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Photo by Kathy Kimpel is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (Las Cruces, New Mexico)

My life has been crazy. I’m sure you can relate. Nowadays, people seem to respond with “Busy’ more than “Good,” when I ask how they are.

In her book Overwhelmed, Brigid Shulte gives a description that encapsulates the busyness epidemic:

“’Always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door.’ Muting the phone during a conference call so no one can hear soccer practice drills in the background, stepping over mounds of unfolded laundry, waking up in a 2 a.m. panic to run over the to-do list, and then summing up your life to your friends—in the two seconds you dedicate to seeing your friends—as ‘crazy all the time’ while they nod in agreement.”

Between the needs of my family, business, spirituality, part-time homeschooling, trying to have a social life, exercise, and oh yeah, my husband, it’s tough staying sane.

I was feeling overwhelmed until a 13-hour road trip with two young children to Las Cruces, New Mexico in a small SUV.

Wendy, was that a typo? 


Originally, I had thought about all the work I would get done when I was in New Mexico. Instead, I decided to take the week off.

What did I do?

1. I did nothing

When was the last time you did nothing? One of the benefits of visiting a small town with nothing to do is you’re not running from place to place. Instead, we stayed at home, colored, read books and hung out.   I had time to read, meditate and be.

One of the most enjoyable times of our trip was playing with a jump rope. With iPads and game consoles, who plays with jump ropes anymore? Our kids couldn’t have been happier than if we spent a thousand dollars at Disneyland.

2. I dreamed

I spent a minimal amount of time on email and doing my day-to-day work. It’s amazing how this allowed me the space to think more strategically and dream.

I thought about all that had been accomplished and the blessings of this past year. I came up with ideas on how to be more productive and efficient.  I wrote down goals for the New Year and where I’d be in 5 years. I know, I can’t remember when I thought about my life in 5 years, let alone wrote it down. Again, when do I ever do this?

3. I cut

I enjoyed my time so much I thought I need to recreate more of this in my daily life. The only way to do this is by cutting stuff out of my schedule. As with a budget, it’s critical to free up resource so I can focus on what I truly enjoy.

What activities are not bringing us joy? What are things at work I can outsource because I don’t like them and they suck up time?

Before my trip, I felt I didn’t have enough time connecting with my family, spending time with God, working out and yes, I daresay, focusing on my finances. As I tell my clients, I had to tell myself: If I’m too busy to focus on what’s important in my life, I’m too busy.

Who would have thought a 13-hour road trip with 2 young children would be so peace inducing?

How do you keep your sanity?