How to fit fun into your busy life

I have a tendency to turn everything into work. Even the things I love to do. Just like posting on this blog. I love to sit and write to you the great and wider world. I love to spill out my thoughts and have people comment and be inspired by my words. Yet if I don’t write it on my to do list I forget to do it and make it important. The catch 22 is that as soon it’s on my list it becomes work. A chore. Now I know this is partly due to my own attitude to the to-do list but I think it is also that in a day where there are many things to do and have to be done life tends to feel like a chore. There is a distinct lack of fun in a busy every day.

I am not alone in feeling like this. There are many of us out there that have busy lives that without considered thought and a little focus can just feel like funless constant work. That is er…. No fun. (Apologies for lack of vocabulary. It is Monday). So what to do about it? Because at the end of the day the reason your days are busy is that there are so many things that have to be done and you want to do. How to find the balance between that and having fun?

Prioritise

Firstly in order to have more fun, we need to decide that fun is equally as important as work, housework and all the other things we have to do/want to do. If we don’t prioritize fun then we won’t get it.

Attitude change

Now as I said my challenge is that I tend to think of everything as work. And to be fair I have a lot of work. However, it’s as  Thomas Edison said “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”  Now that doesn’t mean Mr Edison never worked. He just thought of it as fun. I find the art of thinking something is fun without analysing it difficult. So I have looked at my daily weekly and monthly activities and identified which of these I find fun. Even though its a purely theoretical exercise, it has helped me to see that I do actually have more fun than I thought in my life.

Leave work at work

One of the greatest tricks I have found as an entrepreneur is to leave work at work. I have a signpost on my office door that I turn around for when I am working and when I am done. I have strict office hours and when it is 5 o’clock the day is done. I also do the same thing with household chores if it is not done by 19:00 then it is not getting done that day. The last 3 hours of the day are for fun, however, I need it at that time. Some evenings include no chores (apart from clearing the table). Mentally or even physically leaving your jobs in the jobs time means that you get to fee and experience having more time.

Find ways of making chores fun

Now there are not many people in the world who enjoy household chores (my mother in law is the exception). So a great way to have more fun is to find ways to make boring things fun. A friend once told me that when she scrubs the toilet she scrubs it with love. It always makes me laugh as I do this now. I have an upbeat cleaning music playlist I use to dance around in the house as I clean. Singing whilst driving to work is another great one. Or simply using your commuting time for the game you love on your phone or reading.

Give yourself time for daily fun

Set aside at least 10 minutes to have fun. I like to try and include something fun or silly on my to-do list every day. It helps me keep the fun in my life a priority.

Start your day happy

Starting the day badly can affect every moment of that day.  Make a conscious effort to start the day in a way that makes you feel happy. I use the time to do my gratitude practice and read one chapter of whichever personal development book I am reading at that particular time. It combines two of my favourite activities of writing and reading. Mr T the health nut starts his day with training.

Schedule pleasure

In a 14 day period schedule some pleasure time to do a fun activity that fills at least an hour. You can schedule a free evening if you want just to do something spontaneously fun or you can decide beforehand what would be fun to do.

Create a play box

I love this idea. As a child we have toy boxes so why not have an adult play box. Put in things that are fun activities you like to do. A play box is a go-to resource for those days where you need a fun boost. Another way is making playlists of things you want to watch on youtube or on Netflix.

On a bad day vitto a chore and do something fun

Having a bad day? Then look at your todo list and vitto something not fun for a mood-lifting fun activity. It doesn’t have to take long. 20 mins fun can turn your motivation and mood around so that a rubbish day becomes fantabulous!

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If you feel like you are not having enough fun in your busy life. Choose one of the above and make it important to do in the next 3 days. Actively seeking and having fun will make life more enjoyable not just for you but for the people around. No matter how demotivated you feel, have a go. I promise you that by making yourself have fun, life will start to feel fun once more!

