#lifelessons101 – Get more time in your day by simplifying your eating routine (3 min read)

Recently I gave a workshop about habit forming and how forming a routine in life can both give you more time and lessen the effects of decision fatigue. (Mental fatigue from having to make too many decisions). Now as this workshop progressed I noticed something. No matter how much I encouraged or suggested different ways of minimising decision fatigue (such as capsulizing your wardrobe or limiting your options, eg give yourself three options no more) they kept returning to the ides of food. Be it food shopping. Food preparation. Food planning.

Now, this could have been for three reasons.

One they were hungry. (Well it was a morning workshop so possible.)

Two they were unimaginative. (Considering that I was in one of the most prestigious creative companies in the country this is doubtful.)

Or three, that changing our approach to eating, to shopping and food preparation is actually one of the best and easiest ways to give us more time in an overwhelming busy day.

When you think about it. It makes sense one of our primary basic biological needs, (as described at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid of needs)  is one of the easiest to create a system from. (I guess it’s a survival thing.) Now think about it.

How much time and energy do you use on food in your life?

There is the planning of the shopping list, the actual shopping, always harder and more expensive when you do it hungry. Then there is the choosing of what you want to eat, deciding how to make it, maybe having to shop for the thing you forgot for that recipe, the prepping, the cooking. Then, of course, the best part, the eating. And then the worst. The cleaning up. And this is something we do every day. At least 3 – 5 times a day.

How much time in your day is that?

What if you shop every day?

Cook something different every night?

Honestly, when you think about it, it’s a mental exhausting list. All those decisions you have to make, often on autopilot. And all the time that gets used. Now I am not saying you should eat less often to get more time. That would be dumb. If the body doesn’t refuel then you can’t do anything properly or well and the extra time would become useless. What I suggest is changing the way you approach your food making process, change your habits (a little or a lot depending on what works for you) and give yourself less mental fatigue and more time.

Sounds great! I can hear you asking how? Well, the honest answer is there is no one fix solution for everyone. However, here is a few suggestions on how you can condense your food habits based on my own and my client’s experience. I recommend try 1 or 2, and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t come back and try something else. And if you get a genius inspired idea that is not mentioned here please post it in the comments so we can all be inspired by you!

Meal Plan

I cannot recommend this enough. I don’t have a meal plan for every meal of the day. (You will see why below) However, I do make a weekly meal plan for dinner. This is practical as Mr T is not vegetarian and I am so there is always 2 different versions of a dinner to cook. Having a meal plan means we can simplify that process. So we are having the same type of dinner on with meat and one without. One of the great thing about having a meal plan is that it makes your grocery shopping list easier to follow and you have fewer decisions to make in the supermarket, so your trip is quicker. Saves time, money and stress. How many things can you say that about in life!

Favourite Food/Meals list

This is a great idea. Especially for people who get caught up in projects or have a low appetite under stress and cannot think what they might like to eat. The basic idea is to write a suggested list of the meals you like to eat. You can do this for every meal time if you like. Then you use that list to help you decide what to eat. You can also use it conjunction with your meal plan. I have done this when I wanted to change my diet to be more healthy so I had suggestions for wiser choices but were still in the realms of food I liked. I also used this when I have to find diabetic friendly versions of the foods that I wanted to eat when I got diagnosed with type 1. It makes the whole process of decision making easier and gives you a chance to check in with your eating habits.

Cook bigger portions

Don’t just cook for one night cook for 2, or three or even the whole week. It depends really on your food storage facilities. Now, this does mean that you will eat the same meal at least twice a week. ( So make something you like) However, it means you save time and can enjoy life more it’s a fair trade. Reheating something often takes less than 10 mins. Think 10 mins food prep instead of an hour. Wow! The great part is that this works really well for healthy meals like soup, casseroles, curries even chilli and spaghetti bolognese. So this can actually improve your eating habits too! In our house, we eat pretty much the same thing each weekday and then have something different or special on the weekend.

Designate a serve yourself /leftovers night

If you make bigger portions chances are you may have leftovers in the fridge. A great way to use them up and minimise food prep time. One of my clients has a serve yourself dinner each week. Basically, everyone in the house eats whatever they can find in the fridge. A genius way of clearing the fridge, not wasting food and keep food prep to a minimum.

