Twice in my adulthood, I’ve felt like I’ve lost control of my life. My sleeping schedule didn’t have much consistency to it, my house was a mess, and my “health routine” left me feeling blah.
It was really beyond the “I’m young and still trying to figure out my life” stage of things. Yeah, this was full blown, “I’m a married woman who can’t seem to get a handle on… well, anything and I don’t know why.”
I think that was the worst part. The first time it happened, I didn’t know why or where to start or how to get my life in order.
Recently, I’ve been hearing from a lot of you that you feel this way too.
It’s like America somehow went from the picture perfect 50s and 60s to an era that left us all standing in the middle of chaos with no idea of how to get your life in order.
“Overwhelmed” has kind of become the norm and so I’ve decided to set out on a mission to change it because no one should ever be left feeling that way.
That first time I felt this way, was definitely the worst of the two times for me. When I started to feel this way the second time, I knew what to look for and what to do about it. Which is what I’m sharing with you today.
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Causes of the “My Life is in Shambles” Dilemma
Before I get into the bulk of this post, I want to specifically speak to you if you feel this way. I want you to know:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
YOU ARE NOT FAILING AS A PERSON OR A SIGNIFICANT OTHER OR A PARENT
I’ve heard from so many people who have been feeling like they don’t have a handle on life lately and I’m going to include myself in that too.
We all feel it to some varying degree at one point or another in life. I think that it is important to first identify the cause of your overwhelm.
Life is Different Now
If you think about it, life in this day and age is a little different than it was when your grandparents, and even your parents, were your age. Which can make it more difficult to find good applicable wisdom on current events.
I’m not saying that your parents and grandparents don’t have wisdom. What I am saying is that we do life differently than they did.
While the basic facts of wisdom for life haven’t changed, the fundamental aspects of it have. Which means it’s often hard to look to our elders for advice on how to handle the current pressure that society demands from the average person (more on that in a minute).
I personally think a big part of this is that most of us are really first generation daily life technology users.
My grandparents still use flip phones and have never turned a computer on. My parents were getting iPhones at the same time I was. I still remember the first time my dad ever sent a text message.
The way we do life and at the pace, we do it at, is new. Which means we’re still discovering new techniques for living it.
I can’t go to my grandparents, or my parents for that matter, to ask parenting advice on how they handled the issues that arise with letting a 2-year-old play video games on an iPad or what to do when a co-worker posts something about we don’t want to be announced on social media. They’ve never encountered it before and while I know they could give me practical advice, they can’t give me experienced advice.
So what we end up with, is a life that demands more and different things from us than past generations, with no real direction on how to handle it when it feels like life is out of control. Which leads to the next cause.
Poor Decision Making
Life is made up of two types of decisions; poor decisions and skillfully made decisions. I’m sure you’ve heard the “life is made up of decisions” thing before. I know I have but I never really took a moment to truly understand that phrase until recently.
Your life, as an adult, is literally decided by the decisions you make or allow someone else to make for you. I know that’s hard for some people to accept because by accepting that, we are accepting that if we are living a life we don’t like, that it is our own fault and no one ever wants to blame themselves but it is true.
Now, yes, there are outside factors that affect us, but as an adult, you decide how you are going to process and move on from things that happened in the past and that will happen in the future.
Even when outside uncontrollable factors arise, you decide how you will allow them to affect your life. Only you hold the power to allow those things to have any power over you and your life (but that’s a post for another day).
The fact of the matter is that living life well is a skill set. You can learn to live life skillfully. You can learn to skillfully make wise decisions.
In the same way that you can increase your knowledge on a subject or skill set on a hobby or job, you can learn to live life more skillfully. Which is really what this blog is all about.
Saying Yes to Too Many Things
We live in such a fast-paced instantaneous society that I think sometimes our perception of realistic time availability gets a little skewed.
Throw in the pressures that society adds to what is “expected” of you and you’re saying yes to the point of being overwhelming.
Natural Outside Factors
Life happens and sometimes there are things that we can’t control in the moment.
We’ve had a few moments really turn life upside down for a time. These type of situations can be the hardest to get back in order but it is possible.
Never Enough Time In A Day
Before I jump into my steps for getting a handle on life when it feels like it’s spiraling out of control, I want to talk about the topic of time so that we’re both on the same page.
