Being busy is either a badge of honor or something that is seen as really negative in our culture today. Like if you don’t have a ton of whitespace on your calendar you are focused on the wrong things and you are too busy to really enjoy your life. Or some people won’t even say the word busy or I hear them say they don’t really like the word busy. I think that both ends of the spectrum and both views are pretty incorrect. I think there is a middle ground. The key is finding systems and rhythms that will help you in whatever place you are at and whatever season you are in. It is finding balance and simplifying your rhythms so you can enjoy the people in your home and run your life well so that it’s not running you!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
The difference between being overwhelmed by busy and staying balanced in the busy.
How creating rhythms creates will bring enjoyment back into your home.
The value of systems + rhythms in a busy life.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey sweet friends! Welcome to Episode 20 of The Purpose Show! In this episode, I am going to have a real casual discussion. I really want this to be a relaxed, casual discussion about balance and simplicity when you are a busy family.
Busyness is something that I have thought a lot about in the last year or so. It has been a part of my thinking process. I have noticed how people use the word and react to the word. I see a couple of different things with the word busy.
First of all, I see that people use it as this badge of honor. People say that they are busy in a way and with a tone that says, “I am just so busy!” It’s this thing that we say as an excuse or reason that we can’t do something. Or maybe that we are justifying not doing something. I noticed it used as “they’re not busy, I am busy so that is why I am not doing this” or “yeah, I would do that too if I weren’t so busy.”
I also notice that there has become this trend of real negativity around the word busy. On the one hand, it is this badge of honor and valor as a mom that you are so busy and then swinging on the other side, I also notice that it is very negative. Some people won’t even say the word busy or I hear them say they don’t really like the word busy. They don’t like to use it. But what else are you going to use?
I kind of get it. I always like to say, “ours is a very full life” because busy kind of implies that you’re not aware of other things that are maybe more important than your schedule, running around with your head cut off.
But there’s this other way where it is very negative. I see it a lot in my niche. The minimalist community. It’s a very negative word. “You shouldn’t be so busy.” “Relax, calm down, stop filling your schedule.” I think that I maybe bought into that a couple of years ago. Maybe I would buy into it if my kids were younger or if my life was a bit different?
Really, in the last year or so, I have shifted my perspective with busyness. Because I am busy. My life became very busy. It is busy in different ways, which I will dive into in regards to the contrast between our old life, which was busy but definitely more “free” busy and up-to-us busy, and the transition that we made last year that had us more traditionally busy with school, sports and things like that. Where we have landed now with our family, which seems to be the “sweet spot” for our family.
I will share some things that helped me find balance and simplicity in the midst of those different seasons.
Right now, our kids are still pretty little – our oldest just turned nine at the time of this recording. We own our own business. I am CEO and I run everything. We have an amazing team in place that handles most of the back end work for me. I really only do the things that I am passionate about, that I love doing, and that need to be done by me like recording this podcast, recording live streams, and connecting with the women in my audience. Things that need to be from me.
Things are pretty relaxed, but they are busy. I have four kids. They are getting a bit older to where they have interest in things. There’s art classes. Baseball practice. Guitar lessons. Everyone is finding their footing and discovering who they are. It has just become busier.
We are now homeschooling. Homeschooling a 3rd grader is a lot different than homeschooling a 1st grader. It’s just fuller. There’s a lot more teach. It is more important that they get a bit more on track with things. Everything gets a little bit more “legit”.
Things just get busy. I feel like what else can I do? Tell my kids, “that’s great that you are interested in baseball, but it puts something else on our schedule so we are not going to do it because we don’t believe in being busy”? My sons love baseball so much. I love baseball. It’s my favorite sport. I played my entire life. Brian played for a really big chunk too. We just love it. It’s something that we love. The kids are interested in it.
We are happy to sign them up, although the baseball league maybe has different priorities than we do. They are little psycho and it’s a crazy schedule. But that’s OK. We make it a part of our life and we enjoy this season.
I don’t think that busy-ness needs to be either a badge of honor or something that is seen as really negative. Like if you don’t have a ton of whitespace on your calendar you are focused on the wrong things and you are too busy to really enjoy your life. I think that both ends of the spectrum and both views are pretty incorrect.
