Your alarm goes off, you stumble to the bathroom, and what do you do next?
Nothing for me before coffee!
What is it for you?
The act of making coffee (or insert your thing here) is a habit. I could do it blindfolded.
Dump out yesterday’s grinds, fill up the water tank, tap the new grinds into a fresh filter, and push start without even thinking. It’s hard-wired into your brain.
What if you could create any habit that’s as effortless as brewing coffee? Yep, even daily exercise.
Today I’m not going to delve into how to create a habit. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, is the guy to go see to dive deep on this one.
Let’s look at tracking habits because it’s the secret sauce to keeping a good habit:
Am I right to guess we’ve all spent more time indoors this year than we ever imagined we would? Did you ever think we would be here?!
It’s changed the way we work and relate to each other.
My work requires a deep focus. Time I need to be in my head and with my thoughts. I’ve played around with tech that helps me get into that deep focus, but today I’m diving even deeper into the tools. There’s some fancy stuff to get your head in the game.
First, here’s the two I’ve been using forever:
Honestly, it’s been so long that I’ve been using this app, I forget how I stumbled across it. I can’t sleep without the pink noise sound, and I’ve trained my family to like it too. Bonus, when we go on vacation I can crank it up and drown out all the noises everyone makes in their sleep.
I’ve also used their mix pad to create the...
Ever feel pressure to complete a task as time ticks by on a stopwatch? Our focus can be intense when you add the element of time.
In the name of research, I devoted a day to using the Pomodoro method. Will I ever be able to finish a project again? I work from home and thanks to coronavirus so do my husband and 2 kids. Oh yes, and our giant Labradoodle Rudy.
Not the most productive environment.
Here’s how my day went:
First Pomodoro 6:28 am
This was a late start. I usually start my mornings at 6 am, but we spent the night before soaking in the last few bits of summer vacation. And you guys know how I feel about sleep.
The second stumbling block was my phone didn’t charge overnight. I had planned on using Focus Keeper on my phone, but that wasn’t an option.
A quick google search brought me to Tomato-Timer It was easy to use working for my desktop. I loved the little countdown timer...
“Give the bike ahead of you a 30-second lead.” the guides would shout each time our group would take off for a new destination. This space between bikes would allow the dust to settle, but it's also a precaution to prevent crashes.
We were on a downhill waterfall mountain bike tour. If the teenager takes off right behind me, there’s no time for him to respond when I have to slow down to yell at my kids to stop arguing over goldfish crackers.
The spacing is a buffer to keep us safe. And inhaling less dust is a BONUS!
Do you build 30 seconds of space into life?
You probably need more than 30 seconds because unfortunately, life is more than just chasing waterfalls.
Let’s take this blog post, for example. I’ve been writing weekly posts for years and depending on the subject, I know it will take me about 2 hours to write a single post.
I plan on 3 hours of writing time each week as a buffer. ...
Last night I laid in bed pretending to sleep for hours. I knew I wouldn’t sleep and probably should have taken a sleeping pill. Those pills I save for special occasions like last night when I know my mind won’t shut down.
Today is our school district’s deadline to decide if we want to enroll our kids in virtual academy for the first trimester. (Since I wrote this just last week, this option has disappeared. Every day the only constant seems to be change.)
Unclear seems to be the theme of Back to School 2020. Let’s cut through this fog together. Most of us have been through some version of remote learning last Spring.
I challenge you to stay productive. Starting next Monday, August 3rd I will post daily back to school productivity tips. Join me and share how you are working around the obstacles and still soldering forward to make progress on your dreams.
Guess what?! We’ve got enough anxiety in our lives so...
Last week I got a text inviting me to a neighbor’s 40th birthday zoom call. Poor girl, I thought. A milestone birthday in quarantine. That’s not fair.
Then I read the fine details and it said to plan on staying on the call for an hour and a half. What? I liked this girl but spending 90 minutes of my Saturday on a Zoom call with strangers (I didn’t recognize any other number in the group text) no thank you!
I peeked at my calendar and smiled. The call landed on the day we leave for vacation.
Saved by the calendar. (I love my digital calendar. Here's a guide on how I've set it up.)
What if that space in my calendar was free? Have you ever said yes to something just because your calendar was empty? Stop that!
Let me introduce you to time chunking (aka time blocking). Its a system for making appointments with yourself every day so you can focus your energy on the most important things. Divide your day into blocks forcing...
How often have you wished for more time? Time to watch the waves crash on the beach with your family, time to finish the project before the deadline, or time to work on your passions.
There was a calendar proposed in the early 1900s that gave us 13 months. No joke! The Kodak Company used it until the late 80s.
I can’t wave the magic wand and create time, but I can share the wonder of moving to a digital calendar. Right now you’re about to click away because you’re already using that calendar on your phone. But are you getting the most out of it?
Color-coded categories allow you to assign different calendars to the unique roles you play in life. Purple for mom, green for self, and yellow for business. Plus, it adds some pops of color.
Every other Thursday at 4 pm, my son has to get allergy shots. I only had to put this into my calendar one time and tick the little...
Somehow you drug yourself out of bed at 5 am to capture those golden hours of the morning while the house is quiet. Determined to make progress on your top priorities, you take a seat at your desk.
Then you sit. Staring at a blinking cursor, and your mind replays the events of last weekend. Why did you discuss conspiracy theories with your friends at the BBQ? “Now they all think I’m a nut job. I need to call and apologize,” you say to yourself.
STOP! You’ve just spent ten minutes reliving last Saturday and you’ve made zero progress on the content calendar that’s due tomorrow. You did not get up before the sun for this.
You need to keep focus, but how?
Let’s look at some tactics to get you into that blissful flow state.
I’ll go first and admit I’ve eaten lunch at my desk more often than not during workdays. In the name of productivity,...
Every night before bed, I grind coffee for the next day. I’m a coffee snob and fresh ground tastes so much better. The grinder is LOUD and would wake up my household if I set it off at the crack of dawn when I get up.
If I forget, then I’m stuck drinking instant coffee. GROSS!
The coffee grinder is a key player in my shut down ritual. It sets me up for a great day. The rest of this ritual includes reviewing my calendar for tomorrow, choosing my top 3 priorities, and setting my clothes out for the next day. All of this takes only a few minutes.
The morning brings another set of routines. I start with coffee (of course) while it’s brewing I meditate. A fresh cup of coffee in hand, I settle into my cozy office chair and read. Then I will journal and if there’s time left before the clock strikes 6:30 I will stretch and stare at my inspiration board.
We define routine as, “commonplace tasks,...
Variety is the spice of life, but when’s the last time you grabbed the pepper grinder?
We all get stuck in ruts, especially with making progress on our goals. There you are at the bottom of a deep well. Sitting in the dirt. Looking up to the greener pastures above. You’ve tried to claw your way to the top, but you just keep ending up with your butt on the ground and dirt beneath your nails.
It’s time to change your game. Here are some unusual time strategies that just might work:
I saw that eye roll. Keeping a log is the death of so many diets. I will ask anyway. Try it for just one week.
Here’s a list of apps to make it easier. Or, you could just take notes the old-fashioned way. Whatever you chose, this will give you a detailed look into how you spend your time and where it’s wasted.
This goes against what that little voice in your head is telling...