This guide will seem daunting, but I promise, this is the sort of thing that if you’re feeling completely lost, it’ll help sort your feelings and get you on track.
You also don’t have to do this alone. For a lot of it, like clearing out your clutter and such, you can work with a friend or your life coach or anyone who will make this a more positive and easier experience.
Give yourself the maximum amount of time you can get away with. If a three day weekend is coming up, take the day off before and after from work to give yourself five. Or don’t plan anything to do on your days off for a few weeks and dedicate those days off to this.
Before really beginning, you’ll need to clear the decks. Make sure you don’t have overhanging things to do during that time, like taxes or deadlines for work. Get those out of the way first if possible. If you always have things hanging over, just do your best to clear the things that will nag at you the most.
Clean your house and spaces. You can deal with the areas that have genuinely bugged you lately, or you can plan a whole house reset. This includes digitally. Organize your computer, your phone, your inboxes. Get everything sorted to ground zero.
After areas of your house are where you’d like them to be and you’re feeling good, head to your favorite area of the house with pen and paper and your calendar.
Write down all the things you’ve been doing. Look at your current schedule and to do lists.
Do a complete brain dump of all the things you think you also need to do. Follow a brain teaser list to help you build
Cross out everything that doesn’t actually need to be done, and areas in your schedule that you absolutely hate. Usually you can knock off about 20% of your list just by doing this and give yourself a break.
Put your list aside for now. And now is the time to focus on your own personal priorities and goals. Write out all the things you’d like to do. It also has to be something within your control. You can’t give yourself a raise at work, but you can ask for one or send out resumes until you find one that pays better. You can’t get a USA Today bestseller, that’s out of your control as you can’t make people buy your book, but you can write a really great book, and learn how to give yourself the best chance of getting that if it’s what you want. Your goals can be “I’d like to be a famous YouTube star” but we have to build from what you can take action on, like producing a daily vlog.
Out of your goals on your list, pick two or three to focus on. You don’t have to forget your other goals. When you start quarterly reviews, you’ll have the option to change your goals, especially if you’ve reached them. But give your goals a fair chance to be accomplished by focusing on them. And if you accomplish one, you can pick another one.
Go back with your goals picked out and your brain dump list. Pull everything out of the brain dump list that: aligns with your goals, or absolutely essential to life and put that in a list. Like paying taxes, going to the doctor, etc., those must do priorities that have to be done. This is your priority one list.
Add in anything to the list that would help you complete your goals.
Look at your brain dump list, and put aside to dos that were for other goals that you have probably put aside.
What’s left should be considered ‘non priority’. Re-check on this. Is this just a want to do list? Maybe it was a vacation you want to go to? If it’s not a priority, and it isn’t a want to do, it probably shouldn’t be on your list. So keep all the things you want to do in a want to do list. And see how many of the non priority things you can just get rid of. Maybe you don’t really have to do that Christmas Newsletter for the family. Does anyone even read it? If you don’t enjoy doing it, and it isn’t a priority, just don’t. You’d be surprised at how much you don’t actually have to do.
Now take your priority one list, your calendar and the last of your brain dump list, and what should be your ‘want to do’ list. I don’t particularly like working with goal dates in mind. What I like is to make a step by step guide from one until done of each goal, and then schedule the times when I’m allowed to work on those. Start with stuff that absolutely can’t be moved, like when you turn in taxes, that dental appointment, etc. Outside of those things, you want to schedule in your goal tasks first and then fill in any extra time as ‘me time’ or ‘want to do’ time. Me time is just when you can take a bath, zone out, read your favorite book, etc. The want to do list is separate from that, but also essential. Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of me time and want to do time on top of goals. Goals shouldn’t take up more than 30% of your available time. And hopefully your other priority one tasks that aren’t goals (taxes/adulting things) are not taking up more than 10 – 20%. Remember, the goal isn’t to fill in every moment with things to do. It’s to make time to live life and enjoy it while we can.
When you work on these will be up to you. Some say to schedule things when you’re feeling most productive, but some stuff doesn’t need your full brain power. For example, I like gardening, but I don’t need to be in full productive mode to accomplish one. If I have a plan in place, I can easily follow the instructions on days or times when I’m not particularly productive. So how you schedule will be up to you.