Have fun this week 🙂

 

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Lengthen your day with time management

Finally, the days are getting longer. The sun is shining and our spirits are lifted. However, for some, life still feels like a constant treadmill of never-ending tasks. There is never enough time to do all you need to do let alone, to do want to do. You can relate I’m sure. I have had many clients in the last few weeks who feel this way. They all want to be more productive. To step off the treadmill and feel energized and most of all have time to spare. The impossible dream right? Wrong!

The simple fact is that either the day runs you, or you run your day. If you want to have more time you need to be the boss of your day. And that means a structure, routines, and planning. I can feel some of you out there cringing. The idea of following a structure seems unnatural and constricting. However, I promise you that by consciously structuring your life and building routines you will actually free yourself up and give yourself even more time. Now I can also hear some of you saying I don’t have time to sit down and plan my day, week or month. To you, I say you these few minutes a day will give you more time than you thought possible.

Time management is one of the most common challenges I solve with coaching. And one of the things to keep in mind is that there is no one fix formula that works for everyone. We are all different and therefore we need different systems. Some of us like to keep things regimented, some like more flexibility. Some people have a system but don’t know how to prioritize. Some people just need a regular routine. If you want more time I have a sure-fire strategy that will help you to approach the challenge of lengthening your day and creating more time for yourself in only 6 weeks. And why 6 weeks I hear you ask? Because to make the long-lasting change, you need to make strong foundations. 6 weeks gives you enough time to find out what works for you and how to fit it into your life. Here is the 6-week strategy to get you started.

Lengthen your day 6 week  strategy

Week 1: Create some routines

Have a look at your week. Write it down, What tasks do you have to do every week. How often do you do these things now and how often do you have to do them? If you shop for food every day, could you cut it down to 3 times a week or once a week? Can you do your washing in one day or two? Do you really have to hoover daily or can you do this once a week? Does it take time to decide what to make for dinner? Can you make a food plan or pre-make the weeks food on a Sunday? Make a week scheme for your weekly tasks. Put this somewhere you can see it and try it out. You may find you need to play with it a bit over the next few weeks to make it fit in a natural way but keep going. Routines save so much time. Keep this habit routine for the full 6 weeks.

Week 2: To do lists

Each morning at breakfast make a todo list. (Personally, I find it helpful to make a weekly to-do list just so I have a place to store all the things I have to remember and then I make my daily lists from this). Don’t overbook yourself. 3 to 5 things to start off with is fine. Don’t worry if you don’t get everything done. 70% achieved is perfect anything above that is a bonus. If you only manage one thing then check in with yourself. Do you need a break?

I highly recommend prioritizing your task load. Using a system such as ABCDF (see Step 4) or the Spoons theory (This is a system for people with mental health issues that ANYONE can use, just create your own spoons system). Both are great ways to check in with your time and energy. And use it productively.  

Week 3 and 4:  Try a time management technique

There are lots of great systems to help you manage your time. Choose one of the following and do it for two weeks. People say 14 days is enough time to create a new habit. I say it’s enough time to try out a new habit and see if you like it or not. Review the system you chose. Does it work? Can you tweak it to make it fit your life better? Or does it simply not work for you?

Time blockinghttps://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/ (Some of my clients like to block the hours to specific tasks others like to use colors to block out the day and then choose their tasks)

Todist aphttps://en.todoist.com/app?lang=en (I love this app, it has improved my efficiency 100%)

Do it tomorrow – Try Mark Foster’s simple and effective system https://www.time-management-success.com/how-to-improve-time-management.html

Zen to Done– a habit changing, flexible system

https://zenhabits.net/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-productivity-system/

 

Week 5 to 6: Try another time management technique

So if you have found a way to tweak last weeks system then try out the new version. If it hasn’t worked for you then try a different technique. Don’t forget to review it. By now your routine will be formed and you will have better prioritizing skills. You may find that that is enough for you to have more time. You may find that you really benefit from using a specific system.