I think that there is a middle spot. Maybe you have a really full schedule and you are a really busy person, or if you’re not busy and you are in a “sweet, quiet” season. Maybe you listen to church on the podcast from your living room because you are exhausted from being up all night with a nursing baby. Maybe you just moved and you don’t really have any friends in your new area and you don’t really go out and do anything. Maybe you homeschool and you aren’t really a social homeschooler, and you are home a lot.
It just depends on who you are in your season whether you see yourself as busy or not. I think there is a middle ground no matter what your schedule looks like. Being present, mindful, enjoying your family and life. That’s what my focus has become the last year or so as our season and our family has so changed so rapidly.
Lots of friends who follow me on Instagram have messaged me saying things like, “wow, you guys have come full circle. You’ve changed so much. You guys are always on the move. Something is always on the horizon. How do you manage always so being so busy?” It has been a whirlwind. There have been some hard days, but it was all fun, good things. Positive changes.
Buying a camper, renovating it, and touring the United States with my family. That was a dream. It was hard, for sure. But it was a dream. It was so great. I just wanted to be present and enjoy it, even in the hard parts. Stopping homeschooling for a season and putting the kids in public school. Doing baseball.
Having a more traditional American mom life where we are picking up and dropping off from school every day. Running the errands, the business, household tasks. Grabbing the kids, throwing dinner together and running out the door for baseball practice. That was a neat season too. I felt like I learned to be mindful and present. Enjoy it and be fulfilled in that season in a different way than I was when we had a relaxed schedule.
We were really free and did un-schooling a lot for homeschooling. We traveled the U.S. visiting friends. It was very relaxed and busy in a different way. Now we have settled somewhere in between.
Baseball has started back. We have guitar lessons a couple of times a week. We are doing homeschooling. Running the business. We have hired a bunch of new team members to help us run the business without us actually having to do everything. It is a pretty decent balance.
I think the key is finding systems and rhythms that will help you in whatever place you are at – whatever kind of busy or not busy that you are. Whatever your lifestyle is, however or wherever you are raising your family, I think the key is to just create systems and rhythms that help you automate the things in your life and your day that you are always having to do on repeat. You can clear your headspace and be mindful in the midst of whatever kind of busyness that you are dealing with. Right where you are at. However old your kids are. However young they are.
I think each season is so sweet, even the really hard ones. I look back on our life (if you listen to episode 6 of the podcast you will understand this more fully) and even the seasons of poverty, difficulty, depression, and struggle, living in this desert place in our life, that season had so many sweet things about it. There are some that I noticed that were sweet and there are some that I wish I had, but did not. Now looking back I see that about that time.
For me my focus is to try to find balance. Simplify every single thing that I can in our current season. Creating rhythms. Regular things that automate my tasks and my roll as a wife, mom, homemaker, and CEO, so that I can get it off of my plate and out of my way. Even if it is something that I am doing, there are rhythms in place that help me not to think about it so much.
For example, my laundry rhythm is waking up in morning, get settled with a cup of coffee. One of the first things I do is go upstairs and start a load of laundry. Every morning. I know at some point, whether it is before lunch or after dinner, that load of laundry will be switched, dried, folded, and put away completely so that there is one full load of laundry happening every single day. What this does is form a habit that I don’t have to think about. It makes it impossible for me to get to that place where you have “laundry mountain” just looming over you. Where it is really overwhelming, you’re totally behind and burdened by the laundry. It’s just something that I have to do.
As minimal as I am, I have people in my house. And those people wear clothes…mostly. As long as there are people in my house that are wearing clothes I am going to have laundry to do. That’s just something that is a part of my roll. A part of my life. A part of my family. It’s always going to be there. That is something that can be rhythmatized or automated. I have to do the laundry. I don’t have someone who comes every day and does the laundry for me… it’s me. So I have automated it.
Yes, I am still physically doing it. It is taking up my time. But I have made it fit into my life in a way that is very habitual so I don’t have to think about it so much. I don’t have to think, “O crap, when was the last time I did laundry? I should probably do a load.” It’s just a part of my normal day.
