When you work from home, and you’re juggling all that that entails with mothering three children and running a house, it’s all too easy to let the day get away with you. I’m sure you’ll have had it too. You’ve not had a moment to yourself, you feel like you’ve been super-busy all day, but when you look back on the previous twelve-fourteen hours and what you’ve achieved, you realise that, actually, you’ve been busy doing nothing, just chasing your tail, and you haven’t really made the most of your day. You’ve nothing to show for your time, efforts, all that energy you’ve expended and what? You’re still exactly where you were when you woke up this morning. This is where my daily rituals come in and literally save the day.
Sometimes, I find the best way to get more done is to actually plan to do less, and when I’ve said that to people, they look like at me like I’m mad, so I thought I dedicate a post to explain what I mean. Perhaps it might help you too if you also sometimes feel so busy you’re frazzled but with nothing to show for it.
taking a moment
Since when did our daily rituals include a smart phone? First thing in the morning, what do we all do? Before we’ve even got out of bed? Rather than reach for the phone and check what’s going on in the world outside you, take a moment to focus on yourself, on where you are, appreciate the fact that you’re alive and awake another day. Don’t take it all for granted. Focus on your own thoughts rather than flood it with those of others. I’ve found that just a few minutes can really help you make the most of your day and taking it even further, (when I can), I’ll stay away from my phone for the first hour of the day. The emails will still be there, I can read and reply later. That instagram feed is going nowhere, you can scroll to your heart’s content later on, but for now, if you can, stay away from all those images and messages trying to infiltrate your day, and your mind. The days that I actually manage to do this, I find I’m much more productive, much happier and feel less frazzled. I’d love to say I manage to meditate for ten minutes in the morning, but with three kids to get out of the house and to school, that’s not happened yet, but something to aim for. (Staying away from the phone/ iPad etc for an hour before bed is also transformative, but let’s keep that for another post).
First thing to pass my lips
Before I have my coffee (yes, I still need my morning coffee) I’ll have my mug of hot water with lemon. You can read more about what I add to it and why in this blog post here, but this is a daily ritual that for me, is non-negotiable. I feel that it really re-hydrates my body, detoxifies (before I start to add in the toxins of the day!) and revs up my metabolism. On weekdays, it’s a rushed affair – I’m normally found downing it whilst checking that homework has made it into school bags, sports socks are packed and frantically checking what time various children are coming home. But on weekends, it’s another matter. I’m normally up and awake way before anyone else, so I really relish the quietness of the house and the complete and utter me-time. These weekend mornings are so precious, before the madness of Saturday and Sunday kicks in. I’ll go to a quiet spot in the house, sit in front of a window and just stare out into the garden, without my phone, laptop, ipad…not even a newspaper. Just me, my hot lemon water and my thoughts.
Prioritise – realistic goals for real achievements
When I’ve had the chance to sit with my thoughts, that’s when I manage to create a proper to-do list. It’s so important to me to make my own list of what I want to do before checking my phone to see what everyone else is doing, before my attention is taken down the rabbit hole of social media scrolling. But even then, it’s all too easy to get carried away with that list; I honestly think I sometimes believe I’m superwoman when I look at the list I’ve created – how on earth I ever think I can get so much done in a day, I must be delusional!
So after creating my ‘in an ideal world’ to-do list, I’ll go back through it and prioritise. What absolutely HAS to happen today, what I’d like to achieve today and what needs to be done at some point. Out of the top three “HAS to happen today”, I find that if I tackle the worst, most horrible, task first, get that done and ticked off, I feel like I’m winning, I feel anything is possible and I can achieve anything! Slight Superwoman tendencies really do start to creep in… what an amazing feeling to have!
So those are my top three tips to getting the most out of my day. I’d love to know yours – share them in the comments below and maybe we can all learn something from each other?
ps – apologies if you’ve seen any of these images before on my instagram feed (click here to follow) or here on the blog – I wrote this post and really wanted to hit ‘publish’ but didn’t have time (ah, the irony!) to take any new photos, so rather than let the post languish for want of a photoshoot, I thought this was the way forward. Let me know what you think in the comments below.