I have been struggling a little to keep my normal day to day structure during this quarantine.
If you have been struggling with structure and productivity as well you are so not alone, I promise.
In my professional opinion (I don’t know if I am qualified to say ‘Professional’ but whatever), having a daily routine is absolutely essential in order to keep your sanity!
This might sound dramatic but you get my point.
When you start laying in bed till noon, that is when things are going to start taking a turn for the worst, and a daily routine will prevent this!
It’s so important during this time to have a daily schedule that will keep your day structured and productive.
Not only will a routine keep you productive and sane (which are both total wins), but it will help you to maintain normalcy in your life during this time.
The consistency that a routine will give you, is going to help you feel better and keep you grounded.
In this post, I want to do 3 things:
Share somethings I have included in my daily routine
Share a new technique I have been trying and loving
Explain why not to wake up at Noon and go to bed at 4am!
Now, I am not going to tell you that you have to be out of bed at 6am because that is not reasonable, however I will give light hearted suggestions, even though this is completely adaptable to your schedule and what you need to do everyday.
You definitely don’t have to get up at 6 am (however you don’t want to be waking up at noon either), that being said, you need to avoid waking up and then spending hours laying in bed staring at your phone.
Also you need to get up when your alarm goes off a habit, don’t snooze 5 times, 3 times, or even once, when your alarm goes off it is time to get up!
And trust me, you will thank yourself for this later (you probably won’t be too happy about it in the moment, but you’ll get over it)
Staying productive is going to take some serious self discipline, and the best way to get batter at self discipline is by practicing it. Over and over again, until it becomes a habit!
So, get up at the same time every day, MAKE YOUR BED, and get ready for the day.
P.S. when I say get ready for the day, that means, shower, get dressed, brush your teeth, just because you are home, does not give you the right to not put effort into yourself
Make a delicious breakfast (if you eat breakfast), do something active (stretch, yoga, full on HIIT workout), and enjoy your morning.
Enjoying your morning and really taking in the little moments, whether that’s savoring your morning cup of coffee or 3, journaling for a few minutes (I truly believe this is such an important habit to implement in your everyday routine), and having a few minutes without your phone (try not going on your phone for the first 30 mins of the day, it makes all the difference).
It’s hard to not feel down, and anxious these days so making sure you are enjoying the little moments and joys in life is really going to help lift your spirits and keep your positive attitude at full force.
Tip: during this time write your todo list for the day, to make sure you know exactly what you need to accomplish during the day!
GET TO WORK
If you are doing online school, working from home, or even if you aren’t doing either, I seriously suggest using the mid-morning (after your little morning routine), to get things done!
I have found that I have the most motivation and sense of urgency in the morning, so this is when I try to get all of my big tasks done!
I have just always felt the most focused after I’ve had my cup of coffee, and done my morning yoga!
Now, this is just my suggestion!
If you know that you are 100 times more productive in the afternoon, or at night, then take this advice with a grain of salt, but if you really havet figured out your most productive time, I highly recommend trying the morning!
Spend as much time outside as you can!
My outside schedule has been in the morning while I’m drinking my morning coffee, after lunch to go for a walk, and in the evening for my second walk of the day!
My neighbors and I joke because we are all walking like 2-3 times a day, just because what else can we do!
Even if it is cold where you live, or if it is raining, don’t be a chicken put on a coat and get outside, even if it isn’t the best weather, getting outside at least for a little bit will make the biggest impact on your mindset and attitude. You will feel so much better and less anxious, make sure you spend time outside everyday!
If for some reason you really can’t go outside, please ignore me, this is just to motivate you if you “just don’t want to”!
Making sure you are getting outside is going to be essential while you are in quarantine.
It is time to truly focus on yourself!
Personally, I love to take the afternoon, and really focus on whatever self projects I am currently working on. Unless I have a super heavy work day then it isn’t really possible.
If you are the same, and you use the afternoon for hobbies, self care, family time, and other projects, let me know what they are in the comments, it is important to share and inspire others during this time!