It’s probably fair to say that you feel like a huge problem you have is a lack of time. There’s just never enough time in a day to get it all done.
Been there, said that. Trust me, I feel you.
Unfortunately, no matter how late we stay up, there are still the same amount of hours in a day, every day. So chances are high, that we just aren’t going to be able to get everything done that we wanted to, right?
Let’s just break down a typical routine day for the average person:
24 hours in each day
You work a full-time job so 8 hours at work plus commute time which according to this article by CNBC in early 2018, is an average of 26 minutes one-way, in America. (Source)
Roundtrip, you’re looking at 9 hours a day for work.
30 minutes for an at-home workout (more if you have to drive to the gym or have longer workouts)
Let’s say an hour a day in the bathroom, showering, getting ready for the day, getting ready for bed, bathroom breaks etc.
An hour making dinner and eating
7 hours (if you’re lucky) of sleep at night
We’re at 18 and a half hours in a day which leaves you with 5 and a half hours and we haven’t even discussed kids, cleaning, laundry, resting (what’s that?), exercise, or any of the other things that need to get done in a day.
Not Enough Money
How many times has this phrase run through our minds, come out of our mouths, or been a deciding factor in a decision we made?
I don’t even really feel the need to go very in-depth on why this can be one of the problems that make us feel like life is out of control. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory for most people.
What I will say though is that most people will overlook this factor and discount it as something that can’t change. They don’t bother to make changes in other areas because they feel that they have no power to change their finances in a meaningful way. Or that attempting to get out of debt or create a budget will make life miserable.
If that is you, I want to encourage you to not discredit yourself or your situation. At one point, we were living in the red every month going further and further into debt.
It didn’t seem like there was a way out but we managed to make changes and now close to getting rid of nearly 6 figures of debt.
Not Knowing Where to Start or How to Get Your Life in Order
The above causes and more can leave us feeling like things are spiraling like we can’t handle things the way we should be able to. As if it all means that we are somehow failing.
Furthermore, when you’re the one in the middle of it all you might feel like it’s everything just to barely keep it together day to day much less make leaps and bounds towards getting things in order.
After going through all these different causes, it’s completely fair to say that life can feel chaotic and overwhelming at times.
Here’s the good news, getting your life in order, doesn’t have to be difficult and it absolutely is possible!
If you are here and reading this, I’m going to guess it means you are ready for a change.
The question is “What do you do when you don’t know what to do or where to start?”
I’ve outlined the steps below! I also created a printable worksheet to help walk you through the analytical steps which you can grab from the resource library below!
Five Steps on How to Get Your Life in Order
1) Evaluate the Main Areas of Your Life
The idea behind this first step is pretty simple: you won’t know where to start until you know what your options are.
Here’s a breakdown of how I tend to categorize the main areas of life:
- Eating Habits, Exercise, and Affecting Lifestyle Choices.
- Income, Budgeting and Management Skills, Debt, and Mindset.
- Personal Development
- Self-Growth: Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual.
- Time and Productivity Management, Skillful Decision Making, and Setting Goals.
- Making Money, Work/Life Balance, Skill Set, and Advancement Ambitions.
- Family, Romantic, Work, and Friendships.
- Learning About Yourself, Introspective Growth, and Processing Old Griefs and Circumstances.
- Resting and Rejuvenating: Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, and Spiritually.
- Atmosphere, Physical Space, and Organization.
- Extracurricular Time
- Free-Time, Fun, Vacations, Hobbies, Volunteering, etc.
Thinking about each of these areas in your own life, consider how out of control they each feel on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being totally in control and 5 being totally out of control.
Want help with doing this? Grab the printable download “Where to Start” from my FREE resource library here!
2) Minimize and Prioritize
Once you have analyzed the main areas of your life and how disorganized they feel, it’s time to prioritize them.
Choose the four that would be the most life-changing for you (and your family) if they were in order right now.
Next, PICK THE TWO that have the biggest impact on your current circumstances.
These are your priority.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t do everything at once. No one can. If you try to do everything, you will never get all of it under control. Which is probably why you are in the current situation you are (at least it’s my big problem).
So, to get your life in order you’ll just want to start with one or two areas.
Once you start to get a handle on one area of your life, I promise you that other areas will start to follow much easier.
If you look at your life and think “finances are literally the biggest thing causing a problem for us right now”, then get the finances in order!
This is seriously how it works.
