Blogging daily just isn’t going to happen for me, apparently… especially when I have a musician coming to my house in 5 days. I did mention this, right? Okay, just checking.
Anyway, Fearless Leader Jon’s Day 5 e-mail:
Let’s talk WHEN!
It’s fun to plan our goals for someday, but as you know, someday doesn’t really exist. It’s make believe. If you really want to accomplish something, you have to decide WHEN you are going to do it. Otherwise, you dramatically reduce your odds of actually doing it.
So, WHEN are you going to work on your goal?
There are two ways I want you to answer this question:
Let’s talk macro. I want you to look at your calendar for the next 25 days. Circle days that it’s going to be difficult for you to hustle on your goal. For me, I’m going to Crested Butte for four days on a family vacation. I will need to specifically prepare to stay on track during those days with my goal of losing 5lbs.
Now the micro, at what time of day will you do what you are going to do? For instance, I know that I will work out earlyTuesday morning this week because I’m driving down to Atlanta to see a friend that afternoon.
Get out your calendar. Get macro. Get micro. Get focused on the WHEN!
Here’s what I shared in our Facebook group:
MACRO: Easy: Jan. 13 through 27. Yes, two weeks. Why? Two words: Australian Open. I’m a huge tennis buff, and during any Grand Slam tournament my life tends to go off the rails as I follow it obsessively. And forget about a morning routine – it’s a struggle for me to even get dressed. (Yes, it’s that bad. No, I’m not proud!) The challenge for me will be to not allow that to happen. That actually might be easier this year because we no longer have cable. I should be able to watch the tournament on my clock thanks to ESPN3.
MICRO: I’ve decided to make my morning routine cover the following times: Monday through Friday, from 5:30 to 11 a.m.; Saturday, 7:30 to 11 a.m.; and Sunday, 6:30 to 9 a.m. (I’m really committed to making Sunday a day of rest, so the only things my morning routine will incorporate will be a devotional, breakfast, post-breakfast cleanup, and preparing for church.)
(Yes, I told total strangers about my weirdness re: tennis. I suppose that’s a step in the right direction?)
Then we had Jon’s e-mail for this morning:
Time for WHERE!
Geography still matters.
Email is great, Facebook is awesome, Twitter is fun, but real life, real space is still important.
Study after study has shown that people who write down WHERE they will accomplish their goals, in addition to yesterday’s WHEN, have better success rates. For instance, in a study by Peter Gollwitzer from the University of Konstanz, Germany, two groups of students were asked to work on essays over the holiday break.
One group was told to write down when and where they would work on the essays. The other group was not given this instruction. At the end of the experiment, 32 percent of the students who did not make a plan had completed their essays. Guess what percent of students who had come up with a plan finished? 71%! That’s twice as many. (Via the book “Succeed.”)
So WHERE are you going to work on your goal?
Get specific. “My home” is a terrible answer. I want, “My home office in the red chair.” The “coffee shop” is no good too. I want, “The second floor of the coffee shop by the window in the chair that makes you sit up straight.”
So let’s have it. Write it down. Facebook it.
WHERE is your WHERE?
The fact that I had to get specific forced me to think a little more about where I do things. I mean, my chores are pretty obvious. I do dishes in the kitchen, I do laundry in the laundry room, I vacuum whatever rooms need to be vacuumed, and so on.
But some things aren’t so obvious. For instance, my morning devotionals and journaling – where do I do those? My answer is “it depends.” If I’m the first one in the house up, I go into the living room. It’s quiet, save for the hum of the aquarium, which I find soothing. I can easily grab my cup of coffee, and then sit down with it and commune with God.
If Eric has woken before me, though, I stay in our bedroom. Sometimes I stay in bed and read there, then journal in the bedroom recliner; other times I actually leave the bed before I start reading. (If I need coffee, I usually wind up sitting in the recliner, because once I’ve gone to get coffee, it feels like I may as well just stay out of bed.)
