With life under Covid so different from our norm, and the uncertainty of how and when life may ever be ‘normal’ again, it is so easy to feel out of control and overwhelmed. The common structure and routines of our lives have fallen by the wayside, and it feels like things will never be the same again.
We may be floundering, struggling to keep an income going while managing small kids and a work and home life that just keep changing. This was not what we planned! We’re surrounded by distractions and temptations, and may be anxious about many things, including our children’s education and wellbeing.
The above quote rings too true. Without a structure, some kind of schedule to protect from the chaos that is life, how will we survive? Creating a mock-up of reason and order in a world where it is so lacking, willing it into being… Right now, and if I am being honest, ALWAYS, I need this, and so do you.
In every phase of life, in every changing time, we need to have the tools to manage our time effectively.
How You Schedule
In our Podcast last week, Meg and I chat about the different ways that you can plan, schedule and manage your time. From the never-ending, always lengthening to-do list that has many of us tugging our hair out and dousing our anxieties with coffee, to more structured approaches, including time-blocking, the quadrant system as taught by Steven Covey in the 7 habits of highly effective people, and Megan’s time-centred to-do lists. You can download some examples of these methods in our Free Platform, together with the Time Maximization Webinar.
We learned from Sasha Foster’s Business Basics training– ‘How to build a business that supports your personal goals’ – that to create an effective schedule, we need to start with the non-negotiables. That means a set amount of sleep each night, regular healthy mealtimes, daily exercise and a quiet time. These create the parameters of your day, and will keep you going for longer. You can neglect some of the non-essentials for a short time, but keep doing it and you will soon head into exhaustion and burnout.
For me, a routine is a set of activities performed in a certain order, to prepare ourselves for an activity or for the day ahead.
Our day includes multiple areas where we can use a routine to get us into a certain mood or headspace. For example, a morning routine allows you to prepare for the day, to feel energised, focused and prepared. A quick routine before you sit down to work can help you to switch your mind from the chaos of home, to focused and productive work time. A bedtime routine will help your mind and body wind down and prepare for sleep, gradually over the course of an hour or so. Anyone with kids knows how magical it can be when you get the bedtime routine right (And also how elusive it is…)!
The most important routine you can invest in, is a good morning routine. Here are some of the things you can include in yours:
- Breathing exercise
- Expressing gratitude, either as you wake up, or more intentionally with a journal and a pen.
- Exercise – whether a yoga routine, HIIT, or a gentle stretching routine – do what works for you.
- Hygiene 😁
- Reading something thought provoking and meaningful, whether affirmations or a book chapter can help direct your mindset intentionally.
- Writing is one of the most valuable things we can do. Taking some time to put our thoughts on paper cannot be underestimated.
If you start your day with some of the things on this list, you can be sure that you will feel invincible. The day ahead is going to be fantastic, because just look at what you have already achieved! You can do anything!!
But, always remember to be kind to yourself – the 80/20 rule can be applied here. Aim to get your routine right 80% of the time, instead of 100%!
Learn to Prioritize
Whether you use Megan’s three MUSTS, or like me prefer to place activities within the quadrant system, recognizing which tasks are most important will help you navigate the day with success, and feel like you have really achieved something at the end of each day. Those most important, often excessively big, tasks, are the ones that hang over your head like a storm cloud and hike up your stress levels, preventing you from being productive and effective with the tasks that are in front of you.
Learn to recognise which tasks are urgent and important, which are important but not urgent, which are neither urgent nor important, and which are urgent and NOT important! Then prioritize the important but not urgent tasks above the others – these are always the ones that get pushed to the side, but which are really necessary to keep you working effectively and optimally!
It’s Going to be a Challenge!
Managing your time in an ever changing world is not easy. Not only does the global situation keep throwing us curveballs, but our lives are also evolving and changing on a personal level as we grow and expand ourselves, our personal and our work lives. Always be patient and kind to yourself, take this moment you are in, and use it to develop your skills, on a personal, professional and business level. Always remember to keep learning, keep growing, and strive to improve in all areas of your life.
Take time in self-reflection, assess your areas of weakness and strength, and from there tackle them with positivity and enthusiasm!
And above all, remember that you are not alone. We are all in this together, one profession, one community of Vetrehabbers ♥️