I think the best way to spend this time is for personal growth, even though I might be a little partial to the subject (I am a mindset and personal growth coach if you didn’t know).
You might have more time on your hands than you know what to do with, use this time and better yourself, come out of this crisis better than you were before!
It is more important than ever that something good comes out of all the horribleness.
If you want to know more about how you can come out on top, email me at email@example.com, and we will set up a totally free discovery call, I will help you solve that problem that is holding you back from reaching your goals! Or you can click here and schedule it now!
This is not a sales call, I truly want to help you find the motivation to make positive changes to your life! I don’t bite, I promise, email me I would love to meet you!
Self care is extremely important all the time!
However, it could possibly be argued that self care is even more important now! With everything that is going on it is even more important to take care of your body, mind, and soul!
I’m not going to drag this section out too long, I am just going to list some of my favorite self care activities for each, pick and choose what you like from each list, but I highly recommend you try extra hard these next couple of months to show yourself some extra love!
Journal (you had to know this was going to be on my list)
Read a good fiction book
Yoga (try yoga with adriene)
Go for a walk
Learn something new (it’s the perfect time to level up your life)
Now I in no way expect you to copy my daily routine, however, I thought it would be helpful to look at an overview of someone else’s daily schedule, and get an idea and some inspiration for yours!
6:30am – wake up, morning stretch, cup of coffee or 3, morning devotions, journal routine
8:00am – to do list, emails, DM’s, writing session
10:00am – big task (whatever that happens to be)
12:00pm – 30 min first meal break, continue with big task or move on to next
2:00pm – continue work, @2:30 first walk (normally 30 min walk)
4:00pm – second meal break (30 min), continue with work
6:00pm – second walk (about an hour long with husband), continue with work, dinner break @7:30
8:00pm – finish up work, make popcorn (yes I do this almost everyday, one of my not so healthy habits, but I believe it is good for my soul because I always look forward to it), watch a show or a movie with my family (aka. my husband and dog)
10:00pm – get ready for bed, read for 15 min to 45 min (depends on how much I am loving my book), go to bed
A Couple Notes:
Your schedule is 100% personal to you, please do not try and copy mine, because it isn’t going to fit your lifestyle
I do work quite a bit, so i don’t always have time to fit in everything I would like to in a day, this is more of what a perfect day would look like for eme, sometimes I do end up working until midnight (that doesn’t mean I don’t make popcorn)
I time block my days which is something I am going to talk about in the next section, so my days are a bit more structured than the schedule above, I just didn’t want to write out my schedule in 15 minute increments, that seemed like a lot.
To paraphrase; time blocking is when you block out each minute of your day to a specific task, to make sure you are staying on track to accomplish your goals and DREAMS!
And at this moment your goal is to not go insane! I’m kidding, sort of.
If you want more information on time blocking read the blog post I linked above! It covers everything!
So, I have been time blocking my days for about 3 months now, so I feel qualified enough to share my tips and tricks when it comes to time blocking! Scheduling your day like this is really going to help you stay productive and on task not only during the quarantine but in your regular day to day life!
My Best Time Blocking Tips
First & last section of everyday should always be the same (as often as possible, I know sometimes you just have to work at midnight)
Schedule your breaks, all of your breaks not just lunch
Don’t lose it if something takes longer than expected, just adjust your schedule, everything will be ok
Give each task a little extra breathing room just in case
Use Google Calendar – my Google Calendar has my entire life on it, without it I would be lost. The reason I recommend google calendar is mostly because it is all I have ever used. However google calendar is so easy to use, you can have it synced between all of your devices (which is super helpful), and then you have everything in one spot instead of using a bunch of different organization apps and programs. It’s one simple system that is easy to use, how can you go wrong!
A Little PSA On How Not To Schedule Your Day
Now, I know I said earlier that you can adjust your schedule to adjust your own timetable ad preferences, and this is totally true.
But, I want to give you some advice.
Don’t go to bed at 4am and wake up at Noon and expect to have a great productive day, this isn’t affecting your body I don’t think because you are getting a normal amount of sleep, but it is 100% going to affect your mindset and not in a positive way.
