I’ve been playing with a new scheduling system (endlessly evolving what works for me) and think you might like it too…
This week’s newsletter (check it out HERE) is filled with advice around one of the most effective tools I know, Yoga Nidra and Sankalpas. And relaxing and harnessing the power of the unconscious mind is essential (and ENJOYABLE) but THIS, right here… every day will become easier for me (and possibly you).
I never know how long things will take me and, running my own business, each day, apart from sessions and certain elements to my week, there’s always SOMETHING or several things that take me way out of my comfort zone but which also, as a sole trader, need to be done.
What are the tasks that NEED to be done for your life/work/relationships?
One of the hardest things I do is my weekly bookkeeping. I am eternally grateful for my accountant but it would be too easy for me to stick my head in the sand around finances altogether so force myself to go through it all (Irish and UK accounts) each week.
I love it when I’ve DONE it but my brain feels like it’s bleeding just attempting to update the simple spreadsheets.
It is one of the tasks I NEED to do for my business.
Setting aside a chunk of time each week means that while it sometimes builds up over a few weeks, I’ll never again let myself get into the state of overwhelm last year brought with several MONTHS’ worth needing to be done at once.
I know many people who manage this every year, setting aside a weekend for their tax prep but I can’t do that.
What do YOU need to do each day or week?
At some point, you may choose to outsource such tasks but recognising that even if these things take you longer than you feel they should, budgeting some time for
Then there are the normal, every day things and the Really Interesting Exciting Things (for me, writing my own stuff (much as I still love writing for others, too), starting new projects whether that’s improving an area of my home or office in terms of getting more organised or something completely unrelated that suddenly has me doing a deep dive – a benefit of my work and the variety it involves is that it’s NEVER boring.
What do you LOVE to do each day or week?
What helps you get into that frame of mind?
For me, my morning yoga and meditation massively help as do my walks and swims. And playing the piano. The INDULGENCE of it, even for just a minute or two a day, is a commitment to that creative part of myself and I’m pretty sure it’s having an impact on other areas of my life.
What do you WANT to do each day or week?
I love having a tidy (enough), organised (enough), clean (enough) home and while I’m not a fan of cleaning and tidying, listening to music, audio books or podcasts helps enormously.
Similarly, batch preparing my chia puddings and oatmilk shakes (which support my blood sugars staying more balanced and, for the chia, brain health) isn’t something that feels joyful but I adore seeing them ready to eat/drink when I open the fridge.
Weeding even a little each day, deleting and organising even a few of the thousands of emails and photos each day, helps me feel like I’m making a LITTLE progress at least.
What kinds of things help you feel like a Proper Grown Up taking good (enough) care of yourself and your family?
List ALL the things you’d LOVE to have DONE on a daily or weekly basis. The things that would help you feel held. Like nothing is falling through the cracks.
Feeling overwhelmed yet?
I know, I know.
I promised simplicity.
Revolutionising lives (my own at least).
But here it is.
Take all your lists and make your LIKE To Do List
The beauty of this for me is that it doesn’t have to be written in any order. I just let it all out of my brain, onto the page or index card/s.
I inject an attempt at (more) realistic expectations of myself.
Instead of the old beating myself up (with way more self compassion (something I’ve written about A LOT) than I used to have but it’s still an advanced practice at such times) for not being able to do all things I WANT to do, I now categorise them into NEED to do that day/week (eg, sessions and groups and appointments and meeting external deadlines for features and columns etc) and WANT to do that day/week.
When I was younger, I used to colour code.
One of my professors looked at my dissertation notes (on Irish Drama and the Revolution) several thousand years ago and told me he wouldn’t open the (colour coded with crayons) exercise book because ‘it feels like it would be too much like looking into your brain.’
The next week, he showed me some colour coded slides he’d prepared for a lecture and I was happy to have not scarred him for life having shown him my notebooks.
Years later, when first self employed, I used different coloured pens on a white board for editorial work or coaching or writing etc.
Then in my desk diary for personal appointments, work appointments or other work that I wanted to do that day.
But I prefer just to write in one colour now and on white index cards (or in the desk diary).
So THIS works perfectly!
Categorising by like to, want to, need to etc
I consider ANYTHING I put in the diary (or on the card) something I would LIKE to do.
And this sounds soooooo obvious but up until very recently, I was taking my choice away.
Writing it down meant I was pressuring myself to DO it even if it meant working through the night.
(And to update, while much better at logging off my laptop by 9pm since January, I realised I was still often working up to 3am on my phone. Or writing longhand).
Earlier this week, I started reorganising the dining room/guest room and instead of working through the night like I’ve done in the past, I told someone who was going to be visiting that this room was messy and I was going to KEEP it messy until I had the time and energy to finish sorting it at the weekend!
And the world didn’t tilt on its axis (and it’s all nicely organised without me having overdone it to get it all done that day.)
Similarly, I got an unexpected free* phone upgrade yesterday (at time of drafting this).
I had thought I wasn’t due one for AGES so hadn’t been counting down the months like I usually do.
In the past, an enormous amount of my time and energy would have gone into getting everything set up yesterday.
But because of this New Me, I know I’d LIKE to have it all sorted (and I HAVE deleted thousands of photos already) and I also know smaller chunks will make it more manageable than then scrambling to catch up with all the other plates that can’t spin at the same time.
I only need one pen for these LIKE To Do Lists
Once I’ve cleared my brain, I reassess my list and if it’s more than a LIKE to do it, I underline it once. I WANT to do it that day/today.
If I NEED to do it, I underline it twice.
If I REALLY REALLY REALLY need to do it, I underline it three times.
So I have four categories without having had to know where on the page to write it or what colour ink to use.
Here’s an example of one list for the garden and field.
This really is super simple and has the potential to revolutionise my life as much as plain white index cards did a couple years back.
*I jot thoughts down around everything then take the pile and categorise them later. The weekly (often more like monthly but STILL, way better than I used to be about NEVER revisiting old notebooks) index card audits help me stay (multi)focused.
How about you?
Does this appeal?
What’s your favourite method to Remember All The Things without getting overwhelmed and putting too much pressure on yourself?
Let me know by commenting on my social media posts.