Q. I’m always running around frantically handling dozens of things at once. Everything is chaos – the kids all need to be somewhere, taking care of the house and husband, building my business, staying in touch with people. I feel like I never get a moment to myself, never have the time for all the projects I’ve thought up — I can’t even ever fit in a good night’s sleep! How can I calm this storm enough to take better care of myself? ~ENFP
A. It sounds like your dominant Ne (creative impulse) is running the show and not not accepting help from your other functions! Ne loves a challenge — the more chaos the better! She’s a bit like a crazed Jack Russell Terrier racing around the yard, stopping momentarily to play with everything — the garden, the sprinkler, the kids, the toys.
You could use some of your other functions to create better balance in your life!
First, tap into your Fi (values) to remind yourself of what you most value. You value your family, the kids and your spouse, you value the independence your business brings you, your friends, and your own life and happiness. Now hone in a bit deeper, and ask yourself how you can best honor each of the things and people you most value. Pick out just one or two things to bump to the top of the list. Like setting a good example for the kids and inspiring them by enrolling them in activities.
And what goes at the bottom of your list? Perhaps, enrolling the kids in so much activity, that the only interaction they have with you is frenzied and hassled? Now you are tapping into your Si (groundedness) – the presentation matters. It’s not enough to keep the kids busy. The activities must be meaningful, character building, and relationship building — and hopefully your kids are enjoying them! Take a deep breath. Tune inward and feel the messages your body sends you as you consider all the many things you do in the day. Are there activities that really don’t honor your values that can be trimmed out?
Try thinking this through for each person and event in your life that matter most to you. Take some notes. Put a star next those top activities that you want to keep in your life, and cross out the ones that are not furthering your innermost cherished values. Don’t worry about all the millions of activities between those extremes. The more time you create in your life, the more of those you’ll be able to fit in.
Now tap into your Te (organizational capabilities — yes, you have those!). How can you arrange the top things on the list so that you are doing them in the most efficient manner and order to save time? Perhaps it would be helpful to create an online family calendar, that everyone can access easily and often? If you know where everyone needs to be and when, it’s much easier to coordinate events.
When you are creating your schedule, you must absolutely schedule in time for yourself. You know that if you do not, you will fill all your time doing things for others! But you cannot fill the cups of others if your own teapot is empty. If it seems daunting, start small. Two half hour slots a day — just for you… even if all you do during that time is breathe, you will begin to feel calmer and more relaxed.
The more you organize, the more you time you will find that you have. For example, suppose you invest a small amount of upfront time developing a system for preparing each of the daily meals. Your Te will love coming up with strategy, and will engage your Ne to make the system creative and fun — perhaps involving the kids in the game as well! Then you can allow your Si to turn this system into a habitual routine — like brushing your teeth — you always find time for that!
Suddenly, all the time you wasted turning in circles of confusion around meal times will be yours to do… whatever you want with!!
Do the same thing in every area that causes you chaos. Suppose it’s always a disaster finding everything the children need to take to school? What if you put a basket for each child near the door and train everyone to put all school related things always in the school basket? The house always looks like a tornado hit? Perhaps you can pare down the amount of stuff you keep? If you take a good look around, do you really need to keep it all to clutter your life? It can be so relieving to get rid of things.
Don’t hesitate to get help with this process! Te is third in your function family, so seek out friends who have Te higher in their stack. They will LOVE to help you order your life, believe me, their Te is itching to do so already — you’ll be doing them a favor by asking them for the help. 😉
The key for you is “organize and habitualize.” Every part of your life you apply this key to, will open up more time for you to use your creativity doing what matters most to you.