Whether you are productive or not, waking up at noon is going to make you feel lazy, and like you don’t have your shit together.
I recommend waking up anywhere from 5am to 10am at the latest.
Having a solid morning routine, and starting your day in the morning on a positive note has the biggest impact on how the rest of your day is going to go, and rolling out of bed at Noon isn’t gonna set you up for a great day.
Now, you can do whatever you want. I am just here to try and help, and give you suggestions based on my knowledge and experience!
Having consistency in your life and keeping busy is so important. Make sure you use this time to better yourself and come out on top of the situation. Make yourself the good thing that comes out of all of this!
What is your favorite part of your daily routine?
Let me know n the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also if you are interested in a free call to help you get through your biggest road block during this quarantine let me know, we will setup a time!
I’ve just had the most lovely four-day weekend in LA, but unfortunately mini-vacations come with consequences. I’m finding it really hard to get back into the work grind.
I’m basically just daydreaming of sunshine and wishing I could be laying in bed.I’m also finding the afternoons particularly sluggish, even more so than usual. I think most people find themselves the least productive in the afternoon because lunch is digesting and the morning coffee high has worn off.
If you’re having trouble focusing or end up feeling blah in the afternoon like me, here are some tips to beat the afternoon slump:
Tea contains theanine which improves cognition while at the same time making you feel relaxed. Since the afternoon often brings with it the strong desire for a nap, tea can perk you up without the dehydrating effects of another cup of coffee. My favorite teas for the afternoon are green tea with blueberry, black tea, and peppermint tea.
Snack on dark chocolate.
I’m not sure about you, but I tend to get cravings for junk food in the afternoon. Luckily, dark chocolate exists. In addition to making you feel warm and fuzzy inside, the flavonoids in cocoa have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve mood, and potentially increase mental focus.
Not only does it smell divine, but rosewater can help fight stress and help boost positivity. Spraying rosewater on your face will make you feel refreshed while hydrating and nourishing your skin.
Get some fresh air.
I love going for walks during my work breaks because I always feel a million times better after some fresh air. Getting outside will switch your focus to something other than work, and a change of environment will wake up your mind and make you feel a little more alive. Just opening a window helps.
Do yoga at your desk.
You might get weird looks if you’re in an office, but squeezing in a few stretches at your desk will help you feel more awake (and possibly like a limber yoga goddess…or not). Try this 5-minute video from Adrienne, and encourage your coworkers to join in!
Listen to music.
Music can drastically improve your mood, especially when all you’ve been listening to is the phone ringing or the incessant tapping of your keyboard. Spotify has some great playlists like Mood Booster or Creativity Boost.
Use a diffuser.
I have this teeny-tiny desk diffuser that I use at work to basically blast good vibes at myself. Lemon, peppermint, and rosemary are great essential oils for boosting energy levels, improving focus, and feeling rejuvenated. I also recommend this Aura Cacia Creative Juice essential oil blend.
I’ve always been the kind of person who tries to follow a routine. I like the idea of being consistent and always knowing exactly what I should be doing at any given moment because supposedly that’s the key to being productive. Trouble is, I struggle to stick to anything for more than a week. I tend to lose interest in most of the things I start (I blame this on being a Gemini), and I have to switch things up to avoid getting bored.
Despite all of the LifeHacker articles and blog posts I read about why routine is so important for productivity, I also can’t get away from people telling me that routine is the route of all evil. I was in a store the other day that had a huge, unavoidable sign that read:
“The less routine, the more life.”
Part of me feels like yelling, ‘What do you want from me?!’
Should we follow a routine or try to be more spontaneous?
My answer: you need both. You need to some structure to your days and weeks, but you also need to be okay with the unexpected and stepping outside of your comfort zone. That way, you can keep life exciting while still getting stuff done.
Easily said, but how the heck do you actually do that, especially if you’re at either end of the spectrum (the super-scheduler vs. the anti-scheduler)? As an in-betweener when it comes to routine and flexibility, I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks that can help you find balance in your day-to-day life.