By the end of step 14, you should have an action plan for your projects/goals, and a schedule for when you’ll do what you want to do. Next step is to double check things like your subscriptions, your memberships, your YouTube video feeds, your Facebook, etc. Knock out anything that you just don’t like or gets in the way of your goals or doesn’t really contribute to what you want. Maybe you want to write a book, but your YouTube video feed is all about how to start a day care. Clear everything that doesn’t match your new goals.
Schedule in a review in three months to do this again, only it shouldn’t take as long to do a second time, maybe over a weekend. You’ll check in with your goals, if you’re still trying to accomplish the three or if you want to resort them and do something else. You’ll tinker with the schedule until it works for you, etc.
This can seem like a very daunting list, but I promise if you can get to the end, you’d feel loads better. I really look forward to a quarterly review in the future.
Rise slowly, with enough time to get to your routine with intention.
I used to follow many productivity blogs and vloggers and coaches who would say very simply: get up at 5 am and get to that thing and do an hour of work to see progress.
While I get up relatively early ( between six or seven am naturally without an alarm), I’ve tried getting up earlier on occasion but one thing I’ve been firm about for years is that I absolutely hate waking up to an alarm clock.
If you have the ability to skip the alarm, I highly recommend it. And if your body clock doesn’t like getting up before sunlight is peeking over the skyline, pushing at yourself may not mean you’re more productive. It may mean you’re just tired. If you’re getting less sleep by getting up an hour early and dragging, maybe that extra morning work hour isn’t as beneficial.
Not everyone can change their morning routine, and not everyone should. However, morning routines that work for you, by eliminating the unnecessary and allowing yourself to slow down can do wonders.
How to Build a Morning Routine that Works for You
Write out your routine now. Try to take a bit of extra time, even if it’s a voice note, and notice what you’re doing.
Examine your routine for what you can let go. Are you trying to fit in exercise when there simply isn’t room or you’re not completely awake yet and it can cause injury? Are you trying to fit in emails? See what you can move around in your day to slow down your morning. I personally found moving my exercise to the evening hours works for me, but do what’s best for you.
Work your routine down into the first hour of your day. You can speed up and get to work and chores later, but limit your first hour to a few things of major importance and focus. Maybe it’s saying hello to your loved ones, a bit of time with your pets, waking children slow and with love, prayer, sketching ideas or outlines, whatever it is, refocus your priorities to what really matters to you personally.
Pre-prep the night before. I personally make a pot of cold brew coffee that I keep in my fridge ready to go and plan a quick breakfast.(hardboiled egg and cheese, or a already pre-sliced mango, for example) This way as I’m waking, I’m less likely to hurry about and fumble in confusion.
Change as you progress. Your life changes depending on the season or if it’s the weekend or holidays, so allow room for those differences. I personally love using Google Keep to store my routine because I can rearrange, add to and take out what is or isn’t working for me. I don’t have it set into a calendar as I don’t hold myself to a time frame arbitrarily. Keep allows me to follow my list no matter what time I wake up. However, use what works best for you.
I’ve spent oodles of time scrolling throughout social media.
There are nights when I get lost, like everyone else, looking. Just looking. I don’t know for what, but at some point I stopped using the internet as a resource to go on, do a thing, and leave.
That random scrolling became an odd sense of “finding that something next”.
But is there ever anything next? Is there some blog post or Instagram image that will give me that fulfilled feeling?
If you’re like me, you usually don’t find *it*. You keep scrolling.
So I’ve been asking myself lately, maybe what I’m actually looking for in those moments isn’t on Instagram or Facebook. We all know those platforms are designed to try to get you absently on the sites and continuing to look around.
There are times when that’s fine to do. We learn about what our friends are up to and gain new ideas through such means.
But if you’re scrolling for something to help you feel better, for some idea or thought that might make you feel fulfilled, maybe we need to remember fulfillment isn’t an outside source.
I’ve started a new habit. That if I’m scrolling randomly like that, without a purpose, I put it away for a day and work on some other project that’s actually fulfilling. Making cookies from scratch, etc. Little things.
Sometimes when I feel lost, I just change direction.