Sure there are days where things get thrown off. Maybe I am in a rush. I might have to skip it. That’s fine, the next day maybe I will do two loads. Doing one load a day and you happen to miss one here or there, doesn’t really matter. You are still good to go. Because it is really hard to get behind on the laundry if you do one every day.
See what I mean now? The laundry is something that is a big deal and stresses a lot of people out. It is off of my brain and out of that headspace for me. I never think about it. It is almost never a stressor for me. It is just rhythmic and habitual. Finding ways that I could do that with everything, or as much as I possibly could, really helped me.
In a business sense, that meant hiring people as soon as I could. Even sometimes before I could really financially afford it. Just delegating tasks to them and freeing myself up to focus on revenue-generating tasks. I wasn’t having to do graphic design anymore. I could focus on creating a new course. Writing a new book. Doing a new video series. Delegating helps you to focus on other things.
Making laundry a habit. Sweeping up after meals. Rinsing the dishes every time after we eat. Wiping down the counters every time I walk into the kitchen to get something to drink, which is a lot between coffee and water. Taking a baby wipe and just doing a quick wipe down of the counter and toilet every time I go to use the restroom. Little things like that just add up. This is why that although my house is lived in and there are probably things in the floor or on the table, that when someone drops by I don’t feel super embarrassed because my house is a mess. It is always pretty much ready for company. It’s picked up and clean and functioning. I don’t have to worry about the bathroom being super embarrassing if someone drops by. I was in there in the last couple of hours and I did a quick wipe down.
See what I mean? Rhythmatizing the regular things so that it is easier for you no matter how busy you are. If your kids go to school and you are doing pick up and drop off every day and you only have a few minutes in between to work, get dinners started, and take care of your house. Doing little things. Maybe wake up a bit earlier and develop some solid household rhythms. Something every day adds up. It gets things done and taken care of so you are not stressing about it all of the time.
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When my kids were going to school a few of the systems and rhythms that really helped me had to do with when the kids got home from school. When they got home from school, it was always pretty crazy and that was hard for me to adjust to because we had never really done that before. It was really overwhelming. I felt like the day was really long and my kids weren’t used to going to school. They would come home super cranky and exhausted.
I would get them from school and we would come inside the house. There was a shoe bin, hooks, and a wooden box that was for school paperwork. They would come in, put their shoes in the bin, hang up their backpacks, and then put any school paperwork in the slot for me to go through. That was a rhythm.
They would do 30 minutes of just being separated. It simplified our afternoon. It simplified “cranky syndrome” in our house. They would split up and go for 30 minutes and just “veg out.” They could play technology, color, read, play with toys, take a nap, sit in their room quietly, talk to me – whatever they wanted. But it was a time to separate and introvert.
I am an introvert. Bella is an introvert. Leland is an introvert too, I think. The kids just really needed to be alone for a second before they just jumped into doing homework or getting ready for baseball. Those things really worked for me
Crockpot dinners were huge when the kids were in school and we had baseball right after. I did crockpot dinners four nights a week. We eat at home for six nights a week, so I was really only “cooking” two nights a week. The rest were done in the morning as part of my morning rhythm. After the kids went to school, I would put dinner in the crockpot.
It helped during that time. It got dinner done, people fed. Sometimes we would even have to put our dinner in glass Tupperware, take it in a bag to the baseball field and eat “picnic style” while we watched the boys play. They would eat in between breaks. That was our family at that point in time. It was so busy and so crazy, but it was also super fun. I met my family where we were at in that season. We tried something different and we did what we had to do.
The kids went to school mainly because I felt like, “I am not Jesus. I am not perfect and I can’t do it all.” I was really, really struggling with homeschooling the kids. Even with Brian here helping so much with running the business, and I had only a couple of employees. Now we have 9 or 10 in place. There were a lot of things that I was doing that didn’t need to be done by me. I hadn’t delegated those things yet.
We put them in school thinking we would need a year to get the business running more on its own without needing so much of me. But we ended up doing that in just a few months. When winter break came we just said goodbye to the kids’ teachers and ended up not sending them back. It was great. It was good news because my heart is for homeschooling. We were able to get back to it a bit sooner.
