Yeah, unfortunately yesterday and today have seen me hit the ground running, and only now am I having the chance to write about my hustle. (This is what happens when you’re hosting your favorite musician at your home in a week.)
But, that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring Fearless Leader Jon. I’ve just not been sitting down to write about it.
It’s now 9:40 p.m., and all the must-dos on today’s to-do list (as well as my Evening Must-Dos) are complete, so I have a chance to chronicle everything.
First, here’s Jon’s e-mail from yesterday morning:
A friend once had a bad week. He made a lot of mistakes. When I asked him how next week was going to be better he replied, “I’ll try harder.”
That was a stupid answer. He tried hard the week before. A lot of us try hard every week and things don’t work out. Why? Because we tend to skip right passed “HOW” in our emotion and excitement. Not this time.
HOW are you going to accomplish your goal during these 30 days?
Here’s my example:
I want to lose 5lbs. HOW will I do that? I started working with a trainer named Jeremy. He’s helping me with my diet and my exercise. I also started working out with my friend Nate. I joined a gym that is very, very close to my house. I stopped keeping queso in our fridge at home. Those are four quick HOW examples.
If you want to get something done, don’t just trust your hard work, trust your HOW work too.
Today’s assignment is to write down three answers to this question:
HOW will you accomplish your goal?
This was a little tricky for me at first, because my goal is developing a morning routine. How exactly does one describe how one will develop something? I decided to make my “how” a combination of development strategies and parts-of-the-routine strategies.
Also, my “How?” is five answers long, not three. Apparently I’m an overachiever.
How will I develop a morning routine?
1) Stick to my Top 5 Evening Must-Dos (as suggested by Crystal Paine). To recap, those are take a shower, clean the kitchen, start a new loaf in the bread machine, set the coffeemaker, and put out breakfast fixins on the table.
2) Get dressed within 30 minutes of getting out of bed.
3) Start setting social media timers; no more than 15 minutes at a time during the morning and throughout the day until the To Do list is complete.
4) Make a list of what I want my morning routine to include, using tips from Money-Saving Mom’s Make the Most of Your Mornings series (where the Evening Must-Dos came from).
5) Once list is made, begin testing it. (My goal for developing a list is by the time I go to bed tomorrow, because I want to start testing it Monday. That’s when the girlios return to school.)
Day 4’s e-mail:
Today’s challenge is going to be fun, because it’s about fun.
The goals we’re talking about are what I’d call “extra life” goals. They’re not mandatory. I’m not your boss. Your pay won’t be docked if you fail. These are voluntary, want my life to change, kind of goals. So then where does it say they have to suck and be boring?
Today, figure out a way to add some fun to whatever it is you’re working on for the next 30 days. It doesn’t have to be amazing or dramatic, even something small can make a big difference.
I found a way to make losing 5lbs more fun. Instead of just jogging, doing the elliptical or some other exercise I don’t really enjoy, I’m going to play racquetball more. I love that game. (As comedian Brian Regan says, “It’s the only sport where you can be staring at the ball and get hit in the back of the head at the same exact time.”) My wife has even volunteered to play the sport with me, so I’m scoring some bonus quality time points too. That’s fun.
Today is easy, even if you have a goal that doesn’t feel that exciting, how could you add an element of fun? (Share your idea on the Facebook group.)
Jon made “finding the fun” sound so easy. But this was pretty challenging for me. How exactly do you make developing a routine fun?
Once again, I decided I could look at this in one of two ways. I could consider how I might make the routine itself more fun, or I could choose to make the development itself fun.
I don’t know how you actually make development of something fun. I think you either enjoy developing something or you don’t. I personally am excited enough by the challenge of developing something new that will improve my life that I don’t really see the need to make it more fun.
But the actual routine part? Yeah… I could definitely see the need to make it fun.
I came up with three ideas for making my morning routine fun.
1) Make my morning alarm a fun song that I absolutely love. I decided to make Green River Ordinance’s “Love Laid Down” my morning wake-up song, because it has a lovely, stirring opening that gets my blood pumping whenever I hear it. A fun wake-up song will hopefully set the tone for my whole day.
2) Whenever I need some motivation for writing or housework or anything else I need to do, I’ll turn on music. I love, love, love music! (I’ll keep the writing music low so the lyrics don’t distract me — or else I’ll turn on instrumental music instead.)
3) I’ll take a break at least once every 2 hours, if only just to sit and put my feet up. Then I’ll either just relax in silence for 15 minutes, or else I’ll work on some knitting. And this will be mandatory! No “I’ll just push through…” No pushing through. Breaks are important.
And there we have it! My “how” and my “where’s the fun.”
By the way, I have been really productive yesterday and today, even with unconventional wake-up times!
Yesterday I was, admittedly, very slow in arising, but when I did rise I started working immediately. Today was even weirder: I woke at 3:30 a.m. and could not get back to sleep! Finally at 5:30 I decided to give up and make use of my awake time.
So I did my morning devotional, wrote out my “how” (I was so productive yesterday that I didn’t even touch the “how”), started making rolls for my concert next Saturday, and wrote a couple of articles that I had run out of time to write yesterday. After all that, I was finally tired! And it was just after 8 a.m.! So I went back to bed and didn’t wake again until 11.
But when I got back up, I hit the ground running once more. I got breakfast for myself and the girlios (yeah, a late breakfast!) and told them they had 20 minutes before it was time to clean their rooms. Meanwhile, I got back to work on dinner rolls. I made two batches, one-and-a-half for the concert, and the other one-half for our dinner tonight.
The rest of the afternoon I spent directing the cleaning of the girlios’ rooms (not doing it myself, but keeping them on task and making suggestions as to what to do next) while I cleaned up the kitchen after myself. I was really, really proud of the amazing job they did with their rooms. The only thing I did in either room was hang a few things for Elena and sweep her floor. Kiersten didn’t require any help at all. (Which is as it should be, since she’s 6 years older.)
I’ve found that it really helps prevent the whiny “but I don’t wannnnnna”s when I give them time to get used to the idea of cleaning. This is the second time in a week that I’ve said “you have X amount of time before it’s time to start cleaning,” and both times the girls got straight to work without complaint.
I’m also fortunate that they have amazing imaginations. Both times I’ve given them cleaning jobs to do, they have decided they are soldiers in an army, and I’m their general, giving them their marching orders. So all I have to do is tell them what to do, and they do it. For instance, I tell them to pick up all their trash and throw it away. Then pick up their dirty clothes. Then pick up their books. Then their toys. And so on. This also, I think, helps them avoid those overwhelmed “where do I start? What do I do first?” feelings. Because they know what they need to pick up and put away first, and then next.
Right after they were done, I finally cleaned off my bedroom dresser (oh my goodness, it was such a disaster), then vacuumed the study/playroom. So now, guess what? The only rooms left in the house that need cleaning before the concert are the bathrooms, the hallway, and the entryway. And the latter two just need sweeping and mopping – they’re already tidy.
Anyway, the first 4 days of hustle have gone really well. My mornings have never been so productive for so many days in a row. I’m looking forward to starting up a real routine on Monday, when Christmas break is officially over and “real life” begins anew.
Are you ready for the end of the holiday season?