Why Routine And Flexibility Are Important
First of all, there’s a difference between creating your own routine to keep you on track vs. getting stuck in a daily cycle that makes your entire life a routine, but the first can lead to the second if you never switch things up. There’s also a difference between being a spontaneous person vs. deciding to go with the flow. I’m not really a spontaneous person, but I try to let things happen without taking too much control of the situation.
Maybe you’re at one end of the spectrum:
You schedule every little thing and feel stressed out when things don’t go as planned, OR
You hate routine or can’t stick to one so you end up scrambling to get things done
If so, the important thing to realize is that you can find a balance between these two extremes, and it is possible to have a productive day while also going for last-minute drinks with friends or dealing with something totally unexpected.
The Pros + Cons of Routine
Following some sort of pattern or procedure ensures that you get stuff done. It doesn’t take much effort on your part to follow, and you probably do similar things each day without even realizing it. Routine can, however, be restrictive if you set yourself a strict schedule and try to fill every minute with to-do list items. It can also be unproductive if you repeatedly do negative things like snooze your alarm each morning.
The Pros + Cons of Flexibility
Shit happens, we all know that. If you have room for flexibility in your days, you’re going to cope with the unexpected much better than if your schedule is rigid and unchangeable. Also, other people are not on the same schedule as you, so having flexibility makes it easier to accommodate for meetings and get togethers. On the other hand, if you’re too flexible, you run the risk of lost productivity and possibly having people take advantage of your time.
How To Balance Your Time & Create A Flexible Routine
When everyone’s telling you how to schedule your day and why a work or blog or cleaning routine is so necessary, the most important thing to remember is that one person’s method is not going to work for everyone. It’s all about prioritizing your own life, getting the necessary stuff done, and not worrying about the rest. Here’s how to find that balance:
Figure Out Your Non-Negotiables + Priorities
In order to get the important things done, you need to decide what’s actually important. These are the things need to get done, whether you like them or not (but hopefully you like them), on a daily or weekly basis.
– RECURRING TASKS
Think of the types of tasks you work on every day or every week. It helps to grab a piece of paper and write down every little thing you can think of that you do regularly and break them up into categories.
Work – respond to emails, data entry, processing donations
Home – clean apartment, grocery shopping, meal preparation
– YOUR MOST IMPORTANT TASKS
Out of the tasks you wrote down in the last step, which ones are the most important? Which ones would cause all hell to break loose if you didn’t do them? These are your priorities, and you need to make time for these in your schedule.
– DELEGATE, ELIMINATE, COMBINE, OR MAKE SIMPLER
For any of those tasks that you didn’t deem totally and utterly necessary, think about how you can delegate them, combine them, eliminate them, or make them easier for yourself. You shouldn’t spend time worrying about things that aren’t priorities in your life, and they shouldn’t take up time in your daily routine if they don’t need to.
Be Efficient With Your Time
When someone asks you how work’s going, I bet your answer is usually, ‘Busy.’ We’re always so busy! You may have a lot on you’re plate, but are you using your time efficiently or are you just procrastinating and making yourself feel busy? Getting smarter with your time can free up more space to be flexible and lower your stress levels.
– BATCH YOUR TASKS
In order to deal with the things you don’t really want to do, figure out how long each thing takes (I guarantee it won’t be that long if it’s a recurring task) and combine them with other mundane tasks to fill a larger block of time. For example, responding to email (20 minutes), data entry (20 minutes), and filing paperwork (15 minutes) can all be done within the frame of an hour. Here’s a great post about batching.
– TIME BLOCKING
In the past, I’ve tried to schedule my tasks at a specific time on a calendar but I always found myself falling behind and getting thrown off if something got in the way. A better idea is to block out your time into chunks, say an hour or two hours, and schedule in your batched items from the step above. This way it’s not so restrictive that an interruption can throw off the rest of your day.
