Do you have too much to do…or is that a silly question? It seems to be a curse of the modern age that we are bound to hurtle through life struggling to cram more and more in to our hectic days, and with Christmas fast approaching, the pressure to “get everything done” just intensifies. But does it REALLY have to be like that?

A few months ago I was forced to stop and ask myself that very question. Things were busy… very busy. I was juggling too many plates. With one hand I was keeping on top of things for my associates, with the other I was keeping clients happy, and it must have been my feet that were keeping things rolling in the family department. And still the “to do” list grew and the demands kept flying at me from all directions. I was, in a word, overwhelmed. And here’s why: I was OVERLOADED!

Which brings me on to my washing machine. No, I haven’t been at the gin; this is a pertinent point, so bear with me! You see, whilst I was in the midst of all this non-stop action frenzy, my washing machine took a bit of a battering too. It was, I admit, mistreated: I’d cram it with washing, slam the door and carelessly punch its buttons before racing on to the next thing. It was overloaded, bashed about and run down. I began to feel the same. I read about new washing machines that have a door that enables you to add stuff to the cycle even when it’s already washing, and I realised that that was what I was doing to myself….putting more and more in but not taking anything out.  Endlessly spinning, full to capacity and still opening  my “extra door” to more work, more commitments, more stress. Saying yes to those additional demands, taking on the stray socks mid-cycle.

And then, in that uncanny way that the universe has of showing us what we need to know, my washing machine broke. Kaput. Nothing happening, lights off, no one at home. And I saw my own fate in that burnt-out, malfunctioning over-used and taken-for-granted appliance. All at once I knew that I would break too if I didn’t take some of the pressure off.

I wrote in my last post about my “whys” and how I would love to tell the Jo starting out on her business venture to always remember that getting the right life blend and enjoying quality family time is the real crux of it all. The broken washing machine was my wake-up call; my life blend was in a twist. I’d mixed my darks in with my whites, had ignored the care instructions and crammed too much into the drum. Something had to give. It was time to stop, take stock, simplify and let go.

The fact is that we ‘can do anything’ but ‘can’t do everything’, and we spend far too much time trying to. We beat ourselves up for not coping, not being on top of it all. We rush towards December, frantic with feelings of guilt and disappointment that we didn’t achieve what we set out to do at the start of the year. Is this FAIR? Is this the example we want to set for future generations – that we’re not good enough, that we are failing… that overload is the norm?

I don’t think so. And I’m happy and proud to say that I recognised that I was going the same way as my overloaded washing machine before I joined it in the pile of broken things.

So what did I do I hear you say? Well I discarded the things that were no longer a good “fit” for me, my business or my vision. I handed the right things over to the right people (my poor daughter got stuck with the washing), and I put away things that could wait.

I’m truly blessed to be surrounded by a wonderfully supportive and capable network of women, and reaching out and delegating to them not only keeps me sane but also allows my business to thrive and flourish.  Thankfully -with the support of those around me, I was able to put the brakes on MY cycle before my life spun out of control.

When all is said and done, even a super-sized washing machine has a maximum capacity, and so do you. Feeling like you’re in a constant spin cycle and bursting at the seams is a sure sign that it’s time to stop and look at what you’re trying to cram in. Instead of taking more on, struggling to squash more and more into your drum, think about letting go for a change! Look at who’s around you and see what you can hand over.  Make space for the things that are really important in your life and take the pressure off yourself. The fact is that you can’t fit everything in: it’s not possibly, mentally, physically or emotionally, so give yourself a break. Let go, disentangle, sort out and simplify.  There’s light at the bottom of the laundry basket…and it feels good!

We’ve all been there and sometimes just knowing there is somewhere to turn can make all the difference, if you want to share your ‘washing machine’ drama with us, just call Joanne today on 07928 228764