I need help. I need to reread the book I co-authored. I need to take my own advice and get back to the basics. Here’s why:
I’ve been feeling really out of sorts lately. And, that’s putting it mildly. Since my kids went back to school after winter break, I’ve felt unfocused and unproductive and a bit like I’m frozen or, worse, like I’m sinking in quick sand. I can’t think of a great way to describe it but if I had to sum it up in one word, I guess you could call it blah.
I know it’s partly to do with winter. It’s not my favorite season since I’m always cold to start with. Plus, once the fun of the holidays is over, I’m just ready for spring. Can’t we all agree to just skip January and February?
But, winter comes every year and I don’t remember feeling this “off” the last several years so there has to be something else going on, too.
We talk in the book about all sorts of important things: priorities, boundaries, values, etc. We also offer a very simple exercise on matching your priorities and values with the way you spend your time. Thinking about that, I decided to do the exercise for myself.
Well, guess what I discovered? I’ve drifted. I’ve stopped using some of the techniques that help me manage both my time and my competing roles. My calendar over the last couple of months has not at all reflected what’s most important to me or the values I hold dear. Ironically, I’ve become the perfect audience for Moms Mean Business.
The good news is that this is all so very fixable. All I really need is to do is make a few tweaks to my routines, create a “win the day” list each morning, and put my boundaries (mostly boundaries from myself) back in place. After I make those small changes, I know that I’ll feel a million times better.
Let me illustrate.
Here’s what I’ve been doing that isn’t working:
- Letting house-related things like dishes and laundry distract me from work.
- Focusing on several things at a time without accomplishing any of them.
- Checking emails frequently from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.
- Not being clear about what I want to accomplish for the day.
- Numbing myself with mindless TV and mindless snacking.
- Skipping workouts.
And, here are the easy fixes:
- Set work hours and non-work hours and stick to them. That means, no emptying the dishwasher when I’m working and no checking work emails when I’m hanging out with my kids or taking some me-time.
- Scheduling time for the important tasks on my calendar and focusing on just one task at a time.
- Checking emails a few times a day and only a few times a day. (Did you know that every time you check your email, your body gets a hit of stress hormones? Seems like we’d want to limit that…)
- Making a reasonable “win the day” list each morning so that I can check things off and feel accomplished.
- Choosing which TV shows are really important to me and then watching them without guilt–and without a phone or laptop nearby.
- Eating healthy meals and consciously choosing a treat or two if I really want it.
- Scheduling workouts and walks throughout the week and then actually doing them. (I have the scheduling part down in this category, it’s just getting off my butt that sometimes doesn’t happen.)
This is not rocket science but it’s such a good reminder about how easy it is to get off track. Just going through the motions of this exercise has made me feel better already. And, once I’m actually making these changes, I know I’ll feel even better.
Want a time makeover of your own? Email me at email@example.com. You could be featured in a future blog post.