So far, this year has found me either: on the road; preparing for being on the road; educating myself about and getting to grips with pregnancy; and preparing for the arrival of my baby. Needless to say, “routine” is a word whose meaning I’d totally forgotten. I have a feeling that, once baby comes, I won’t even know how to spell the word!
I’m a person who both hates routine and thrives on it. Or rather, I hate the idea of monotony – of doing the exact same thing, over and over again. Yet, I crave some sort of structure. I’m almost OCD about it: creating lists is one of my favourite pastimes!
Not too long ago, I discovered a way that has been working for me; a balance between having order but still retaining some dynamism in my days.
It’s quite simple: I decided what things I need (and want) to do every day. As far as the timing, that’s where the variety comes in. Each day, it’s up to me as to when these things get done.
Previously, I wanted to control the order in which I did these things. Reality has inspired me to not be so strict about this. Often, some activities rely on conditions being a certain way – they might be location-specific or dependent on other external variables. For example, I cannot do yoga on the bus whereas, I can meditate and journal in transit. Thus, trying to stick to a particular order too easily encourages me to make excuses to drop the whole routine altogether. I am definitely that all or nothing kind of girl.
The golden ticket for me is flexibility.
My daily routine – pregnancy edition
Indeed, life changes all the time – we evolve and our situations shift. For this reason, this prenatal moment is a very important time for me to review the things I need and want to do daily.
I always talk about how I’m loving my 30s because I’m so much clearer about who I am and the things I need to keep me well and happy. It’s taken a lot of living, studying, experimenting and making mistakes, to figure these things out. To think that this is a lifelong pursuit – perhaps even, dare I say, the meaning of life itself!
The key activities that feature in my current conclusions about what I need, form the basis of my daily routine.
The following activities do not include a lot of the tasks that I do for my business. This list covers things that will continue to happen when I begin my maternity leave. That is, at least, the dream.
I go into more detail below but, first, a quick list, in no particular order …
- Being social
- Moving my products business forward
- Creating content (particularly for this blog)
- Moving towards financial freedom
- Meal preparation
- Indulging in some me-time (I’m going to have a lot of fun creating a list of possibilities to be choosing from. Stay tuned for that).
Giving goals a chance
Recently, I’ve been talking to several friends about goals and there is a common feeling that, the ambition with which we began the year hasn’t been followed up with adequate action. Familiar story?
As I was writing this post, I started to think about how I could be more structured in terms of implementing my goals. How I could actually give them a fair chance of being realised. The list-making, plan-loving side of me got into gear and created a weekly planner template to help me to start acting in alignment with my goals.
I thought – hey, others might find this useful too! Feel free to download the weekly planner template here.
I’d love to hear how it works for you and what could be improved to make it even more valuable.
Below is a snapshot from me testing it this week.
Weekly planner features
“This is the week when: …”
The idea here is to write yourself an aspirational call-to-action. Think of it as a theme, motto or mantra. For me, this week was all about getting back into some kind of routine (haha). Boy has it helped me in renewing my enthusiasm for all the things I want to accomplish this year!
Here is where you can note down those straightforward things you want to accomplish daily. Right now, mine include:
- A daily home yoga practice. In fact, my friend – holistic wellness coach, Tara Jackson – and I are accountability buddies in doing yoga for 40 consecutive days. So far we’re on day 6.
- Writing down my big goals daily. I did this for a season, a few years ago, and it’s true what they say. In the repetition, you get clearer about what you really want, the specifics of it and, other things (distractions) start falling to the wayside. I’m being conscious about making them SMART.
- Daily meditation. I took a Transcendental Meditation course last year and it was really powerful. But in all the transitions of my 2016, I struggled to maintain a consistent practice. I’m slowly working on getting back to that.
- Journaling has been one of the most important things I’ve done, in tending to my mental health. I seriously don’t know what my life would look like if it weren’t for this practice. My ideal is to do it morning pages style (although not necessarily first thing in the morning). However, on days when I can’t – for whatever reason (aka excuse) – I will at least write a grateful list: 9 things I’m thankful for. The number is arbritrary: 9 just happens to be my favourite. There are several other journalling “hacks” to help you get into the habit, e.g. the popular Five Minute Journal.
- Tracking incoming money every day. I’m currently reading Get Rich, Lucky Bitch! by Denise Duffield-Thomas and trying to be very proactive about doing all the exercises and taking action as I go.
This section is where you can break down your larger goals whose progress will likely span months, perhaps even years. In fact, I first started by mapping these out for the entire year, month-by-month, but, I’ll save that for another post. The idea is this: how can you move forward towards your goals, by taking smaller actions every day? Whether you have an hour each day to dedicate to them or just 5 minutes, every movement counts. I recommend reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson if you’re doubtful.
So rather than just making a big scary declaration like, this month I will write 5 blog posts, why not go further and break it down into the smallest possible chunks of what needs to be done? This might include, for example:
- Think of 5-10 questions that readers of my blog will want answered/areas that they would enjoy inspiration in
- Test these questions on my blog’s Facebook page and narrow down to 5
- Think of the 3 main points I want to make for the first post
- Source or create imagery for the first post
- Draft first post
- Publish first post
- Schedule update about post on social media channels
And so on …
Because this is something that we often sacrifice when we feel we’re too busy. This easily contributes to us losing the enthusiasm for our goals because we’re not making enough time to nurture and inspire our minds, bodies and souls. That’s why this is in there and I’m challenging myself, and you, to commit to what you’ll do and when.
Weekly and once-a-month things
There are some things that don’t need to happen as regularly. For me, I try to have a big meal prep session, at least once a week. This helps me to resist the temptation to eat poorly, on days when I’m tired and cooking is too much of a mission. This week I couldn’t think of a once-a-month thing – I need to give this some more thought. For you it might be wash day (yes, guilty! Sometimes … okay, who am I kidding? – most times, I only wash my hair every 4 weeks. #dontjudgeme #itlooksgoodthough).
If you haven’t already, you can download the weekly planner template here.
What hacks have you discovered to help you keep on track of your goals and your wellbeing?
Rooftop photo by Joe Were