I would recommend trying these nights at the end of the week when you know you have low energy and need more time to recharge your batteries than you need to stand in the kitchen for 45 mins making food.

Minimise your shopping trips

Shopping less saves time.  I shop once a week, many of my clients do the same. It frees up a massive amount of time. And if planned properly you can reduce your waiting time by avoiding the typically busier times in the supermarket. Make a list before you go so you know what you need. When it comes to grocery shopping I prefer the in and out attack plan, others prefer a more leisurely trip. Some prefer to shop twice a week. Or do a big shop and a quick top up shop.  

Try one new recipe a month

I love this one. As we often eat a lot of the same meals I like to try something new to spice it up. I am an avid collector of recipes books that used to collect dust on the shelf and do little else. Now each month I try and find something new and introduce this to my menu plan. It breaks the same old, same old rhythm, and means that I get a boost of productive energy by trying something new and creative,

Systemize breakfast and lunch

Breakfast and lunch are meals that you can make habitual. Mr T changes his lunch menu 4 times a year, yet has the same thing for breakfast every day. I like more variety and tend to go through phases of eating the same type of meals for lunch and breakfast. So for example at the moment I have toast for breakfast and as often as possible avocado, tomato with olive oil, salt and pepper for lunch. A  month or so ago I had omelettes for breakfast. On the weekend when I have more time I like to throw in something different and a little more time consuming but fun. The habit of systemising breakfast and lunch really reduces decision fatigue right at some of the busiest points of the day. Freeing your energy up to use in a more beneficial way.

Have a regular eat out day

Some of my clients have a regular eat out day. Either in the evening or at lunchtime. The same day every week at the times where they know their energy is low or their lives are busy. Eating out saves time as you don’t have to prep or wash up and gives you the opportunity to feel like you are spoiling yourself. A great energy booster.

It’s not always your job to cook

This one is really important. It really is not always your job to cook. Often when we live with other people we naturally fall into the role of who cooks and who doesn’t. In my childhood it was my Dad, these days it’s me. However, cooking 7 days a week is not fun. It’s work. (well for me it is). So we have made a fixed schedule in our house where we both know who is cooking and when. Now Mr T is not the most skilled cook in the world (he can seriously mess up egg ’n’ chips.) So to get around this challenge I taught him to make one dinner we both love. We have it every week on a Thursday. And the free time it gives me is a blessing. If scheduling who cooks when doesn’t work for you, you can share the cooking together. If I have to make a big portion of food on a Sunday Mr T will do the chopping, peeling and prep of the veg. We are both involved and  it saves us both time and energy.  

Now if you live alone it can be challenging to not be the one to cook. So I suggest finding someone to visit on a regular basis for dinner. Mr T goes to his Dad for dinner once a week. They have a great time catching up together and it’s one less dinner to cook. (I also get the house to myself – bliss!) If you don’t have parents you can or want to connect with what about making the arrangement with a friend. You could take it in turns each week. Freeing time and getting some social contact at the same time. And it is completely ok to get take away once in a while!

——————————————————————————

When you put your mind to it there are many ways you can free up your time and mental energy by systemising and structuring your eating habits. The possibilities are endless and with a little effort, you will find a structure that fits your lifestyle. Take 15 mins this weekend to give your eating and food habits a quick overhaul and see how much time and energy you can gift to yourself in the coming week.

Remember to share your ideas in the comments below

Have an amazing weekend <3

Give yourself more time, more energy and save yourself money at the same time - The easy way to simplify your food routine (1)

Advertisements

#lifelessons101 -My Tips and tricks for healthy time management (3 min read)

Time is our most valuable asset. We all feel as though we don’t have enough of it and we all want more. However the fact is that you can’t get more, there are only 24 hours in the day. And everyone on the planet has exactly the same amount of it. Kind of mind-boggling when you of you think of it like that. So how is it some people seem to have bags of time to spare and some people are always playing catch up? The answer is simple. Time management. The theme of this week’s focus has been time management and one Monday I showed you a week by week process of how you can become a master at time managing and give yourself “more time” by planning your time. (Read on here…)

It’s great to find a system to help you with time management. However, managing your time is as much a  mindset as it is a practice. So this week #lifelesson101 is full of tips and tricks I have found that changed my mindset to improve both time usage and time management skills.