9:30-10:30 – Writing blog posts
10:30-11 – Take a break or finish up posts
11-12 – Respond to emails, data entry, filing
– BEAT THE CLOCK
The Pomodoro Technique is a sure-fire way to force yourself to start working and stop procrastinating. Basically you set a timer for 25 minutes, get as much done as you can on a project, take a break for 5 minutes, and repeat. After four pomodoros, you take a 15-30 minute break. Even if you don’t want to follow the technique, the act of setting yourself a timer and seeing how much you can get done is a really easy way to get started on something you’ve been putting off.
Top Tip: Whenever you stop working on something, write down what stage you’re at and what needs to be done next. Not only does this prevent lost time trying to figure out where you left off, you’ll also know exactly what you can start doing the next time you get a free moment.
Make Time for Free Time
The reality is that you’re going to have to make time for free time and allow yourself to be more flexible. You also need to use your free time wisely and make sure you’re not just watching two hours of Netflix as soon as you come home from work. Here’s how:
– BREAK THE CYCLE
If you’re stuck in a rut, it’s most likely because you’ve been doing the same thing for too long. Whichever area of your life it may be, find a way to switch things up and try something new. Welcome flexibility into your life. Part of the reason I set three goals for myself each month is because I want to give myself the chance to explore a new skill or activity, and it’s like a mini-challenge to break out of my regular routine.
– SAY NO
Please remember that you’re not obligated to do everything people ask of you. You have to value your own time or people will start to take advantage of it. If someone invites you to a party but you’d rather stay in for the night, do that. If you’re asked to attend a meeting that you don’t need to go to, explain that you have other priorities. Say yes to the things that excite you, and take risks when it feels like the right thing to do.
– SCHEDULE FREE TIME
If the idea of not having control over your time gives you heart palpitations, schedule a block of free time into your calendar. Give it a specific time, but don’t plan out any particular activity – see what you feel like when the time comes. It’s so important to get out of your regular habits and try something exciting or maybe even nerve-wracking (but in a good way!)
The Bottom Line
It’s okay not to have a routine, just like it’s okay if you feel more comfortable scheduling the little things. You do you. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go as planned, and don’t force yourself to go about your day in a way that feels unnatural. Just strive for a little more balance to make life easier for yourself.
Want to make balance even easier?
If you’ve been trying to find balance between the daily grind and the self-care that you crave, I’ve created something just for you. The Mind, Body, Soul Balance Guide is a 50-page digital workbook designed to help you align your mind, body, and soul so that you can get back into balance whenever life feels overwhelming.
If you’re ready to become the most balanced version of yourself, grab your copy now to get instant access to all of the self-care guidance you could ever need!
I’ve loved self-help and personal growth advice ever since I can remember. I feel like I have a good awareness of myself and what I’m capable of, and I’m always interested in learning how I can continue to grow as a person.
The only problem is when I get influenced by what other people are doing, I want to do it all.
A lot of us think we ‘should’ be doing things because we’ve listened to a podcast, read a book, or watched a video where someone shared habits or goals they’re working on. Suddenly we feel inspired to set the same goals. We might even feel guilt-tripped into doing them.
If you’re constantly setting new goals, they might not align with what’s truly meaningful to you. You might just end up getting burnt out from your own ambition.
That’s why it’s so important to get 100% clear on the WHY for your goals. You need to set meaningful, crystal clear goals in order to stay on top of them.
Ready to start setting new goals for yourself and actually follow through with them? Think of this as a mini-guide to help you get clear on your goals, break them down into manageable action steps, and hold yourself accountable. Let’s get started!
Getting Clear On Your Goals
The most important part of the goal-setting process is to get super clear on what you want to achieve. You want to set goals that are going to move you closer to where you want to be.
When I work with new clients for the first time, I always ask them what they want to achieve in the next three months. It might be starting a daily meditation practice, landing a new job, or finding more work-life balance.
I then ask them why they want to achieve that. I want to know what’s meaningful about that particular goal at this point in time.
Set the right goals for yourself
Here are some questions to ask when setting goals:
What’s my biggest priority right now?
Why do I want to achieve this?
Is this a should or a want?
