In a previous post, I shared how to find in your busy morning to do the things that are important to you. Today I want you to think about what you should and what you shouldn’t be doing in those first few hours of the day. I am not a fan of the word “should” as it tends to feel heavy and out of alignment.
That’s an important idea to ponder. So often you get stuck in a rut or a routine and do things because that’s what you’ve always done. You do it without really thinking about whether or not it’s the best use of your time. And because you were told at some point that you “should”!
It’s Not About Cramming More Things Into Less Time
Making over your morning isn’t about figuring out how to cram more tasks into fewer hours. When you read books and articles on productivity and time management, that’s often the main message and gist of it. While it can help in the short term, it isn’t a good long-term strategy for meaningful change. Very soon you’ll hit the limit of how much faster and how much more efficient you can get. One of the biggest challenges I had was to do all the things in 8-10 hours a day only to find myself ready to nap within 3 or 4 hours.
It’s time to shift your thinking and don’t try to add to what you do in the morning. If you want 15 minutes for bible study, meditation, or exercise, don’t just think about getting up 15 minutes earlier, or shaving 15 minutes off your morning routine by showering faster, getting dressed in record time, and rushing through breakfast. In other words, don’t add to your already lengthy list of things that need to get done. You’ll only feel more rushed and stressed if you do.
Also and this bears repeating: Know what you want your mornings to look and feel like. You decide what you want to do for your morning routine, not what you should be doing. There are still things that are in need of you getting them done, but let’s not start your day that way!
It’s About Making Smart Choices About Using Your Time
Instead, what you want to be thinking about is the best use of your time in the morning. Compare your perfect morning with your current morning routine. What aren’t you doing on your ideal morning? If you can start by cutting things out, finding time to do what’s important to you becomes much easier. Sometimes you add things to your routine that aren’t even necessary!
There are two great ways to find things you can stop doing. The first is to look for busy work. This is something you do out of habit that doesn’t necessarily need doing every day. Maybe it’s checking your email first thing in the morning or playing around on Facebook for half an hour while you drink your coffee. If that’s how you choose to spend your time, that’s perfectly fine, but if you’re doing it out of habit it may be time to rethink it.
The second way to quickly earn back time is to see if you’re doing things or others that they can do themselves. Kids are the perfect example, and I talked about this a little bit in this post here.
We start out fixing their breakfast, making their lunch, cleaning up after them, picking out their clothes, and making sure their backpack is packed and ready to do. When they are very small, we have to do these things, but all too often we continue to do them long after they’re capable of doing things on their own. The same goes for things we do for our spouse. Your spouse is capable and can manage his/her own time in order to get the coffee going.
Did things change and if so, is it time to lighten your load and get help from your partner?
A few small changes may be all it takes to make the time in your busy morning for what’s important to you.
Check out my mini-training for effective planning!
Are you a multi-passionate, multi-faceted individual?
Do you have lots of interests, passions even?
Are you finding it difficult to figure out what to do first and you end up doing nothing at all?
All too often you may hear that you should focus on ONE thing. I call bullshit!
Because we don’t have an inability to focus but struggle to decide. And sacrificing one of our passions is like going through a hell.
For multi-passionate focusing on one thing is just like giving them a death sentence. We are passionate about so many things, that denying just one – no thanks!
The key to making it all work is truly a personal journey of fitting the pieces together. I am going to share the things I do and maybe you can find a way to make it work for you.
Let’s call it the multi-passionate guide to getting things done!
Ready? Okay, here we go!
Think about what you want your week to be like and feel like.
Emphasis on the feeling! This is an important piece to know as this will allow you to structure your week in a way that feels good. Get visual and write it out. Include the things you want to do and what you want to experience.
Do you want to create art? Go into nature? Work on your business? Go on a date? Have a massage or spa day? Read a book?
Yes, you can have time for all those things once you know what it is that you would like to create.
How much time to you want to spend on each of those things?
Now figure out how much time you want to spend on creating art, being in nature or work on/in your business. Do you want to spend a whole day doing art? Do you want to work in your business 4, 6 or 16 or more a week?
I spend about 6-8 hours working my business 5 days a week. This includes connecting on Facebook, writing blog posts, talking with clients and working on client projects. I prioritize my day around client projects first and then my own activities.
I dedicate one full day to art and sometimes I make it two days. And then sometimes I add on an hour or so during the week.
Plan your day accordingly.
At the end of my work-ish day, I spend time planning the next day. I look at the things that I need to get done for clients, for my own business and whatever else I want to make room and time for. Remembering all the things I want to be, do, have and create helps me support my many passions. Multi-passionate type does well tapping into intuition.
Do the things!
And then, of course, you should execute and follow through on your plans and actions. Sitting around, scrolling through Facebook for hours on end, isn’t exactly getting things done. Decide, again connect with your intuition, what is important right now. The key to filling your passions and living is to do them!
Sometimes, multi-passionate lets a project go to the wayside, just to pick it up later again. This is okay, seriously!
For me sometimes is to look at all the things I want or need to do and then batch my time accordingly. I spend a few hours creating content, writing blog posts and schedule them out. This gives me room and time to create and do other things and not feel overwhelmed on client days.
This is roughly what my week looks like for the moment.
I begin every day with journaling to clear the clutter in my head, to create focus, acknowledge my gratitude and so on. Content creation is anything from blog posts, social media posts or course development.
Content creation is anything from blog posts, social media posts or course development.