Use your surplus time

You might be thinking what surplus time?! We all do in fact have time that we can put to better use it just takes changing your attitude to it and being aware of the opportunities. So have a look at your day. Where are you surplus time blocks? Travelling to work? Eating breakfast? The 45 mins between ending work and picking up the kids. These small points during the day can become great assets if we use them wisely. Breakfast time is a great point to throw in day planning activities, listening to podcasts or checking your email (no answering just checking). Commuting time can be used for ringing people on personal errands or just time to relax in an otherwise busy life. I love how my 2 hours commute became me-time when I live outside of and worked in Copenhagen so much that I actually avoided people I knew on the train to get that time to myself! When your plans go awry and suddenly you have some surplus time ask yourself how can I best use this time?

Energy patterns

You might not be aware of it, however, our physical energy usage has a pattern to it. And being aware of your energy makes for productive time management. For me, Thursdays are the day of the week where I have least energy so I minimize what I need to do on a  Thursday. Over a few weeks make a record in a diary of how you use your time and your energy levels. I recommend using the 1 (lots of energy) to 10 (no energy system). Just pop keywords in your diary and then note your energy down three times a day with a number. After 14 days have a look at your recordings and see if you can see a pattern. Knowing what you can and can’t do on certain days means you won’t plan in a way that pushes you into overwork mode.

Write it down

Whether you do this manually or digitally write your time management plans down. I use a combination of the two. I have a monthly to-do list in a book, a handwritten week schedule and then my favorite to do list app (Todoist) for my daily list. The point is you need to put your plans somewhere so you can free up your brain to focus on doing what you need to do.

Prioritise

Prioritise your time (and please relate it to how much energy you have). I recommend using the ABCDF system which is my own interpretation of Brian Tracey’s  ABCDE Priority system. It works as follows

A= has to be done today

B= can be done tomorrow

C= can be done next week

D= delegate

F= Forget it (this is not necessary right now)

However, I insist that when you use this system that A tasks also include self-care/ family time. We often tend to set work as an A task however you are the most important thing in your life. Without you these things won’t get done.  I use the 2 to 1 ratio. 2 A tasks for others (work/family etc) means one more A task to take care of me.

Do the worst thing first

We all have that big task hanging over us we keep putting off. Just get it done. Seriously nothing will make you feel better, lighter and happier than getting it out of the way. And when it’s done reward yourself by doing something you find fun!

Remember downtime

Take breaks. As I said earlier the commuting time might just be that you get 15  mins a day to read a book or talk with a friend. If you don’t plan and give yourself breaks you won’t have the time to recharge. If you are working on something that takes a lot of concentration take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes to keep yourself at optimal energy level. You can use apps such as Tide to help you remember when and how long for you need to take breaks.

Plan your social life as well as your work life

In a busy lifestyle it is easy to remember to plan work stuff, but it is easy to forget about your social life. How many parents out there schedule their children’s social activities but not their own? Pop social events into your calendar. Remember to include a skype or phone conversation with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time once a month.  Make sure your social activities are planned with breaks in between so you don’t get overloaded, or worse become that person that is always canceling. Buy planning your social life you keep it important.

Get support (remember to delegate or ask for help)

Being able to ask for help and delegate are two of the most important things we all need to learn. You are not a superhero (even though sometimes you are). Let me correct that,  you are not a superhero every day. Superheroes also need help, that’s why they have sidekicks. Delegating some of your load and asking for help when you need it is going to make your life easier and make sure you get more done. Your friends and family want to help and you’d do it for them. So ask.  

Saying yes to something means saying no to something else

As an entrapreneur this is hard to stomach. However, it is important to realise that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. As we said before time is infinite. You have to pick and choose your activities. Being aware of this simple fact will make you very conscious of when to say yes and when to say no. Use your ‘Yes’ wisely.

Remember you can’t do everything

Be kind to yourself. Time management is not about stressing you out or making you feel guilty for not doing things. The best-laid plans can go wrong. Life throws a curveball quite often. And we don’t have the same level of energy every day. So if you don’t manage everything it’s ok. I use the 70% is equal to 100% guideline. If I have done 70% of my days’ tasks I am happy with myself. Less than 30% is not the time to start beating myself up about not doing stuff. Less than 30% is a sign that I need to check in with myself and see if I am ok or not. It’s ok not to be able to do everything and if you aren’t able to do much then take care of yourself and your needs first.

