This Much I Know- On Anxiety And Organization (and also a giveaway)

Something has changed in the last month. Well, lots of somethings, actually.

The sun is shining, it’s warm, the house is full of glorious light, house projects are finally getting finished (only to start new ones, oh well), and I’m slowly digging myself out of the hell of anxiety that I’ve been living in for the last 9 months.

Life is not so overwhelming. Priorities are not so fuzzy. Impending doom is not so present.

That’s not to say I’m cured. I’m just coping.

And this much I know has helped:

Order, Control, Release

(click through from my home page to read more about how I’m coping and what I’m giving away)

The latter is really key. I’ve had to release myself from the guilt that comes from saying no, not answering all the emails or replying to all the tweets, not pushing myself harder when it comes to this blog or proposals for new projects or that book I’m still working on.

A big lightbulb moment was hearing Jon Acuff (author of the book Quitter, and one of the most amazing speakers I’ve ever heard) tell us at the Blissdom opening keynote that we need to make a list of people we’re okay with disappointing.

I am not okay with disappointing my husband or my kids.

I am okay with disappointing judgmental strangers.  

I am okay with disappointing my readers and my Twitter followers. I don’t want to, but I’m okay with that.

(I’m so sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth I needed to speak to myself to put my priorities in order.)

The other two, order and control, are slowly coming to me. I know, truly know, that when my house is out of order, when my inbox is a nightmare, when my calendar and to-do list live in my cloudy and stressed head, that I am setting myself up for anxiety.

I know that when I wait to react to something instead of taking the reigns and being proactive about it, I am setting myself up for anxiety.

That much I KNOW. 

Now, knowing and doing are two completely different things. I wish I could tell you that I obviously have it all figured out, and that I’ve taken all the steps needed to correct the situation and move forward with more order and control.

I can’t. But I’m working on it. I’m always working on it. I think it’s a work that will never be complete.

For now, though, for just today and each day after, one day at a time, I can de-clutter my life. I simplify things. I can write things down.

And I can forgive myself if they never get checked off.

I’m on the momAgenda Council of Media Moms again this year. It’s an odd partnership to me sometimes- me, very open about how totally unorganized I can be most of the time, them, in the business of catering to the very organized, or those who strive to be.

But, I also think it’s a perfect fit in that if I can write these tasks and appointments and important notes down on a momAgenda and get some peace from that simple act, anyone can. That’s the reason why I feel like this partnership is a truly genuine one.

The BEST Mothers Day present only I can give to myself is the gift of order, control and release. I want to help you give that to yourself, too. momAgenda just hooked me up with a new planner for the next year, and they wanted me to share one with one of you all, too.  And maybe it will help you be even more organized than you already are… or maybe it will simply help relieve you of the stress of all the chaos that lives in your head by simply giving you a place to let it out. Either way, I know you’ll love it.

Happy Early Mothers Day!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Robbie - I make lists and have an old school big calender that I carry around. I also have a notebook called the IMPORTANT NOTEBOOK b/c I write down everything important in there…and then I lose it or don’t read it or get my days mixed up.ReplyCancel

  • Caryn - Dood, I so need an agenda. My myriad of Google Cals on my iPhone are really not cutting it! Between full-time work, my family, and trying to lose weight, every minute of the day is precious!ReplyCancel

  • Brandy - I rely on as much help as I can get to tame the chaos. I am happy to have a supportive and slightly OCD husband :)ReplyCancel

  • sabrina - i am a list maker & everything goes on a calendar. i would fall apart without either! would LOVE to win one of these!!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - Um, pretty much I don’t. I’m you nine months ago. :(ReplyCancel

  • Abbey - I clean *something* during commercials. 2 min intervals of cleaning helps keep the messy chaos at bay, and its easier to be motivated to clean for 2 min vs the entire task.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - I totally need an agenda!! I am constantly scheduling between my family, work and trying to fit in time with friends I feel like I’m always scheduling on my huge calendar that doesn’t fit in my purse!ReplyCancel

