What to Do When You Get in Your Own Way

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m my own biggest obstacle. Here’s what to do when you get in your own way.

Have you every made an elaborate plan for homeschooling and when Monday rolls around, you’re tired or one of your kids is cranky…and you do about 2 out of the 10 things you had planned, then feel like a failure?

Sound anything like you?

Here are three ways for dealing with this very thing, ways you can let go of the usual behaviors that stand in your way.

So that you can move forward, make progress, connect with your children, and achieve your homeschooling goals.

3 Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way

Let go of…

  1.       Second-Guessing
  2.       Multitasking
  3.       Mindlessness

No More Second Guessing

We all do it. We second guess our homeschooling decisions, our choices, and our actions. But I’m here to tell you right now to give it up for good. It will be the best thing you ever do for yourself and your family.

I once read a review of a book called Time Efficiency Makeover by Dorothy Breninger’s. And the biggest takeaway was this statistic:

People spend anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours a day rehashing their choices. 

So I ask you: How much time do you think you spend second guessing yourself?

I was definitely guilty of this as a homeschooling parent. I’d make a decision one week only to revisit the whole issue again the next. Finding myself right back in that spinning cycle of indecision.

Here are just some of the ways we second-guess ourselves as homeschooling parents:

  • Is there a better curriculum for history that I don’t know about yet? (after I’ve recently chosen one)
  • Is this homeschooling thing really working? or Would my children be better off in school?
  • Should I start main lesson with songs and verses even though my children don’t enjoy them? (after spending hours choosing those songs & verses)
  • Would my child be better off in grade one than grade two?

I could go on and on! Believe me. And I’m sure you have questions of your own that you could add to this list.

Questions themselves are good things, of course. But dwelling on them, or even worse, coming back and questioning ourselves and our decisions after we’ve made them can be detrimental.

My personal advice based on over 30 years of parenting and homeschooling?

  • Ask the questions.
  • Discuss with whomever you think would be helpful.
  • Let the considerations rest until you feel clear on the answer.
  • Then take action.

We really need to give things time to see how they go. And of course, we can revisit the question if necessary, but don’t give up too soon. Don’t re-open the discussion too soon. Don’t start questioning your decision right away because it undermines your confidence.

Here’s what I’ve found that helps the most with this:

Explore with a sense of curiosity rather than judgement.

All of life is about wondering, choosing something to try, and adjusting as we go. Everyone from baseball players to CEOs to teachers to farmers to doctors do this. So why can’t we?

Here’s a great quote to help serve as a reminder: 

Worry is the darkroom in which negatives can develop.

No more second guessing your homeschooling decisions! It’s wasting your time and undermining your progress and your contentment.

Let Go of Multitasking

Now I know, this one is even harder than the first! Because as Moms, we’re the queens of multitasking, right!?! Isn’t that a key part of the job description?

Trying to do several things at once is actually a trick we play on ourselves, thinking that it’s going to help us get more done.

But the reality is that when we multitask, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%.

Because humans can’t actually multi-task. What we really do is switch from one task to another, constantly interrupting ourselves.

Now I know that this may seem to be the very essence of motherhood! Interruption after interruption.

But the truth is, we don’t get more done this way. We are in fact, getting in the way of making progress. And even more importantly, we’re getting in the way of being present in the moment.

I think avoiding multitasking has gotten even harder since my kids were little. We didn’t have smart phones back then, or Facebook, or even the internet in the same way it exists today. Our biggest interruptions were the doorbell or our dog barking at the mail carrier.

But today, with a myriad of potential distractions, I think we really have to work at avoiding multitasking.

Here are a few suggestions for letting go of multitasking:

  1. Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning.
  2. Put your phone away and turn off all notifications during lesson time.
  3. Practice focusing on one thing at a time.
  4. Let go of pressure and urgency.

Repeat this mantra: “I have all the time I need.”

These practices have really helped me improve my ability to be in the moment.

And now, my third and final piece of advice for getting out of your own way?

Let Go of Mindlessness

By this I mean that feeling of numbing our minds and just going through the motions.

In order to do this, I really need to also work on the first two suggestions here: letting go of second guessing, and stopping the multitasking.

But letting go of mindlessness really requires practice. At least it did for me.

Here’s how I did it: I started meditating. Super small at first with guided meditations of just 5 minutes or so. This is how we increase our mindfulness.

Even now sometimes, I need help not only being present but also having self-compassion. And giving myself permission to begin again.

That’s really all we can ask of ourselves. To notice when we’ve gotten off track. Be gentle and kind and loving with ourselves. And then come back to the task at hand and try again.

So if you find yourself going about your day in a mindless fog, I encourage you to be more kind, more gentle, and more loving to yourself. And practice focusing on just one thing at a time.

I hope these three tips for getting out of your own way bring you a sense of calm and help you feel more of a sense of possibility and spaciousness.

I promise you that the more you work on letting go of second guessing yourself, multitasking, and mindlessness…the more you’ll find yourself being present with your children and available to connect with them.

Parenting and homeschooling are not easy. But they can be incredibly rewarding especially when we can stop getting in our own way. If you’d like to explore these ideas further, I invite you to join me for Inner Work Journey, a 12-week online experience starting in March to support you to live from a place of acceptance and possibility no matter what’s going on around you. Find all the details here.

About the Art of Homeschooling Podcast

The Art of Homeschooling Podcast is for parents who are ready to thrive in homeschooling. In each episode, we share stories and strategies so you can drop the overwhelm and get in touch with inspiration. You CAN create a homeschool life you love. 

I’m your host, Jean Miller, homeschooling mother of three now-grown children. And here at the Art of Homeschooling, we keep it sweet and simple so you can focus on cultivating creativity and connection at home.

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