Therapy Joy?)! And life goes on. I also haven't had a date with my man this month yet! It's so easy to let time fly without getting one on one time with the ones you love! This list helps me remember (gotta get a lunch date in... Hey Doug, what does next Wednesday look like?). The list doesn’t include the non-negotiables I listed above (Sleeping, eating, hygiene, being active in some way and fulfilling 20 hours/week at my school district job).

Things I have to say no to? Posting more than one blog per month during the school year, weekly workdays at my church or at home to prep for our special needs ministry (that has shrunk to once a month now, too), and home projects (like staining my cedar flower beds and shutters) that often get bumped to the next month.

FINALLY, don’t compare. Social Media is not the thermometer of success. What works for someone, may not work for you. What works for ME may not work for you. Everyone else’s capacity and priorities are much different than yours. Comparison is the thief of JOY. When you set your priorities and your limits, especially with the help of trusted friends and family, you will be your best YOU. You don’t need to be the best SOMEBODY ELSE.

What is on your list? What can you take off of your list?

Give yourself a little more margin to EnJOY life!

<3 Patina Joy

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