My writing – where do I do that? My journal writing, I have no problem doing either in our bedroom or in the living room. I like curling up to write in my journal.
But when it comes time to tackle my freelance writing on the laptop, I’ve decided to take it to my office. Part of the reason I set up my office in a little walk-in closet off the study/playroom is so I can close the door and be completely free from distractions when I write, even if I’m the only one in the house. I’ve found I can focus better when I’m sitting in an office chair at a desk.
Now, sometimes I sit in my bedroom and write on my laptop instead. That’s usually when I’m not feeling well – if I’m having cramps or a headache. But if I feel mostly pretty good, I definitely work better in my office.
Finally, I’ve decided that part of my morning routine will include a plank, then six yoga poses. I’m going to do those in the living room, because that’s where I keep my yoga mat (it’s behind the sofa. Shhhh).
About that morning routine: last night, the last thing I did before I went to bed was write out a list of how I wanted my morning to proceed. I came up with two lists, actually: one for the first two hours of my morning, and the other for the second two hours. My weekday mornings naturally split into two parts: getting Kiersten ready for school, and then getting Elena ready.
So from 5:30 to 7:30, I will:
Devotional & journal writing
Get dressed/wash face/fix hair
Empty dishwasher & reload if necessary
Have breakfast (that includes my own breakfast and Kiersten’s)
From 7:30 to 9:30, I will:
Wake Elena (if necessary)
Fix her breakfast & give Winnie breakfast
Plank, then 6 yoga poses
Throw load of clothes into washing machine
Brush Elena’s hair
Take Elena to school
Complete 1 writing task (either freelance or blog post)
I tried out the routine this morning, and all told it went quite well. I know it won’t always go this smoothly, because the girls had no school today (snow & cold day). I didn’t have to wake either girl or get anyone off to school. They didn’t rise until just after 9, so I didn’t have to make anyone’s breakfast but my own.
The one thing I did not do was any writing before 9:30. I blame that on the migraine that hit this morning. I managed to switch clothes from washer to dryer and start a new load (I got a load of Eric’s clothes washed, but it was too large for 1 load, so I had to split it) and do my planking and yoga, but after that I was just wracked with nausea and head pain, so I took a short nap. That was at 8:15, and at 8:45 I got back up. I think at that point I made myself a cup of tea and made a few phone calls.
Then, with the girlios awake, I made breakfast for them, and by the time I was done with that, it was nearly 9:30. However, I did do some writing shortly thereafter, so that was good.
I look forward to trying it again tomorrow, even though (once again) the girls won’t have school. I certainly hope they will have school at some point this week!
One more thing I wanted to mention is how my evening routine has gone. So far it’s been working really well. I’ve been cleaning the kitchen nightly, and it’s made such a difference as far as how I feel in the morning. It’s great to awaken to a clean kitchen. Ditto with setting up the coffeemaker. I had recently fallen off the wagon in doing that — because I was “too tired” — but boy, it makes such a difference when that’s one less thing I need to do in the morning.
Making bread in the bread machine has become much more automatic as well. I really had no excuse for not making bread whenever we needed it, because I have my favorite sandwich bread recipe memorized. It’s just a matter of actually doing it. Now that I consider it a “must-do,” I don’t even really think about it. I just grab the pan and start throwing the ingredients in.
The one thing that has not really been as smooth has been setting up the breakfast table. One night I set myself up to have oatmeal, but decided in the morning that I would prefer grits. Tonight, I didn’t set up the table at all because all our cereal/oatmeal/grits bowls are in the dishwasher. So it’s still a work in progress. I may switch to just setting bowls out on the table, rather than bringing all the nonperishable food items to the table. When they’re clean, that is.
But it’s happening. Slowly I’m starting my days with more intention and focus, rather than just meandering into them and waiting for inspiration to strike to actually start being a grownup. So I’m moving in the right direction!