I was behind on my promises, both personal and public.
For the last twenty days, I have revamped my goals, improved how I follow through, and created habits to sustain a lifestyle that I enjoy, by taking a few simple steps.
Too Many Goals, Not Enough Routine
The truth is, I have too many goals, and a long list of projects that need my attention.
For those of you new to Paper Palaces, I am currently working on a twelve-novel saga. I am also a teacher.
Managing time is paramount, and with this many priorities, there are days where I am left exhausted. Ask any teacher or author.
Managing time is a big deal. It is often the difference between excellence and mediocrity.
During February and March, I found it harder and harder to finish what I wanted to accomplish. I call this time of the year the “February slump” due to the nexus of days without sunlight that precedes all school-related deadlines.
Recently, I have worked on two lifestyle changes that have super-charged my mental health and approach to productivity: a clear morning routine, and a consistent journaling routine.
A Clear Morning Routine and a Consistent Journaling Routine
The newest changes were inspired by ModernHealthMonks video on a 7-Step Morning Success Routine.
After watching the video, I thought about how I lacked a productive morning routine outside of the usual “get ready for work and out of the house” plan.
In my case, the first step was sitting down and figuring out my personal goals.
I had to sit down and ask myself, if I accomplished three things this year, what would they be? They were:
- Contribute more to the wedding planning process with my fiancé
- Finish writing The Witch’s Uprising and The Staghorn Crown by the Summer of 2018.
- Being healthier
Those translated into these three goals for the year:
Make meaningful contributions to the wedding and our future marriage daily.
Writing as many books as I can in 2018.
Creating causes and conditions for a healthy body, mind, and speech.
Next, I made three daily habits that aligned with my goals, as suggested by the ModernHealthMonk.
Check in with my fiancé and our wedding notes every day to see our next actionable step.
Write every day.
Do at least 10 minutes of with healthy movement or exercise, light or heavy, daily.
I then tried to find ways to work this into my daily routine. This was the easiest part to plan, but the hardest part to implement. Checking with my fiancé was easy. In fact, the wedding planning process feels better by the day. Health has been no challenge at all, and finding a consistent writing schedule has been the most challenging.
I have started every morning with a 20 minute Qi-Gong routine and replaced my coffee with green tea. For a point of reference, I was drinking close to a full pot of coffee a day. This little switch changed my mood considerably!
A Typical Morning
At 5:40 am, I do 20 minutes of Qi Gong movements.
My body feels loose and limber. The aches and pains from yesterday, the heart palpitations of the morning, and my endless barrage of thoughts leave me, almost effortlessly.
From 6:00 – 6:40, I have a series of five minute tasks:
- I write down my top three goals of the year, and I think of three positive memories, usually involving my brother, my parents, or my friends.
- I then spend five minutes writing three sentences towards any writing project I am working on, or whatever else will come to mind. This exercise helps me “rip off the bandaid” and start the day with activity.
- I then sit for 5 minutes and go through my agenda hour by hour, reacquainting myself with the yesterday’s promises and ambitions, and resolving to complete them.
- I do a small chore to keep our apartment in good shape.
- I boil water and unload the dishwasher.
- I steep tea and make toast.
- Then I set aside ten minutes to just eat breakfast before showering, dressing, and leaving for work.
By the time I leave for work, the routine takes me 90 minutes – less if I am in a hurry or need to cut back the time.
I have literally never felt more calm and ready to start my day after going through these motions. This routine ensures that I take care of my body, eat breakfast, and start the day accomplishing a few small, but important things.
A Consistent Journaling Routine
When I learn something new, I take notes. At 7:00pm, I journal.
There are no time constraints, and there is no minimum to be met. At 7:00pm, I just journal. I enjoy the simplicity of that idea.
If I know I will be somewhere at 7:00pm, I schedule journaling time into my day, wherever it fits. Usually, it’s best a few hours before bed.
The realization? I can accomplish what I need to if I truly prioritize my tasks and execute them within the timeframe available to me. Doing this takes discipline, but setting these goals and following through is definitely worth it.
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