Thanks to Marsha Battee for hosting and inspiration, and to Brittney Wilson for bringing us all together for another Blog Carnival Extravaganza. Now this topic is about self-care, but you really should tune in to the podcast as I share my spin on what I need to do in my day-to-day to make this happen, but I also admit that this practice still come easy.
1. Put it on the schedule please
I kid you not I schedule everything. Does that take the spontaneity out of my day or my life? Of course not! Schedules change and things do happen when those changes occur. However, if I can visualize what my day looks like even if it looks like I have to increase my hustle for the day, I still feel a lot more relaxed that I at least have an expectation for that day.
Not to mention if there’s a slot that opens up (like I mention on the show), then I might actually get to squeeze in a little “me” time in that open slot.
If you haven’t tuned in to Theming Your Days to Get it Done, check it out here.
2. I just woke up
Don’t roll over and grab that phone! I’ve actually made this mistake and it literally threw me off the rails for several hours in my day, I then got behind in what I needed to do, and I’m sure you can imagine what that meant for my self-care for the day. I was a hot mess.
So instead, roll over and give your partner a hug (if/when applicable), get some exercise, find your breath, get some breakfast, something other than jumping on technology to answer emails. Yes, emergencies happen and you may need to address these, but I’m sure these aren’t happening everyday. If they are happening everyday, then there’s likely a deeper issue.
3. Set up a system
Set up a system that works for you. Whether it’s pen and paper, all technologically based, or a hybrid system of the two, just set it up and use it. The system can always evolve over time.
A system like Asana, Slack, or Evernote can help minimize those emails, especially if you’re working with teams. Many of these apps and software programs have a free version and the paid ones can actually be reasonably priced when you’re needs grow.
For me, paper just makes me nervous. For whatever reason I start breaking out in papercuts when there’s too much paper. I understand that every person has their own perception of what falling behind looks like, but there’s just something about stacks of paper that makes me think I’m drowning.
I like my desk clear. I’m less anxious when there’s no paper and I feel a bit more nimble in tackling projects. Call it a weird hang up, but I just know for my own mental well-being that I need to take things to the cloud.
Can I do a lot of things at once? Yes!
However can I do all of these things well when I’m trying to tackle them at the same time? Well, that’s debatable.
Ask yourself if it’s fair to your client who’s hired you to do a job and you’re producing mediocre results because you’re juggling so many things at once and you’re not crushing it. Not good.
Can you have a few balls in the air? Sure. But, just make sure whatever it is that you’re juggling isn’t going to suffer because of the complexity of the task or the urgency of when it needs to get done.
5. Plan deep Into your calendar
Speaking of getting things done, this is an opportunity to start building that runway of time into your calendar. Launching a new product, service, brand, or thinking about shifting all kinds of gears in your business? Well, make sure you build in enough time for these things so that you’re not robbing yourself of precious “you” time when you’re constantly burning the candle at both ends.
Of course let me be clear and honest from my own experience. Rarely have I launched, re-launched, re-branded, re-done anything where I planned so well that I had all of this extra time toward the completion date where I had all of this extra time. It has happened on rare occasions, but many times I’ve had to make a big push of my own resources to finish, however I had the built in reserves from the beginning because I budgeted for this time.
Schedule 30, 60, 90 days out if you need to. Even further if that’s where you think you need to be to get it done. It’s all case dependent, but ultimately you’re building momentum as you start checking things off the list and closer to your completion date.
6. Stop and take breaks
The whole adage that you just need to put your head down or shift in high gear to get things done is certainly something I’ve said (and still to this day) during the workday without coming up for air. Well, you need oxygen. Some fresh oxygen outside might even be better.
So, if you think you can work a straight 8, 10, 12+ hours in the day without some scheduled breaks in between and still crush it, then you are definitely a machine. However I think we can agree that we’re not built like machines.
We need to look up, step away, connect with peers, call someone, take a walk, whatever it is. Just stop. Breath. And, listen.
Test this out. Trust me, it’ll be worthwhile.
So you’re telling me that you just don’t have enough time to get it all done. Well, try to schedule some breaks in the day where you’re not doing any work. Just a few minutes peppered into your workday could net you some serious productivity because you’ll be more rejuvenated to get back into it. It doesn’t seem logical, but these small breaks can make a huge difference in your daily output.
7. We’re going to have to go with “no” on this one
You might be saying no to someone, however it’s probably because you’re saying yes to yourself, or whatever else you may have on your plate.
Personally this was a struggle for me, especially in the early days of my business, but this mentality just isn’t sustainable. I make promises and I deliver on those promises. I’m all about the execution and if I keep saying yes to everything then I’m going to start falling short.
If I have slotted time for a bike ride at a certain time in my day and you want to set up a meeting with me, well then you better grab your bike as well because we’re going for a ride. Of course only a few people have taken me up on that offer and in all honesty I want to make sure I’m giving you the attention to detail you deserve.
8. Reward yourself
It can either be something big or small, but make it meaningful to you. Schedule a manicure, pedicure, a small shopping trip, a weekend away, or a long vacation, but just set it up and allow yourself to accept the reward when you’ve reached your goal.
We all like to be rewarded, but sometimes we’re the last to reward ourselves. Who’s better at knowing what you want than you? Set those goals, achieve them, and do a little something for yourself as an appreciation of a job well done.
LOVE the pic on "getting good with me." Another Innovative post with straight talk no fluff advice. I have to go with a big "YES" on this one. xommm
@the yoga nurse Glad you like the pic. I had this one in my archives and just felt like it was a perfect time/post to use it.
Great tips, Kevin. I think putting yourself in your calendar and planning deep are excellent ways to ensure that you are keeping your self care in your day to day thinking and doing. As you say, I can change things and even if I do I suspect I'd be more inclined to reschedule a self-care plan than to just forget about it. It is all too easy to have time erosion and all of your suggestions help set clear priorities. Thank you!
@BethBoynton Yes! Time erosion. Love that concept. Because of this practice to schedule everything I still have time "flying" by, but I can also look at what and how many meetings/tasks I had that day to put it into perspective.
Excellent advice for all of us. I LOVE...."We are going to have to go with No on this one"!
I think I will paste it on my desk...after I organize...and get rid of all the paper:)
@DonnaCarolMaheady It's a hard concept, but once you master it you'll find that it actually is very empowering (on both sides).
@GregMercer2 It takes time Greg. Just start with the major to-do's and then start peppering in the other small tasks. I have quite a few calendar entries that are just on repeat because I do these tasks everyday.
The only way I make it is to plan plan plan, you mentioned this several times. I have always loved the quote from - Benjamin Franklin who supposedly once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."
@RNmommybaby Ol' Ben Franklin knew what he was talking about ;)
Love this post, Kevin. Totally agree with you on checking the device first thing. My business coach always warned us against this and once I started listening, my days went much smoother. Why? Because I started the day off with self-care modalities that would ground and center me. So much more productive! I also loved your tip of scheduling it all in. I too schedule EVERY thing in; great tips all around.
@elizabeth scala Thanks Elizabeth. Yes, checking the handheld device first thing in the a.m. was a hard lesson learned for me (as I mentioned on the podcast). It just ruined my day and I felt like such an A** for being such an A** for the remainder of that particular day.