We’ve all had days when we wake up and chaos smacks us in the face. As soon as we open our eyes, we’re responding to phone calls, emails, text messages, the list goes on. On days like this it’s easy to feel like we’re running around all day but still somehow getting nothing done. The hours tick by in a blur as we constantly react to the never ending stimuli and demands for our time.
How do you make your life feel less chaotic? How do you take steps towards your goals instead of merely treading water to make it through the day? You do it by running your day instead of letting your day run you. By intentionally and mindfully completing projects instead of reacting to every stimulus thrown your way.
Plan the Night before:
The ability to run your day starts will proper planning the night before. Before you go to bed, have a game plan for the next day. Make sure you wind down at a reasonable hour so you are able to get a good night’s sleep. Get things ready for the next morning. Lay out your workout clothes. Have a glass of water next to your bed so you can hydrate when you wake up. Get your favorite coffee mug ready so you have something to look forward to.
**Have a Morning Routine: I am in love with my morning routine. I go to bed every night looking forward to the habits I created in the morning. Things like journaling, working out, reading and skin care bring me joy. Create a morning routine that you look forward to. When you do this, waking up in the morning will be easier. Not easy, at least for me, but easier. Make your morning routine sacred. Don’t let anything interrupt it.
Wake up with enough time to ground yourself and write a to-do list. List your priorities and what you want to accomplish that day. Carve out some time, even if it’s only a few minutes, to do things for yourself. You will have a much better day if you are able to accomplish some things on your personal to-do list before starting work. This routine will help get you out of a reactive mindset and into an intentional mindset. This will allow you to use your energy in purposeful ways. I don’t look at my messages for the first hour or two of the morning.
By starting your day with a morning routine, you are taking control of the day. If you start your day intentionally with a mindful routine, you’ll be more likely to carry that with you into the rest of your day. You’ll be more equipped to run the rest of the day.
Don’t let your workflow be interrupted
We’ve been led to believe we have to respond to others as soon as possible. That to succeed we always have to be “on.” That we need to stop what we’re doing and respond whenever we’re sent an email with the subject “complete ASAP,” whenever we’re texted, whenever we are called, whenever we are DM’ed, whenever something or someone “dings” us. But it’s impossible to give every request for our time our immediate attention. It’s not feasible to be constantly available for everyone and everything. Just because someone asks for your time does not mean they are entitled to it right away, or at all.
You don’t have to always be available. Re-establish your boundaries. Set time frames for when you are going to work on certain tasks. Designate a set hour for answering emails, set a time for responding to texts, a time for research etc. Batching similar tasks together will make you more effective than constantly switching back and forth between different tasks. If you’re in an email state of mind you’ll be able to work through emails more efficiently than if you are constantly switching between emails and phone calls. Don’t leave your work flow to return a text message right away just because your feel obligated to give someone an answer as soon as possible. When you let distractions in, it makes it harder to stay in a productive flow.
Accomplish tasks when you are in the proper mindset. Don’t go into a project at work stressed and cursing your boss for throwing X,Y, & Z on your plate. Don’t power through the assignment just to get it done. We’ve all been there and done that and it’s never a good feeling. Working from a stressed and resentful state of mind rarely produces our best work. Take a moment to pause and get your mindset right before getting to work. Take a step back. Adjust your perspective. Switch your point of view from an “I have to do this” mindset to an “I get to do this mindset.” Work on projects with intention not stress.
We often get lost in victimized narratives about how busy and overworked we are. But we get to choose what our day looks like. What you want to spend your time on. Explore where you can find more time in your day. Examine who you are and are not making yourself available to. Where you are spending your precious time and resources. By taking control of your life, and enforcing boundaries you’ll get more done and be more productive all while experiencing more joy. And remember run your day, don’t let your day run you.
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