Does this align with my values?
Will this matter in 6 months?
Once you’ve decided on what you want to achieve, it’s time to make your goal even more concrete.
Use the SMART Method
Ask yourself the following questions:
Specific: Is my goal specific?
Measurable: Can I measure my progress? How will I know when my goal is achieved?
Attainable: Is this actually something that can be achieved?
Relevant: Is this relevant to my life and desires?
Timely: Can I set a due date or time when I will work on it (daily, weekly, by Oct 7)?
Goal example: I will move into my own apartment by December 15.
What if I have more than one goal?
I would recommend working on no more than two big goals at a time. Any more than two and you’re going to burn yourself out, and it’s going to be more difficult to make progress.
I used to set three monthly goals that focused on my mind, body, and soul. While I loved the concept, I eventually started to feel burned out because I was trying to come up with new goal ideas every month. I was constantly switching it up, which meant I wasn’t to make as much progress as if I’d stuck with something for more than a month.
Once you’ve set yourself a goal, it’s time to plan out how you’re going to make it happen.
Planning Out Your Goals
In order to make progress with your goals, you need to make sure you know exactly how you’re going to achieve them. Instead of the monthly goals I used to set for myself, I’ve started setting 1-2 quarterly goals instead. You can actually achieve something big if you give it three months of your time.
When I have one quarterly goal to span over three months, I break it down into smaller action steps that can be accomplished each month.
Create an action plan
Let’s use the SMART goal example I mentioned above: I will move into my own apartment by December 15. Kind of random, but let’s go with it.
Now what’s going to happen between now and December? It’s easy enough to say that you will accomplish your goal by December 15, but there are other steps that are going to need to happen between now and then.
With this goal, you have three months to prepare to move out of your parents’ place. You might break it down so you have one action step for each month (October, November, December). Within each action step, you could then have three mini-action steps.
Action plan example:
October: Start saving for deposit
Take a look at current finances
Create a budget and see how much to save each month
Make a list of things to avoid purchasing/ways to cut bills
November: Look for apartments
Create a list of required and desired amenities
Set up daily email alerts via Zillow
Visit apartment complexes
Search for moving company
Pack everything up
Move into new place
After you’ve decided on these action steps for each month, you can add these into your calendar and spread them out throughout the month. This ensures that you’re not leaving everything until the last minute.
Get The Goal Planning Worksheet
A step-by-step guide to help you turn your goals into an action plan.
Following Through With Your Goals
The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.
The biggest struggle when it comes to goals is following through with them. If you’re not feeling super motivated or clear about your goals, it’s going to be even harder to make them happen. Follow-through takes self-discipline, patience, and dedication.
There are five components to staying focused on your goal:
One of the things that makes achieving goals harder is when you forget what you are even working towards (we all do it, our brains are all over the place). Make it easier for yourself by writing out your goal and action plan and keeping this visible or easily accessible.
Review your goal(s) every morning. Whether you’ve written them down in a word document, notebook, or printed it out, take two minutes every morning to look over them. Most importantly, look at your why for wanting to accomplish your goal. Make sure you have this written down so you don’t forget it.
Accountability is one of the most important aspects of achieving anything in life. My coaching clients have told me that the most valuable thing they gained from coaching was having someone to hold them accountable every single week.
Whether you want to work with a coach or not, there are other ways to stay accountable. Here are some ideas:
Start a mastermind group: Get two or three friends/coworkers/bloggers together and share your goals. Keep each other updated on your progress every week and cheer each other on.
Tell people about it: Share your goal with a handful of people or broadcast it to your entire social media network. Putting your goal out into the world makes it feel more real, plus it gets other people excited for you . When I started to write my eBook, I announced to my email list that it would be ready by July 15. Since I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, I held myself to my goal.
Make someone else hold you to it: Make your partner, friend, family member, or coworker hold you accountable to your goal. Let them know that you’re going to need encouragement along the way, and ask them if they’ll check in with you every now and again.