You’ll note the weekend isn’t included here. Weekends are for more art, for family time and unless we don’t have anything plant, I may do some work. Also, note that I tend to stop working at dinner time unless I am so incredibly inspired that it cannot wait. After dinner, it’s yard or housework, family time and just chills out time.
Does setting a schedule to feel ridiculous to you after venturing into the world of entrepreneurship?
I mean, after all, you started your business because you wanted to set your own schedule, right?
Do you feel like you are not getting anything done or are you spending so much time in your business or with your family that you are not finding time for yourself?
My boundaries overlapped for a long time, leaving me tired and drained from the energy to get anything done. I learned early on that having a schedule would be the only way that I could get anything done.
Every Sunday evening, I sit down and plan and review my week about the actions and activities in my business I will be focusing on but also on how I want to feel and how I will take care of my family and myself.
Rome was not built in one day, and neither will your business. Your family can’t run without you and you will do yourself no good if you don’t learn to recharge.
I got to bed at the same time every night, usually around 10 p.m. I get up at 6 a.m. every morning to get my day going (journaling, running, coffee drinking).
I have a massage once a month, get together with my friends on a regular basis, create art and anything else that makes me feel good.
I don’t work past a certain time, this way I am not feeling like I work 24 hours a day, alas creating my freedom within my own boundaries to success.
So, here are some things you can do to create boundaries around your business, family and for yourself:
- Plan your week, since my week begins Monday, I will do this Sunday evening
- Create a theme for the week
- Plan the days you will be writing, working on something new, client schedule
- Review each day the night before, it really helps you be prepared
- Set work hours, family time and personal time, don’t forget to include breaks & lunch
- Schedule in down time for yourself to recharge i.e. Spa day, movie night etc.
- Take days off – if you work 7 days a week, you will burn out!
I want to hear from you on how will create your freedom by setting boundaries!
When do you sleep?
This is one of those questions I hear a lot when I tell people what I do with my time.
Between running raising children, writing, coaching, working and creating art it can look like that my day is nonstop busy. One of my challenges is to do nothing or just watch mindless television. It really is one of those things I am not good at – and I am at peace with this as I find myself care necessity through other ways like running or getting together with my best friend. As a matter of fact, I just went to a concert and yea there was no work or creating getting done. It was complete shutdown from all the things that keep me busy most days.
In past years, I attempted some rigid scheduling but one of the challenges that my personal life required flexibility as my youngest child had lots of doctors’ appointments at one point and I never knew when we would end up at the doctors or even the emergency room. Since then I have explored various tools and modalities of scheduling things to get work done.
I had a fabulous planner that had room for brainstorming, how I want to feel and priorities but I know have a HUGE whiteboard in my office in which I will brainstorm ideas and projects and leave them on there. This will give me a few days to “marinate” on the thoughts and ideas and then I transfer them to their notebooks.
These days I realize that I need to allow myself some flexibility and spontaneity and my current system seems to be working well because I make use of various apps that I can access anywhere to get some writing done if that is on my list.
So here is what I do:
Beginning of the month
I review my projects that I want or need to work on. I list all my tasks, events, study time and research topics. From here, I prioritize what needs to get done in the first week, the second week and so on. I allow myself days for batch content creation and break down the bigger projects too much more suitable steps. I schedule in the blocks that I am leaving open to clients, fun time and self-care time.
I review my progress on my projects and set the intentions for the week. I cross them off as things are done on my list.
Every evening I sit down and go over what I need to do the next day. I go for 10 actions a day which is usually a combination of to-do’s, events and other tasks such as writing time. I give each project a time frame helping me focus on what I am trying to achieve. If I have a client or an event the other 9 actions will be much smaller than on days where I don’t meet with anyone.
At the end of the month
I review my list from the beginning of the month and cross off everything I got accomplished. Whatever did not get done carries over, and sometimes I even have repeat projects or things to like you know the dreaded laundry.
Allowing me to plan my month in increments gives me the opportunity to plan for work and fun without the burnout.
A crisis is anything that falls out of the routine and makes you scramble to find some balance and organization.
Overnight, I heard my youngest kiddo run to the bathroom several times as well as getting sick the same amount of times – and because he is my kid with some extra medical needs, I need to pay closer attention – although I think this is about the food he ate rather than him being ill. Yep challenge is gauging when he’s hungry, which is always – hello steroid!
Anyway, even though I talk about planning all the time, I am not always great on my own follow through, which gives you then the insight why you should have a backup plan.
Of course, when your child is sick and you work from home – well you don’t really need one. But when you have to leave the house to go to work, well a backup plan is highly recommended. Some folks I know have great bosses that acknowledge sick days – other’s not so much.
Here I am – tired as can be and calling reinforcements to help watch my son. It’s just one of those days I can’t be at home and make it happen – and while I don’t have anything planned about, I managed with the support of others to make sure my son did not have to go to school feeling all tired and ill. But this is where my tip comes in!
Have a backup plan for when you cannot stay home.
Create your Colorful Life
Talk to friends and family about watching the littles so you can be at work – make sure they know you will call them in an emergency. Look for an emergency childcare provider.
Talk to your boss about what happens if my child gets sick – what are your options. Leave calling out as your last option
There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to a sick child and wondering how you are going to show up for work and who is going to care for your child.
Planning for crisis is just as important as a creating a business plan or maintaining a calendar for all the week’s to-dos.