  • Nicci @ Changing the Universe - oh lordy, I need one of these! It’s hard enough balancing work, then add a kiddo, a husband with concerning “memory lapses” and grad school and it’s enough to debilitate ANYONE!ReplyCancel

  • angela - I love a great planner. Especially one that’s so pretty…ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I am great at making plans and lists… not always as great about actually checking things off the lists, though! I have my good days and not-so-good days.ReplyCancel

  • Leah - I’ve had to learn to disappoint people too. This idea that I should be (or even can be) responsible for everything is a myth that makes me crazy. But, what I can be responsible for needs some help getting organized. I’m always excited about a new organizer – just like I’m excited for school supplies every fall! I’m gonna check out these planners – hoping I win one!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I keep trying new ways to balance the chaos. I’ve tried digital calendars, task list software, post it notes, calendars, you name it.

    I think the biggest thing I need is a better system.ReplyCancel

  • pianofingers - I use packs and packs of sticky notes. Lots and lots of lists. And I tell my entire schedule to my fiance every day to sort out in my head exactly what has to get done! :)ReplyCancel

  • meekasmommy - I could totally use a planner… instead of the random scraps of paper I tend to be using now!ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - Just like eating an elephant; one piece at a time. Instead of looking at all of the things that I haven’t gotten done, I try to focus on all of the things that I have accomplished.ReplyCancel

  • Tilly - Easy! I don’t. If I get to the pile of laundry today then, awesome. If I don’t? Then it’ll wait til tomorrow. Maybe this agenda will help keep my chaos slightly less chaos-y? :)ReplyCancel

  • kim - Tidying my desk, making sure all emails are read, even if not responded to.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen @ Bringing Up Bronwyn - I take it one step at a time, otherwise I get overwhelmed.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea - The key to managing my chaos is synchronizing my calendars – like my work calendar, personal calendar, kid/husband calendar. Then I make lots of lists – to do lists, grocery lists, what to pack before I move lists. Sounds like a momAgenda calendar would be the perfect place to keep that in check! :)ReplyCancel

  • sarah r. - pretty planner!ReplyCancel

  • Savannah - I try to keep a running to-do list, and I don’t let myself get too worked up about cleaning until Friday, I spend Friday afternoon cleaning, and then I have a clean room/apartment for the rest of the weekend until the next Friday.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - I am a huge list maker. I don’t like the idea of having lists lying around, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE crossing something off my list. I even put “Make a List” on my list just so I can cross through it! Weird, I know.ReplyCancel

  • Helena - I am fortunate enough (really, really lucky!) to have a friend who helps out two days a week, otherwise I’m not sure how I would keep up with my one year old son and my madcap genius husband. None of us are particularly tidy, ahem.ReplyCancel

  • Tobasco - I’m glad to hear that you’re starting to feel better. I had anxiety with my first, and sometime around 15 months it was like I could literally feel the fog clearing out of my head. I’m still not the freakishly calm person I was before, but I have a much easier time deciphering what is and isn’t an emergency. Here’s to your continued progress towards normalcy :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Hege - I manage the chaos by trying to take a shower before anyone gets up in the morning. Start my day off with 10 (or 15 minutes if I am so lucky) to myself without anyone asking me for anything just yet.ReplyCancel

  • Shawnna - So happy to hear you are on the road to feeling better!! I’m on also on the road, just wish I could drive faster.ReplyCancel

  • Jillian Jackson - I toss a load of dishes in before I go to bed, and a load if laundry. I use nap times to work on homework and my business. I tend to put a lot on my plate at once. If I know I have a lot of work to do I set a timer and work on each thing for 30 mins to an hour, that way i feel a sense of accomplishment.ReplyCancel

  • Raine - I’m still working on it. I’ve found that I work best from plans and lists, but I have to make my own or adapt other systems so they work for me – I tired just copying other people’s lists/routines for a while and that didn’t work. My best thing is having certain stuff that’s “must do” and not worrying if I can’t get to some of the others.ReplyCancel

  • Kendal Barriere - I live using Google calendar to keep organized. It connects with my phone and I can have my husband’s calendar appear as well so that we stay organized as a family as well.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife - I’m big on lists. I have lists of my lists. We’re taking a long weekend getaway and I have yet to write my packing list which is making me twitchy.ReplyCancel