When you get your finances in order you can suddenly afford to do things like eating a little healthier. This means your health and energy and motivation increase. Which means you’re getting more things done around the house or with your family because you’re feeling better.
Better money management might mean you can hire someone to help clean your house or watch your kids. Resulting in more free time and lessens your stress.
Savings might mean you can pay cash for a much-needed vacation and rejuvenation.
As you can see, getting one area of life in order, has the potential to bring other areas into order much easier. It’s a ripple effect and it feels great!
Remember: Learn to Say “NO”
Prioritizing a couple of these main areas is going to mean that for the time being, you may need to learn to say no to others.
Obviously, this is going to be about personal judgment.
But, for example, you may need to say no to going out with friends for a bit if family relationships are your priority.
Or if you’re trying to get your health in order, you may need to say no to downtime watching tv and get a walk or a workout in instead.
3) Set goals
Now that you know what you want to prioritize, it’s time to set some goals to get there.
The best way to do this is to write down your ultimate goal and then your mini-goals (the small win moments) that will get you there.
A goal planner can really help you with this!
Check out the Slay Your Goals Planner by Nadalie over at its all you boo. This planner is 60+ pages of printable of form fillable goodness. It’s designed to help you write out and go after your biggest (or smallest) dreams in life.
Regardless of whether you use a planner or not, I highly recommend at least taking a few moments to sit down and write out exactly what you want to accomplish in the area of your life that you are currently going to prioritize.
In addition, I encourage you to write down WHY this is important to you. Sometimes when we’re in the middle of it, we forget why we’re doing it, and then we lose our motivation. So write it down now while you can!
RELATED POST: The Ultimate Setting Goals Guide to Unlock Your Dreams
4) Find simple, easy, time-saving productivity hacks
The fact of the matter is that you will never be able to get everything done and in order that you want to in a 24 hour period with the skills and knowledge that you have now.
If you could, you already would have.
This isn’t a dig or a bashing. It’s a fact of life and one that makes us totally human.
Thankfully, there are so many amazing books, blogs, and resources out there. Ones written by people who have probably done what you are trying to do.
I always figure, “why spend time figuring something out on your own, what you can learn from someone else’s mistakes and successes?”
So obviously, not every single resource you’re going to find will be accurate, right, or even relevant to this era. However, when you find the one on the topic that you are looking for, that fits your lifestyle, circumstances, and personality, you will know and it will be life-changing.
RELATED POSTS: Time Saving Productivity Tips to Accomplish More
5) Forgive Yourself and Keep Moving Forward
About a year after Josh and I got married, I had a bit of a break down one day. I was with a lady who was a bit older than me and she just listened as I proceeded to tell her about how hard I tried to make sure everything was perfect for Josh.
I told her about my attempts to be the perfect wife and about everything that I thought fell under that label.
The laundry, the home cooked meals, the clean house, etc. On and on I went until she finally looked at me and said “But why? That’s such unrealistic pressure to put on yourself.”
Maybe you already know this, but that moment was a true revelation for me.
None of us will ever be the perfect spouse, parent, or person. It’s not going to happen no matter how hard you try.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that the harder you try, the more you’ll fail at this.
I used to think that if I somehow just tried a little harder, then life would be a little better. But trying with my current knowledge was getting me nothing except more frustration.
It’s time to forgive yourself for not being perfect, for the decisions you’ve made that have gotten you where you are, and for the fact that you’ll never be perfect in the future.
It’s time to move on. You’ll never be perfect, but you can be better.
No matter how out of control your life may feel right now, you 100% can get things in order.
Sure, it might take some time. It’s not going to be an overnight thing. I mean, unless something drastic happened, you didn’t get yourself into this sort of chaos and overwhelm in a day. It’s going to take more than a day to get yourself out of it.
But you can do it and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there.
If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to start today! Don’t wait until Monday (unless today is Monday) to start what you could do today.
I promise you that if you start today and stick with it, that it will change your life and be totally worth it. I know because it has been for me.
Just remember: don’t overthink all this. Just go with what feels the most natural.
Instead of trying to get everything done, focus on what is the most important. Once you get a handle on it, then add the next most important thing and don’t be surprised if it looks different for different seasons of life.
Roll with the punches, flow with the changes, and keep moving forward!
What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to life getting out of control? Tell me about it in the comment box below!