As we settle into the third week of our new normal, we all undoubtedly have many challenges facing us. Not the least is what do we spend all of our newfound free time on?
I'm sure, if you are like me, that you were super productive the first week. Kids were entertained, you started checking things off of your "to do" list and felt great about it! Week two came and things slowed down. Kids got a little whinier and started to depend on you more for ideas and direction. Suddenly, organizing your third closet/drawer had a lot less appeal than it did initially. I think even Marie Kondo gets bored of tidying up once in a while!
So now what?! Now it's time for some structure and schedule. If you haven't already created one, run, don't walk and get to work. Map out your day in blocks of time (1 hour works well). Plan for 45 mins of work within your 1 hour blocks. Save 15 mins to get up and move or to get a drink or a snack From the time you first wake up, right down to the time you go to turn off your lights and go to sleep. Now, at first this may seem harsh and draconian to budget all of your time. It doesn't have to be. Carve out time for yourself. Time to get outside. Time to work out. Time to learn. Time to relax. The point of a routine is to take you out of that reactive/stressed mode and put you in a proactive/relaxed mode. Without a schedule, you will be constantly reacting to things that happen. New emails, text messages, "What can I do, I'm bored" questions and so on and so on. In your new routine, time is occupied by tasks, you know what to expect and can fall into a rhythm. You can relax a little. As our good friend Jocko Willink says "Discipline is Freedom". If your family knows what is coming next, they can relax too. You will start to get into a flow and then you can add more stuff in OR take stuff away! Hopefully the questions go away!
At first a task of this size can seem daunting, so my advice is to start small. Plan the first couple of hours of your day and then go from there. Even if it is as simple as; "wake up", "make coffee, have breakfast", "read news", etc. Start with the small stuff and gain momentum as you start moving into bigger projects. Action builds momentum, not the other way round.
Here is an example of my day:
5:15--leave for work
5:30--arrive at work, prep for class, write board, set up zoom
9am--return correspondence, social media
9:45 prep for class
11am--eat, film content
11:30am--Call wife and kids to catch up on the day.
11:45 prep for class
5:30pm--hang with kids
7pm--kids to bed/quiet time
8pm--get ready for bed
As with any structure, you want to be firm in your plans, but flexible in your application. If the schedule doesn't go as planned or something comes up, no big deal. Deal with the adversity and get back on track. No need to scrap the whole thing! Don't strive for perfection, strive for progress. Any plan is better than no plan. Give it a try today and let me know it goes!