——————————————————————————-

If you have a time management tip or trick that works for you please share it in the comments below. That way we can help ourselves and each other to make the most of the time we have

Have a great weekend <3  

Become the master of your own time.jpg

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

The bad news is time flies.jpg

#Lifelessons101- Slow down and be more productive this winter (3 min read)

Over the years I have had many different ways of managing my time ranging from the doing stuff every minute of every day and burning out, to getting to here, where I am now with a life structured around when I need to take breaks. I feel pretty balanced in my planning and I get stuff done, which I love. However in the last few weeks some well meaning people have been telling me to slow down some more. This has provoked a strong reaction in me one I didn’t really expect.

At first I went into the but I have been seriously focusing on taking breaks RECOGNISE MY EFFORTS mode. Then swiftly followed by the OF COURSE I AM NOT DOING TOO MUCH and the THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO HOW WILL I DO IT mode. However when I took a step back I realised if this has been said to me by more than 2 people then the universe was trying to communicate with me and I needed to listen. However as any self employed person knows it’s seriously challenging to wind down when there is a lot that you want to get done. So how can you slow down and at the same time be more productive?

Be organic and frugal with your time. No seriously, it’s true. In order to slow down and be effective we have to pay more attention to our bodies and our circumstances and make choices based upon those. In the last week I have been re thinking how to be productive but easier on myself and now here is my guide to help you take more care of you whilst getting stuff done during the hibernation period of the year.

Accept and surrender

First things first you have to accept that your mind, body and soul can’t do everything right now (I know, I hate this part too however it is seriously necessary.) Remember it’s not just you. Winter is a time for slowing down be you a plant or a human. This is hibernation time. One of the reasons I believe we get more stressed in the winter is that we are fighting the natural order of things and instead of slowing down we try to overcompensate and do too much. Nature doesn’t work like that and neither do we, that is the path to burn out. So accept it’s ok to slow down and surrender to this natural rhythm.

Pay attention to your body

Your body always has feedback for you we just have to listen. For a week or two observe your sleep patterns, your energy shifts, when you are focused, when your concentration is wobbling. Now look at the data you have observed and use this in your planning. If you are foggy headed every day between 9am and – 10am this not the time to be writing project proposals or having seriously important meetings. Simultaneously you might find out that on thursdays you are simply exhausted so going on a date that night is not the greatest idea. Plan your working day around your “golden hours” (your most effective time of day), and your need to wind down time. Especially make sure you give yourself breaks or easy days after you have had a social event. Winter makes being social more straining and trying to pack in a lot will end up draining you.

Say no more often

In the winter you don’t want to take on more than you can chew. People always seem to see the yuletide holidays as a down time yet when you think about it with all the prep, all the people, the shopping, the parties it’s not only santas busiest time of the year it’s also ours. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas the world is getting caught up in that rush. So think carefully about the work you take on. Say no more often than you do in the spring. A great trick is actually to ask yourself “why am I saying yes to this ?” It could simply be you are doing out of habit. Be careful with you “yeses”. It is a way of being more realistic with your time and energy.

Choose your tasks wisely and do them one at a time.

Multi tasking is out in the winter. Our brains are colder and therefore slower. If you are going to be productive you have to choose your tasks with care, prioritise and do them one at time.
I know multitasking is supposed to super effective however in the winter it often ends in two jobs getting done badly and a brain too busy to focus on one thing.

Disconnect

The world is hibernating, our bodies and minds need to hibernate too. Disconnecting from constant bombardment of social media gives us time to go internally and reboot. Try a week where you stay offline (phone, laptop and computer) for 30 mins each day and see how much better you feel.

Watch your sleep and your sun intake

Get sleep and sun. Both give us energy. Keeping your sleep habits in check during the winter is really important for our bodies. If you aren’t getting a full night’s sleep then look at your sleep habits and if you need to cat nap during the day. Equally getting our hit of vitamin d helps all of us feel happier. If you can’t get out in the sun then find a sun lamp or a local sauna that has this function. (And who is going to say no to a sauna in the middle of winter).When we are happy and rested we can be our most productive.