  • Ali - How do I cope? Besides regular therapy and allowing my brain to decay watching reality TV, I have found that admitting I have severe anxiety regarding my life’s chaos actually-sorta-kinda-really mutes it all. I think part of the chaos and anxiety stems from pushing it away, and pretending it doesn’t exist. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge, right? I also try to compartmentalize the chaos: give myself achievable goals, and tell someone else about it to have a sort of accountability. Finally, I try to streamline and simplify. I have had calendars and to do lists on my outlook, iPhone, computer, sticky notes plastered to everything, including the children’s backs…and am committed to reducing it to 1 work task list and 1 personal task list. And what better what to get started than with a “purdy” new planner?

    Love the blog.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - I do what the bare minimum is: getting diapers washed, when the ‘crunch’ level on the floor gets horrible, I sweep in the dining room where the 3 year old eats, and I vacuum when I can see large crumbs in the living room tracked in from the dining room/kitchen. I run the dishwasher as soon as it is full and try and keep the dishes up as well as I can. We have a lot of clothes, so I can delay laundry for almost everyone but me, and I tend to just do 3 or 4 loads and get it all done at once, and then fold as needed or as I have time.

    with 2 kids at home and basically zero input (other than holding the kids) from my husband, I just have to prioritize what is really important: the things that smell or are health hazards like diapers or trash, and the things that are a big nuisance. The rest waits until heaven shines down from above several days in a row and I manage to catch up on a little bit of sleep and then I sneak in a chore a day, like wiping down the countertops or something like that.

    I do a big clean when we have company coming and I try and get the mail gone through and recycled/dealt with every day. other than that? good freaking luck. my house can be clean/organized when my kids are in school all day.ReplyCancel

  • Laura - I love making lists..crossing something off when I’m done makes me so happy!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - Thanks for the give away- nothing makes me happier than making and crossing off to-do lists :)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - I am still trying to figure out the *best* methods for us. Maybe an agenda would help?ReplyCancel

  • Kristi P - I rely a lot on the calendar and notes in my iphone. I really want a pretty planner though.ReplyCancel

  • Meghan - I’m not that organized, but for appointments I use my iPhone, because I can send my husband invites and we can try and coordinate. And I just dug myself out from under a horrific mountain of laundry (it took a steady week of constant washing and drying and putting away) so I now make myself do laundry every single day. What I feel I am missing is a command center for myself. I think the momagenda could be that.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - write lists!ReplyCancel

  • Delilah - I too am striving for organization to help reduce some of my anxiety. I’m working on doing things immediately instead of putting them off and letting them lurk in the back of my mind!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - Post its! Obsessive list making. That is my only defense against chaos! lolReplyCancel

  • Aimee - I make to do lists. I break every big task into little tiny ones.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cross out completed tasks and because I break everything up into such little tasks I feel like I’m getting a lot accomplished!ReplyCancel

  • Jenn - I do what I can. ;) I try to tackle things as they come along, but sometimes laundry does pile up, the shower doesn’t get cleaned, and I forget to do that load of diaper laundry until we’re down to the very. last. diaper. ;)ReplyCancel

  • karie - I make a mental list in the morning before I pull myself from the bed and then I tell the kids what it is over breakfast. If it all gets done great! If not, I know which items need to top my list the next day. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Karen A. - Lists. Lots and lots of lists.ReplyCancel

  • Erin - I pretty much put everything in my iphone that I need to remember. The problem is that I forget to check it :/ReplyCancel

  • Kami - I’m a planner girl! I’ve been eyeing momagenda for quite some time now!ReplyCancel

  • Suz - I make lists. Then blog or email them to hold myself accountable. Next year, with two babies, I’m going to need all the agendas & help I can get!!ReplyCancel

  • Corinne Reese - I love this!! I am so unorganized, but I crave it!!ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Lists, lists, and more lists! Oh how my husband LOVES my lists! :o)ReplyCancel

