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At what point in life will we “have it all together”?

Jun 5, 2019

how to have it all together

Above: Shaheen and I do not have it all together, clearly. ?

Every so often, I’ll put up a question box in Instagram stories and ask you guys to submit your questions for my Ask Jess posts. (You can see all of them right here!)

Sorting through the most recent round of submissions, one in particular really struck a cord with me: 

What habits do you do everyday that make you feel like you really “have it together.” 

Honestly, it made me laugh out loud. Of all the people I know, I truly think I am the person that has it the LEAST together.

Then it had me thinking: DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY HAVE IT TOGETHER? Who are these mythical unicorn women? Have I ever come into contact with one? 

My girlfriends on “having it together”: 

So, I picked up my phone and sent a mass group text to my college girlfriends. “Guys. Does anyone feel like they finally have it together?” Smart, driven, successful (at least by my standards) women who are thoughtful, organized, caring, most of them wives, and on their way to becoming mothers. These are my most NORMAL friends–the textbook definition of “together”–if you will. If anyone “had it together”–surely one of them would? 

Here’s how the group chat went: 

“NOPE.”

“IDK if that’s a real thing.” 

“NO.” 

“Seems subjective.” 

“I prefer the term “happy mess.” But sometimes just “mess.” 

“100% do not have my life together. Especially at this point in life…all chaos, but a happy mess, in the words of my wise friend!!”

“But also at the point where I’ve accepted that life may never feel all together so I’m just like embracing whatever “happy mess” each stage brings, or else I’d be in shambles.” 

It’s like what Michelle Obama touches on in Becoming: “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child––what do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point, you become something and that’s the end.” 

“Sounds like MO [referring to Michelle Obama ?] knows what’s up!” 

“Def not!! I think life just gets more complicated as you get older, so the second you get comfortable and feel like you have it together, new things happen and you have to make adjustments again and again.” 

“…Are these going on the blog?!” ?

So, there you have it. If you think you’re the only one who thinks they’ll never have it all together–it ain’t just you! ?It’s EVERYONE!

I think “having it all together” is purely a myth. Let’s embrace the fact that we never will. “Together” is not a place or a point–it’s simply a feeling that ebbs and flows, with everything else in life.

But to circle back to the original question, there are some things we can do to make us FEEL more “together”–if you will. Here are some of mine. 

7 things that make me feel more “together”:

(Not to be confused with “7 things to do to have it all together”) 

Jess Keys is running in Chicago

1. Make a list: 

This is my #1 tip for ANYONE, ever. When you’re feeling overwhelmed (or just to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed) make a list. It can be on the computer–on a napkin–whatever. Just having down on paper what you need to accomplish makes it feel a lot more doable. 

2. Clear the clutter: 

I feel so much better when I have a neat and tidy house. I can’t be have a clear mind when I’m trying to work in clutter. Turns out being tidy is one of the hardest things for me to ever accomplish, but I’m making more of an effort to get better at it. When the house is cleaner–I’m a lot more productive, and feel a lot more pulled together! 

Part of that though, actually (?) is that I made the executive decision to hire our incredible assistant/house manager. (Janine!! She is my savior!) Delegating things I’m not good at, but need to get done has been so immensely helpful–and one of those things is tidying my house. Know who is a wizard at tidying and organizing? JANINE! (Not to mention, it’s been very beneficial for our marriage–not making my type A husband live in my messy house. ?)

I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but when you CAN outsource–invest the money. Your mental health and sanity is always the most worthwhile investment! 

3. ASK FOR HELP! 

Which brings me to my next point–ASK. FOR. HELP. No woman can be a one woman show. You don’t need to have a lot (or any extra, for that matter) funds to ask for help–this doesn’t just mean “hire a cleaning lady” (although, that’s a VERY good start) but you could offer to do a carpool swap, swap different nights babysitting with a neighbor so you can get some peace and quiet, trade business services , ask your partner to help with dinner, or tell your boss you need help with your workload. In my experience, people want to help–let them! 

I know it’s easy to look at someone else and think “they’re doing it all”–but NOBODY is! Let’s even use me as an example–If you’re not pay ing attention, it looks like this blog is a one woman show, right? Wrong!

I have an incredibly supportive husband, I have an SEO manager, multiple photographers, an editorial manager, web developer, and the list goes on. Oh, and, of course, as I mentioned above–a house manager/assistant (who I hope will never leave us and also become our nanny when we decide to have kids. ?NEVER LEAVE US, JANINE!) 

I think this is probably the biggest key to feeling like you “have it together”–is being extremely realistic with how much you can handle, and delegating the rest. 

I was listening to Rachel Hollis’ new book Girl Stop Apologizing last night on Audible and she could not have summed this point up more perfectly: 

“There are 100 ways to learn to swim and only one very easy way to drown–and that’s to refuse to admit that you’re drowning in the first place.” 

4. Get outside and/or move: 

Something about getting outside and getting some exercise does wonders for your brain. I like to try to walk as much as possible (vs taking an uber/driving) whenever the weather is nice, and I can definitely tell a difference in my mental well-being! I also notice an incredible difference in my mental clarity and overall mood when I’m working out regularly. If it’s nice, I’ll opt for a run outside, but my main workout is Orangetheory and I cannot recommend it enough! 

5. Hold yourself accountable: 

My biggest, biggest tip–hold yourself accountable. Where are you with your goals? What are you doing every day to inch toward them? How would you rate your productivity at the end of the day? I *LOVE* Brendan Burchard’s book High Performance Habits, (I actually have the Kindle and Audio book!) and his High Performance Planner. I fill out the prompts every day to keep myself on-task and organized in both my professional and personal life. Both are total game-changers and if you’re REALLY serious about your goals, there is absolutely no reason why you should not buy both of these immediately. 

6. Be serious about saying no: 

I actually wrote a whole post on “How to say no” a longgg time ago. (I should probably update that and recirculate it again. ?) but being extremely ruthless with your time is SO. Important. Calm, collected people do NOT over commit themselves to personal or professional matters. That’s the quickest way to burn yourself out–to prioritize everyone else’s time over yours. For more tips on how to say no politely, read the post

7. Block/schedule your time religiously: 

In addition to saying no–if you want more “white space” in your life–literally schedule it. I’m serious! If we’ve had a crazy few weeks I will block off a weekend in my calendar saying DO. NOT. MAKE. PLANS. 

In addition to scheduling white space, when I assess my priorities for the day, I will actually schedule in time to work on them in my calendar. I think using the Pomodoro method is the most effective way to tackle your scheduled tasks for the day! Looking for more organizing tips? Read this post! 

What are your thoughts on “having it all together?” I’d love to know! 

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