Doing the public school thing really taught me how important rhythms really are. I have always known that but it really taught me how much it can help you guys, my audience, those who don’t homeschool, who do have their kids in school. It is a lot crazier. Maybe there is a lot less on you to do during the day, but it definitely makes you busier and your schedules a lot crazier. Rhythms and systems are everything.
I also learned about food-prepping versus meal-prepping during this public school time. I still do this and it really helps me. Food prepping is where once a week you get basics. Potatoes grilled with butter and garlic and put them in the fridge. Cook some chicken with some basic seasoning that would go with any recipe. Not just go to the store and put everything away. Wash and chop the strawberries. Chop the bell peppers. “Prep” things.
This allowed me to make little food and dinner plates for everyone as meals. The reason that I loved it instead of meal prepping is because you might make a meal for that night, but when night comes you don’t feel like having any of those meals that you made. It sucks.
I am an emotional decision maker, so I decide what I am wearing that day, what I want to eat for lunch and dinner based on my mood, how I feel, and what sounds good. So that meal planning was really hard for me.
Food prepping totally solved that. I just make a bunch of basic things. Ground beef sauteed with onions and garlic then drain it really well and store it. Just basic foods prepared so I could put together things for a recipe or just make little plates of snacks, protein, veggies, and fruits. It was super easy. It simplified meals so much, especially lunches for me and Brian when we were working and the kids were at school. It still helps me now that we are homeschooling again.
Now the kids are all at home. The mornings are slower. Around 8 or 8:30, 2-3 days a week, I will go to my office. My office is in a bump-out in my garage. I will work for 2-3 hours in the morning a couple of days a week. Sometimes it’s more, but usually that’s normal. Then we will hang out, run some errands, get some house stuff done.
We do our homeschooling in the afternoon. It was the funniest, simple little tweak, but just accepting that not everything has to be done in the morning when everyone is at their best. We don’t have to do school when everyone else is doing school. I just thought out of the box and asked myself, “what works best for me right now?” Right now it works best for me to get some work done in the morning and let the kids just relax, play outside, and get some energy out. Then we have lunch and Emmett goes down for a rest, and we can do school. It just simplified it thinking that it was OK to do school in the afternoon. Now we don’t even start school until 1 or 2, then we go till dinnertime and we are done for the day. That works really, really well for us.
I have my laundry rhythm. I have my household rhythms that I told you guys about and they work really, really well. Those are the kinds of things that have helped me find balance and simplify the chaos for me and my busy family. We have baseball a couple of days a week. The league practices on Saturdays and that will soon get swapped out for games. Then Monday night we have practice and we always do a crockpot meal that night.
I think the key and maybe an action step for you would be to look at your normal routine. What do you have going on? What are the things that you go to, have on your calendar, or have to get done in your house? All of that. Everything that is “you” driven during your normal week.
Circle the things that you do on a regular, rhythmic basis without fail – laundry, dishes, business calls, answering emails – how can you automate that? How can you make that a rhythm? Look for ways to simplify your life so you can enjoy your family, even if you are busy family.
I don’t think that needs to be a badge of honor that you wave around and everyone sees how busy you are. I don’t think that it needs to be this negative thing, “Oh, you are always so busy! You’re always running around and going somewhere!”
Yeah, I have kids and a business and I homeschool. It’s crazy and it’s awesome. You can enjoy it. I think the goal should be making sure you are pursuing purpose and that you are living in God’s will for your life.
That you are mindfully focused on your family. That you are not having to clean up all of the time. That all of your time is not going to the stuff in your house and the things in your schedule. Even though you are busy and you are running around with your family, that you are calm, at peace, content, and rhythmic. You can enjoy the people in your home and run your life well so that it’s not running you!
Hey friends! I have developed a workbook called the Developing Rhythms Workbook. It’s just for you and it goes great with this episode. If you are loving the idea of systemizing the things that you do on a regular basis, falling into some simple household lifestyle rhythms that will help you clear your headspace and get things that you do all of the time into a normal rhythm so you are less stressed and more productive, then this is going to help you so much.
Head to alliecasazza.com/shownotes/20 to download it for free. It is awesome. It is one of my fans favorite downloads. I think you will love it!
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This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!