Now all you have to do is continue the great habits you have formed in the last few weeks and enjoy the extra time you have on your hands and do something you really want to do. Or alternatively kick back relax and do nothing at all!  Tune in on Friday for this weeks #lifelesson101 with tried and tested tips and tricks for easing into healthy time management and creating the time you want!

Have a great week <3

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Need more time, just plan your day and free yourself!

Planning. I know, I know we hear it all the time. If you plan your day life is simpler. I used to rail at the idea. I was absolutely no-one is going to tell me what to do, even if it is me telling me what to do! I wanted spontaneity. And I got it. Things popped up sporadically constantly and eventually I got bogged down by the chaos. In fact I got trapped by it. Ironically by not structuring my life I lost the very freedom I had been fighting to maintain. And along came the opportunity to structure my life and my days. And voila within a month or two I had more time, more energy, more breaks and was 10 times more effective. I felt freer than I had done for years. And I felt, and still do feel; in charge of my life, what’s not to love!

So how do you take charge and start to make order of the chaos? Well there are many brilliant books out there that will help you do this. My personal favourite is Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, an absolute master of planning. Not only does he offer effective and simple ways to organise your day, he advocates smart energy use which offers flexibility and the opportunity for spontaneity to come into one’s planning. And that really is the key to being organised is to be structured and flexible. I have used my system for at least 10 years now and I find it really helps keep me focused and has the added bonus of showing me my achievements every month. Here I outline the basic strategy I use. It sounds a lot at first but once you put this system in place it soon becomes a quick and easy habit and makes so much of a difference to your time and energy in the day.

My 3 part daily planning system

You might be thinking 3 parts wh, what! But don’t worry you don’t need to make 3 to do lists per day.  

Step 1 – The month list

The first part of the system comprises of making a monthly list of everything that you need to get done that month. And I am not just talking about what you have to do. I am also talking about the things you want to do. I have a notebook in which every month I use only 2 pages to fill out what I want and have to do that month. I divide it into sub headings of Work, Life (doctors etc), Me and Social. The Me part is really important it is sooo easy to forget ourselves in the planning so make you a focus.

Step 2 – The weekly list

The second part of my system is the weekly list. Every Monday with my morning barley coffee, I sit and make a week list from my month list.  Its actually really satisfying to cross off what I have achieved in my notebook and write a list for my desk for the whole week. I get to check in with my progress and remind myself how awesome I am for achieving so much!

Step 3 – The daily structure

The last and final part is the daily plan. I actually have a table I made in word and have printed off so I can fill it out ( I love the old fashioned pen and paper) however you could do this on the computer or via an app. I simply block out my day in time slots and fill in the appropriate actions using my week list.  The form I have made has areas pre-made for breaks and relaxation such as my 30 mins reading before bed or 15 mins in the massage chair when I get home.

After this I just follow my day’s plan. It really is as simple as that. Of course sometimes things go wrong or the unexpected happens so adjust. The important thing to remember is the 70% rule.

The 70% rule of planning

I got taught this by a danish pædagog. He said that it is almost impossible to achieve 100% of our goals per day, everyday. Expecting this is setting ourselves up for a fail and we eventually lose motivation. So his take on it is that by achieving 70% on our days wish list that is the same as achieving 100% of all our goals. It should be thought of as being the same accomplishment and having the same value as a 100%. By doing this it relaxes the mind. You feel less stressed by knowing its ok to achieve only 70% and after while you find that you are actually achieving much more than 70% but without stress.

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Taking 5 to 10 mins every day to know what you are going to do and when in your day makes life easier. It frees you from the task of remembering everything in your head and frees you from making decisions when you are tired later in the day. By using the 70% rule and checking off your lists you become more grounded and conscious of your achievements. And if you plan for it you find that you will free up your time so that you too can enjoy your journey, re-energise and relax when you need it. Take 5 minutes for you today and see how much easier it can be when you make a plan.

Plan your life like you will live foreverLive your life like it will end tomorrow