Sometimes we all need the promise of a reward to actually make us do something. When setting your own goals, think of something you could reward yourself with when you accomplish it. Maybe it’s something big like a trip or vacation, or maybe it’s something small like ‘when I accomplish this step, I’ll let myself binge watch Netflix’.
Finally, patience is absolutely necessary when it comes to achieving your goals. Sometimes when we have days where nothing seems to be going right and we feel like we’re making no progress, we have to remember that these things take time. Luckily you have your action plan to help you map out exactly what you’re going to do, and this can help you to see what you’ve already accomplished. Daily progress and patience are key to making your goals work for you.
What do you want to achieve in the next three months?
Bookmark this post the next time you’re working on a goal, and remember that it all comes down to getting clear on your goals and creating an action plan.
Do you ever feel like mornings are the most stressful part of the day? If you do, you’re not alone. I think most of us can agree that mornings can be super stressful.
You wake up feeling hazy and unclear and somehow end up being late for work feeling completely flustered. By the time you look at the clock, it’s lunchtime and you have no idea where your morning went.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us could do with a morning routine makeover. After all, wouldn’t it be great to actually enjoy those precious morning hours? The good news is that you don’t have to do anything drastic to make this a reality. All it takes is a few small tweaks to get your morning off to a positive start.
If you feel like mornings are the most stressful part of the day, I’ve got five tips to help you make over your morning routine!
5 Ways To Makeover Your Morning Routine
Prepare At Night
Your morning routine really starts the night before. Set yourself up for success by preparing whatever you can the night before. I like to write my to-do list before I go to bed so that I don’t lose any time in the morning trying to figure out what I need to work on. You could also choose your outfit the night before and pre-make your breakfast and/or lunch so you don’t have to worry about these things in the morning.
Avoid Phone Distractions
As I mentioned in this post about habits that have changed my life, avoiding emails and social media in the morning is something I’ve been working hard to commit to. If I look at my emails as soon as I get out of bed, I will go into panic mode and only be able to think about what I need to respond to. If I check Instagram, I’ll get stuck there for at least 30 minutes and totally lose track of time.
Instead, I try to immediately open my Calm meditation app as soon as my alarm goes off. I know I’m still using my phone, but I’m doing something for my own peace of mind instead of getting lost in the abyss of social media.
Start With Gratitude
Another thing you can do to makeover your morning routine is to practice gratitude. I have the 5-Minute Journal which prompts you to write three things you’re grateful for every day, as well as three things you want to accomplish and a positive affirmation. Taking a few minutes to think about what you’re grateful for can help you start your day on a positive note.
Connect With Your Mind, Body, and Soul
One of my favorite ways to start the day is to do something for my mind, body, and soul. This is based on the Self-Care Power Hour, although these days it takes me less than an hour. I’ll start by meditating for about 5-10 minutes in the morning (mind), followed by a Yoga With Adriene or Blogilates video for 15-20 minutes (body). Usually, after I’ve showered, I’ll listen to my favorite podcasts or watch uplifting YouTube videos (soul). You can mix it up in whatever way works for you, but I personally love adding activities like these into my morning routine.
Review Your Plans
One thing I like to do in the morning is to review my to-do list for the day, as well as look at my monthly and yearly goals. Like most people, my memory is terrible when I wake up, and I often don’t even know what day it is. Taking the time to actually review my goals encourages me to stay focused on the big picture and help me remember what I’m working towards.
What small changes can you make to your morning routine?
One of my personal pet peeves is when people say they can’t ‘find’ the motivation to get things done. You see, there is nothing to find. Motivation isn’t something that hides when you need it.
When you blame this lack of motivation for not taking action, you’re only using it as an excuse to procrastinate. Whether it’s something you need to do or something you want to do, it’s easy to put it off until the last minute.
Procrastinating may be the easy way out, but it’s also the most stressful way to live your life.
That’s because procrastination results in two types of stress:
Stress from the constant nagging thought in the back of your mind that tells you to get something done
Stress from trying to finish something at the last minute
What most people don’t realize is that the time you spend THINKING about doing something often takes longer and causes more stress than the actual doing of that thing.
