So often we are on the move. It feels like we never stop, but at the end of the day, we don’t feel like anything has been accomplished.
When asked how our day was, we say, “busy,” but instantly feel like an imposter because we haven’t actually checked anything off our list.
I don’t know about you, but I have spent whole days on my computer, but at the end of the day my inbox still has 1000 emails, and I know more about my friends on Facebook than they know about the Planner I just created because I got lost in my feed and forgot to post!
I have spent whole days cleaning the house only to feel like the basement is a small store filled to capacity. I have spent whole days driving kids everywhere but feeling like I got nowhere.
But with some planning and mindset tweaks, I’ve been able to feel more accomplished. These may be just the tweaks you need today to get out of busy and into flow.
Know how you want to feel. You can decide to feel calm or present or abundant instead of busy. Even if you do just as much, you feel different when you choose a different outlook. Some of it is simply how you perceive things, and some is actually tweaking little things, like sitting for lunch, shutting off your phone at your daughter’s dance class, or stretching for 3 minutes for every 40 minutes of work.
Block out every minute of your day. We yearn for downtime—a nap, putting our feet up, a few minutes with nobody bothering us. But that free time or downtime inevitably gets filled up, because we don’t block off the time. Start blocking off time for you. Choose a color that represents downtime or selfcare and block off downtime in your planner. Don’t schedule other things during that time. Commit to time for free time, not just busy time.
You can only be in one place at one time, so decide to be there. What would happen if you watched your daughter dancing instead of sitting in class writing your grocery list? What if you tell your kids you’ll come play in an hour—and then you focus on getting through the post you need to write during that time? What if there were no phones at the dinner table? Presence is powerful. You can get a ton done in a power hour, and if you are focused on one thing it will never feel busy.
Define your 3 big rocks. Your big rocks are things that move you towards your big goals. Compare them to busy activities: things like doctors appointments, client work, driving kids to school, things you will do because you have to. Imagine filling a glass vase with 3 big rock, pebbles and sand. When the sand and pebbles go in first, they fill the vase so there is no space for the 3 big rocks. When the 3 big rocks go in first, then the pebbles, then the sand, it all fits perfectly. The truth is we have to make time for the projects that really matter to us. The other stuff will find a way to happen.
Recall with gratitude. Sometimes we feel lacking at the end of a busy day because we forget what we actually did in a day. Noticing and being grateful for the little things can turn the lack around. I recommend keeping a gratitude journal of little things you are grateful for each day — making it through the grocery store in 15 minutes, talking to your kids during carpool, smiling at a co-worker, getting outside and walking around the block, focus on a project you’re excited about …
Leave a runway. Have you ever created a day that had back-to-back meetings, a soccer game, and dinner squeezed in between? We need runways to come into events and move out of them. When we sit down to be creative, we need time to turn off our email, clear our desk and take 3 breaths. When we walk in the house we need a moment to put our bag down, change into comfy clothes, hug our kids, turn on some tunes, and then we are ready to rock and roll in the kitchen. You may be thinking that you need more time that you don’t have, but see what happens if you are more intentional with your runways.
Batch. Switching between tasks takes so much energy. Here’s what a batched day looks like for me: I wake up and take care of my morning routine, get the kids to school, go on a walk, spend 2 hours shooting a month of photos, spend 1 hour in my inbox, and spend 2 hours planning a month of content. Another day I might spend 5 hours just connecting with clients or 5 hours writing from all the photos I have. Batched time feels much more sane.
Put your own oxygen mask on first. When you have a morning routine that assures you will eat well, exercise, shower, etc., you will show up throughout the day with more ease. When you take care of yourself throughout the day — sit to eat your salad for lunch, say no to a 5:00pm meeting, get someone else to drive your child home — you will carry this sense of ease to your pillow at night, even if your day was very full.
Create a rhythm for your week on the Friday before. On Friday, take a look at the next week. Notice which days have space for creative projects and which days are a choppier and can fit lots of micro tasks. Put things into your planner. Choosing what goes where and making space for both types of tasks feels good. Doing this on a Friday gives you the weekend to get ahead — clean off your desk, go food shopping, exercise, so that you start the next week off to a great rhythm.
Lean into your cycle. We are women on a 28 day cycle. One day we are sad, one day we are productive, one day we are super convincing, and one day super tired. For most of us this is predictable. If you you start to pay attention, you will not schedule a day that you need to be most productive on a day you are most tired. You can time big projects for productive days. You can follow your own natural rhythm.
Write it all down. Keeping everything in our head is crazy making. In one study of hip surgery patients, half of the patients were given a pen and paper when told what they needed to do to thrive post surgery. That half was 90% more likely to follow through with their exercises because they wrote it down! I really do believe in journaling or a paper planner — the FLOW planner was my attempt at making a hybrid. But Google calendar or a tool like Trello are also great options for getting things out of your head.
How can you stop feeling so busy and start feeling more accomplished at the end of each day? It is more mindset and planning than changing your whole life.
What can you commit to to get out of busy and into ease? Come comment on Instagram!
- Sarah Jenks Podcast – Living in Your Box
- Link to Flow Planner
- Link to Episode on Masterlist (or Brain Dump)
This episode is brought to you by the FLOW Planner.
Where food and wellness, lifestyle and family, om (aka spirituality and selfcare), and work get planned together for a more balanced life.
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They come with a full class on planning for a life that matters to you.
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