Relish your down time

Down time is precious, even more so in the darker half of the year. Make it special, Light those candles, treat yourself to that facepack or a cuddle on the sofa. Right now I have just given myself one of my favourite luxuries, a choco chai latte, (I even made Mr T one) and life feels so much cosier already!

Plan and implement a slow build up to Christmas that is non stressful

Last year I wrote my guide to planning a non stressful Christmas and in fact this system is so effective I am using it every month now. I won’t explain it here however if you want to not experience yuletide burn out and collapse during your holidays then read my article December without stress
Be kind to yourself

In winter you need to more lenient with yourself than at every other time of the year. So you still have to do list items not done at the end of the week. Sod it. Don’t focus on that focus on all the things you did and plan to get those tasks out of the week next week. And then allow yourself to have a break. Another great way to be kind to yourself is to ask for help. Winter is traditionally a time of community. Why? Well my theory is that we needed to band together to survive the winter, that need is still within us today. Two hands are definitely more powerful than one. So if you are getting overwhelmed reach out for help.

Create rhythm in your week

Create a rhythm to you week in terms of repeating tasks at the same time. Shopping, washing, answering emails or recycling, whatever are your repeating tasks each week create a structure (based on your energy cycle) where you do these things at the same time every week. By doing this and creating a habit of say doing the washing on a friday morning you will eventually use less energy as you do these tasks on auto pilot saving your energy for other things.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Slowing down does not have to mean you are less effective, it means making smart choices that are right for you. It is something no-one can really tell you how to do because when we take notice we all know our own bodily, career and life needs. Even if you adopt one of these habits you will find that you give yourself a gift of a little more energy this winter and after all we all love presents, right ?

Have a cosy weekend <3

Taking time todo nothing often brings everythinginto perspective

 

Do you want to be effective in your life? Then simplify !

Ever felt like a headless chicken running around in circles getting nowhere?  My life used to just like that. Every minute was filled up,  from the moment I awoke until the minute I went to bed. I did so many things that it used to stress Mr T out just watching me. And det with all the running around, never ending to do lists and the constantly on the go life style I didn’t feel like I really got anywhere. Sure I got things done, a lot actually, however time to relax, to have fun to enjoy life that simply wasn’t there. And if I did get time to relax I didn’t know what to do and felt guilty if I did. It was a vicious circle, an exhausting vicious circle. Do you know the feeling? It’s horrid. For me it actually lowered my self esteem because I never felt like I really got anywhere because there was always more to do.

That however was until I learned to simplify. Now don’t get me wrong I still do my to do lists and my goal setting, it’s just I simply do them with a different attitude.  Through Google- fu and some gentle coaching  I discovered that the way to simplify was made up of the three ‘r’s’ Rest, Repetition and  Rhythm. Honestly these three things have completely simplified my life, given me (and Mr T) peace as well makes my working hours and r and r so much more effective.  I still work hard, just intensively some of the time, not crazily busy all the time.

Now just to clarify when I talk about simplifying my life I am not talking about a form of minimalism. I mean simplification of my everyday life and rituals, my planning combined with the forming of new habits and installing a routine and rhythm to my everyday. And yes I can hear you brain clicking out of ‘I am interested’ to ‘Argh I hate routine’ mode, just wait. I know it all too well, I too have been a routine hater ever since the day they gave me insulin and told me all my meals had to be at the same time everyday. However the routine is more like a fixed rhythm. Just like music some parts of the music repeat and regular intervals and other parts are more fluid. And honestly it is both exhilarating and releasing.

So if you want to be more effective and free up more time simultaneously! Then I highly recommend you read these steps to a simple and effective life and then more importantly go out and try them. After all planning is only half of goal completion, action is the most important part.

Rest

NOw this whole simplification came about in my life thanks to one of my personal coaches. She asked me “when do you take a break during the day?” I was like break??? -hah! I just keep on going, I keep on running until the engine is empty, and then I relax. (Even as I said it I could hear how unhealthy it sounded.) So together with my coach we brainstormed ways I like to relax and discussed how long I  could seriously dedicated to resting each day. We ended upon agreeing that I would read or draw for at least 15 minutes a day (doodling on my phone and computer was not relaxing enough). Then my coach pushed my boundaries and said she wanted this break to be in between my working day and my evening at home. UGH! However after some persuasion I agreed. Now everyday at 5pm my work day ends and I dedicate 30 mins to reading. (Yes 30 mins, at the start I didn’t believe I could do 15 but now I have found 30 mins after work and before making dinner is the optimal time for me to wind down and recharge).