You’re stressed out as it is, so why do you continue to make your life more miserable by procrastinating? In this post, I’m sharing the real reasons why you lack motivation, as well as tangible action steps you can take when you find yourself procrastinating.
5 Reasons You Lack Motivation
Instead of blaming our lack of doing on lack of motivation, it helps to really dig into the root of the problem. I’ve found that when I’m at my lowest motivation, it’s because of one of these things:
I’m unsure of what to do. I’m unclear on the instructions for a task, or I can’t decide which direction to go with a project.
I’m overwhelmed or tired. I already have 8,000 things to do, and this is one more thing I need to work on. I’m exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I fear a negative outcome. I’m worried that something will go wrong, I’ll embarrass myself, or it won’t live up to my standards.
I’m dealing with something emotionally. I’ve had a crappy day or I’ve received bad news. I want to crawl into a ball and not work on this project.
It doesn’t feel important. I can’t find a clear reason WHY I should do this thing, so I distract myself and procrastinate instead.
When you’re dealing with a lack of motivation, it’s important to a) figure out why you’re unmotivated and b) know how to move forward anyway.
Your Future Self
One of the simplest ways I’ve learned how to deal with procrastination is to consider how my choices today will affect my future self.
Often when we hear the term ‘future self’, we imagine ourselves in five or ten years’ time. It’s hard to imagine what our lives will look like then, so it doesn’t serve as the best motivator.
Rather than thinking years ahead, think about yourself next Tuesday (or any day of the week). Asking what you can do today to make your life easier next Tuesday is a pretty practical form of motivation.
Lately, I’ve been visualizing my future self whenever I don’t want to do something. I ask myself: Will future Catherine suffer if I don’t take action today? Most often, future Catherine will be pretty stressed if I leave it until later. Don’t I owe it to myself to make life less stressful?
After all, one of my values is to make life as chill and stress-free as possible (because life can actually be fun, weirdly enough).
That means I HAVE to take responsibility for my actions. I have to push aside any temporary moment of satisfaction (aka watching Friends) to create less stress for myself in the future.
What about living in the moment? Isn’t that important?
I could argue with myself that watching Friends is a good way to relax at that moment in time. But I have to be honest with myself and realize that a moment (or five episodes) of temporary relaxation will cause me more stress later down the road.
Now when I realize that I’m procrastinating or avoiding something, I ask myself WHY I don’t want to do it. Rather than complaining about it and avoiding all responsibility, I put on my adulting hat and try to get to the root of the problem.
How To Get Things Done
If my future self isn’t motivating me, here’s what I do when I find myself dealing with a specific lack of motivation:
When I’m unsure
I figure out the first, tiny little step I need to take. If I need guidance, I’ll push aside my pride and ask for help or clarification.
When I’m tired or overwhelmed
When I’m tired, I’ll take a break to get my energy back (take a walk, a nap, or a bath). If I can, I’ll do the tasks that take up the least amount of my energy. I just know I have to be disciplined with myself and not use ‘tiredness’ as an excuse for too long. When I’m overwhelmed, I organize my to-do list and add task dates into my calendar to make things manageable.
When I’m afraid
I check myself and dig into where my fears are coming from. Often it’s perfectionism holding me back, so I remind myself: “It’s better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing at all.”
When I’ve been knocked down
I give myself some time to process my emotions. I avoid making myself feel guilty for not working and do things I know will bring me back to a centered place.
Note: If you’ve been lacking the motivation to take care of your basic needs for a prolonged period of time, consider talking to a professional who can help.
When I don’t see the point
I ask myself why this doesn’t feel important or worth prioritizing. I revisit my vision list to see if what I’m avoiding serves a purpose for my bigger vision. If it doesn’t, I find a way to let the task or project go. If I can’t get out of it, I try to switch up my environment to make working on it at least a little more enjoyable.
How do you get yourself motivated?
No matter the reason for your lack of motivation, always come back to your future self. That person IS you. You can’t escape the future, so why not make it less stressful for yourself?