A while back I read this great post from Meagan Francis on a Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs. Meagan tailored Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to motherhood and created the pyramid above. Basic needs are at the bottom and create the foundation for the needs at the top of the pyramid.
I’m on a big push at the moment to finish a manuscript, edit it, get the cover art together and publish it by the beginning of July. It’s about my failed quest to make the Athens 2004 Olympic team written in a hopefully interesting and a touch funny non-fiction style a la Mindy Kaling or David Sedaris (shoot for the top, right?). I had a good run the other week of writing for at least an hour after my son was in bed. My husband has given me chunks of time on the weekends to go to a coffee shop and write.
But in the last few days I’ve lost my momentum. I’ve had an usual number of social engagements in the evening and when I have been home I’ve been watching television (Mad Men is so good right now). I’d rather sit on the couch and chat to my husband than pull out the laptop and pound away on the keyboard.
It feels terrible to be this close to the finish line and feel the project slipping through my fingers.
When I look at the hierarchy of needs above, which works for both my parenting life and a lot of my work life, I can see that I’ve neglected one of my physical needs in the last week. Normally I go to bed by 10:00 pm each night. This last week I’ve had some late nights out and I’ve been going to bed between 11:00pm and midnight.
That hour or two of sleep makes a big difference to my day.
For the next few weeks I have committed to a 10:00 pm bedtime. The only reason I should be up later than that is if I’m writing.
If you’re struggling to pare down change the focus.
I get a lot of comments that people have been trying to pare down for a long time, some of them for over a year, and they’re not making progress. These people are looking for a radical step to help. Recently a long time reader left a comment that she was considering selling her house so that it would force her hand to purge a lot of possessions.
As strange as it may sound, maybe sleep will help more than moving. Maybe taking a closer look at the bottom of your needs pyramid, your health, your financial life, your support system, maybe investing in those needs will translate to time and energy for the top of the pyramid.
Decluttering is a self-actualizing process.
Getting rid of stuff is closer to writing a novel than putting food on the table. If my most basic survival is at stake I’ll do whatever I have to, work any job, sell whatever I need to sell, to eat. However, I’ll put off sorting and donating infant clothing for a multitude of vacant and relaxing activities.
Decluttering takes a level of energy and focus you’re only going to find if you’re taking care of your most basic needs: health, security and relationships.
Has anyone else found this to be true when they’ve tried to simplify areas of their life? I feel like some of our simplifying helped the bottom of the pyramid. When we started to sell things, cut bills and pay off debt we had more energy and less stress. We slept better. Eventually we had a better foundation to tackle one of our more radical ideas for simplifying: going car-less.
PS. Just one more day left to enter the Versalette giveaway. Thrilled so many of you are excited about this wonderful garment.