  • New to Mom - I manage with calendars..lol. I have them all over the place. I have two calendars at work, my email and my momAgenda for home/Pampered Chef.ReplyCancel

  • Lizzy - I wish they had a droid app! Just starting to learn the nuances of a smartphone…a mom agenda calendar would be the perfect app!ReplyCancel

  • Janine @ Alternative Housewife - I manage chaos buy just hitting it all at once, and often. Every few days at most (usually every day or every other day) I just run around the apartment cleaning everything in sight. The toddler likes to help me, vacuuming with me (either with his toy vac or walking in front of me precariously, just inches from getting his heels bumped), wiping things down, throwing things into bins. Sometimes he makes messes as fast as I can clean them but usually my excitement about cleaning is contagious and he’d rather stick by me. It’s a lot harder when you let it go for days, and just getting it done takes less than an hour and is a major energy/mood boost.ReplyCancel

  • Kari - I try to plan ahead for things and actually, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just learned to “go with the flow”.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle R - I’m constantly behind on my chaos. I like the “who I can/cannot dissapoint” technique though!ReplyCancel

  • Krista - I’m not a great planner at home. At work I use lists, but at home… yeah… I pretty much go with the flow and have lots of unstructured mommy time after the kids are asleep!ReplyCancel

  • Becca Lynn - I am so completely disorganized. I am a full-time employee, a mom, a student, a horrible housekeeper, and a girlfriend. Some days I’m so crippled by everything that I have to do, the most I can do is just sit there and not think about it. Those days are the particularly bad ones.

    Some days, I tackle everything I have to do, and maybe even get some of it done! My life, as well as myself, is a work in progress! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Michelle F - I manage chaos by regrouping and prioritizing what needs to be done and tackling it one item at a time.ReplyCancel

  • Robin - I manage chaos also by writing things down. I make a list of to do for the day. I also keep a calendar on my fridge with everything we have to do on it. I have 3 kids and they are starting to get more involved in things so we are always on the go. Sometimes I’m able to check everything off the list. Sometimes I have to add those same things to the next day’s list. But I’m working on it!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - i can completely relate to you on this! it seems like if my desk at work gets cluttered, i struggle with everything else and it carries over to home. Or vice versa, making one big cycle of chaos and disorder. i swear, before baby i had my sh!t together. (well, mostly,) and now, i struggle to have any sense of order.ReplyCancel

  • Tara C - I’m so glad that you are feeling better.ReplyCancel

  • Deanna - How do I manage chaos in mynlife? I don’t. Hehehe

    With a 2 year-old, a new business and another kiddo on the way I need to get a grip on organizing my life, hence why I’m entering the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Brandi - I manage chaos by living by the mantra of Dory from Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming!” Eventually you’ll work your way through everything.ReplyCancel

  • Teresa - I’ve been so bad about writing things down lately, even though I know how much it helps clear the clutter in my mind.ReplyCancel

  • Kelli G - Scheduling and organizing have helped me immensely since dealing with my PPD/PPA after having my twins. Lists, lists, lists are the only way I survive.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Lists. Lots of lists.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I have an Erin Condren planner that’s just okay. I also keep some things in my iPhone and my work calendar. I’m kind of a mess.ReplyCancel

  • ashley - i’m still trying to figure out how to be more organized and more balanced. i kinda miss having an actual calendar/planner… i’ve been using my phone so long now though!ReplyCancel

  • What we’re reading « Sisters in blogging - [...] * This post from Baby Rabies: This Much I Know- On Anxiety And Organization. Wow. Jill’s post hits home [...]ReplyCancel

  • Denise L - To put it bluntly, I don’t.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey Carleton - Reality tv, lol.ReplyCancel

  • Cassie S - The only way I can stay organized is to make a list. Usually I have several going at once. And now that I’m a full time stay at home mom, I have had to start writing things on a paper calendar. So a planner would be lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy / The UnCoordinated Mommy - So far…… by trying to make sure I get a nap. Everything is easier to deal with when I’ve taken a nap. Unfortunately that doesn’t always help. Currently looking for a way to keep organized though so this would be awesome!ReplyCancel

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