To start your simplification of your life find a time you will rest everyday, workout how you can switch off and dedicate AT LEAST 15 mins to  it. Keep to the same time everyday. (I do this also on weekends as well as work days).  Some people may say okay well I am on public transport at this time or I have the kids so I can’t make me time. Sorry my friend but that is your victim talking. Make time. A bus journey can be made relaxing with a book, or music or even and audio book, making a wind down time everyday for the whole family to get a recharge is a gift to all of you not just yourself.  Be creative and figure out a solution for you. It is after all the minimum of 15 minutes you can give yourself that.

Repetition

Everyday we make thousands of unconscious and conscious decisions.  What to wear, what to eat, who to call, when do we shop. It can get so tiring. The whole time you are making these decisions you are using mental energy which lowers your battery. If you think of it as though your mental energy per day is like your phone battery, each decision lowers the bar. So what if you could save some of that energy instead wasting it on millions of decisions. You can!

I got this idea from Steve Jobs, who wore the same outfit everyday to eliminate the ‘what do I wear ?’ choice from his morning routine. I don’t wear the same outfit everyday, however I have made a repetitive system around the preparing of meals and shopping of food in our house. It started with taking the decision to shop only once a week which eliminated all of those minutes of waiting in line on the way home. Then I decided to make one big batch of food every sunday freeze it down and fill our freezer with ready made home cooked dinners. It worked well, however I noticed that part of my day was often filled with wondering what we were going to eat that evening. So I now make a weekly food plan. I do this before I go shopping. Every day we have the same breakfast and lunches (although in the plan I switch it up a little, sundays were made for brunch right!) and then I plan which evening dinners I will use in that week. It has made thinking about dinner so much easier. I just follow the plan. Now I use only 10 mins a week tops on the ‘what to eat’ question. So much easier and gives me so much more time. The added bonus of this is that when I go food shopping I now save money and time because I know exactly what I need and don’t get distracted. Also that plan is a guideline if we fancy pizza one night then we do get pizza but now it’s fun not stressful.

At home we do this not just with food but with laundry and house cleaning too. A great way to start is to make a list of the decisions you make in your everyday. Try it for a few days, then look at your lists and see where you can simplify? Where can you minimise your decision making? Where can you save your energy? And remember don’t try this a few times and then say oh well that didn’t work. Remember it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit. Stick at it and you will feel the benefit of extra mental energy.

Rhythm

Once you have started to get some rest and repetition into your life the last step in the simplification process is to define your rhythm. If you like me love lists then you will love this. There are 3 steps to building your rhythm.

Step 1: I start every month by making a month list of the things I need to do. This list is under four headings

Life – doctors appointments, mechanic visits etc

Work – er.. that should be self explanatory

Me – the things I want to do for me

Social – social engagements etc

(You can also include a family section).

Step 2: I make my weeks schema from this list. On my skema are areas that are fixed, like the food shopping, laundry (we also have date night).  Then there are areas that are blank when I pencil in tasks from my list. This has been so effective that I now actually have 7 evenings off (not entirely easy when you are self employed). I know what is coming in a week and I don’t have the constant must remember to do x, y and z running around in my brain. All that mental energy freed. Remember yours is particular to you. You create your rhythm with fixed parts and the free movement.

Step 3: Every morning I make a todo list from that days plan on my week schema. Sometimes unexpected things come up and the plan altars a little but it doesn’t matter. using this system I KNOW I have more than enough time to do everything I need and want to do.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

It really is that simple! I have so much more mental energy. Infact I often find myself wondering how did my workload get so light. It didn’t I just simply started to be really effective with my time and efficient with my energy. Have a play with this over the next few weeks and see if you can simplify your life and find a rhythm. I’d love to hear any tips and discoveries you make on your journey here so please write in the comments how this worked for you or visit the Re:Root Facebook page.

Simplify your LIFEandget EFFECTIVE!.jpg

 

 

 

Have a lovely simple and effective week – enjoy your journey <3