Happy New Year! As I was thinking about content to share to kick off the year, I had to take a look at my busy 1st quarter. We are heading back to work after taking a much-needed end of year break. As a result, we’ve had time to evaluate our routines. Maybe you recognize that your mornings would transition better if you had an extra hour in your day. Or you find that you delay completing certain tasks until the last minute, or you forget to do them at all. If any of this resonates with you, you are not alone. I’ve experienced similar challenges at one point or another and wanted to share some changes I made. Hopefully, they could be solutions for you. Let’s jump in with my signature bulleted list – 4 changes to help you take charge of your day.
1. Take control of your morning – I’m sure you’ve experienced a day that runs out of control because something in your morning schedule goes completely awry. You can’t find your keys; kids get into a fight, you spill coffee on your shirt. Sound familiar? While anything is possible, these incidents are less likely when you have a plan for your morning. Consider doing your morning prep the night before. You can plan your breakfast and wardrobe the night before. I even try on outfits to make sure it's a possible contender. Check the weather, make sure you have an umbrella or outer-wear, and make sure you place your keys, work, or school items in a place that you can grab and go. Subtle changes in your routine will help you prepare for the details and accommodate unexpected interruptions that can disrupt your entire day.
2. Attach purpose to the day – Do you have a plan for the day? Are there any goals or accomplishments you have designated for the day? Giving intention to your day will guide how you plan and fill your day. For example, you intend to spend the day spring cleaning. You’ve started preparing the night before, gathering cleaning products and organizational tools so they are accessible for the next days' tasks. You’ve planned for this activity and devoted the entire day to this purpose. All of this dictates how you spend the day and lends itself to the amount of time you will commit to this activity. Attaching a purpose to the day also helps you navigate unexpected interruptions. Except for emergencies, you won’t get distracted by random requests to do other things because you have already focused on this particular chore. You planned for it, so stick to it.
3. Get to the bottom of procrastination – So many issues can arise with delaying until the last possible moment. I tend to focus less on the act of procrastinating and more on the reason that I chose procrastination as my verb. Stalling is usually a sign of something else. Like perhaps you don’t want to engage in an activity or event. But there’s a reason for that too. Whenever I defer doing something, I have to ask myself why. I don’t think people are predisposed to putting things off because they don’t feel like it. Definitely not every time. Often, avoidance saves us from facing the truth or dealing with tough situations. Think about it; not returning a phone call delays having a tough conversation. Rescheduling a critical doctor’s appointment shields us from potentially uncomfortable news. Changing our minds about cleaning out a closet keeps us from dealing with our clutter or realizing that we have a spending problem. Consider facing moments like this straight away. It positions you to assess a situation and look for solutions to make things easier. Before putting things off, next time, ask yourself why you want to avoid getting this done? Remember, it’s easier to manage a problem that you acknowledge exists versus the one you ignore.
4. Focus on what you can control – Even in planning, there will be interruptions. However, planning does allow you to manage most interruptions. Things will occur that are entirely out of your control. Unfortunately, obsessing over them won’t fix or change them. Instead, trust what the plan reveals. If you previously planned the day, your planning might show if you have pockets in your day to make adjustments. Planning might also indicate that you have items on your schedule that are flexible and can be moved or canceled. But, the other side of this is that no matter what you try, life happens. You may adjust for most, but recognize that sometimes you will have to make sacrifices. Some things just won’t be completed because something else takes priority. For those moments, consenting is better than stressing. You can only do what you can, and everything else will work itself out. A phone call to a missed appointment and an explanation for your delay goes a long way with most people. Sometimes things happen and, we can’t change them. Remember, this doesn’t make you disorganized. It only makes you human. Cut yourself some slack here. Focus on what you can.
While these steps may require that you initially acclimate yourself to them, it will become easier to design your days once you begin making changes. Remember, the goal is to establish habits and build routines that will help you manage your day and time. Jumping back into the busy work-week, post the holiday’s restful nature, can be a challenge. But shifting how you approach your schedule can be the difference between an ordered routine or you flying by the seat of your pants and barely surviving. This year, we can do something a little different.
Again, Happy New Year!!
These are absolutely my thoughts...