Within the last year I started a business, completed school, got my real estate license, became a published columnist, got in shape, moved, and only cried like once a week (just kidding... sort of) all while managing a household while my hubby worked away the majority of the year, keeping two dogs alive and active, and trying to balance events for OKPP with any form of a social life. At one point I was working 3 jobs and in school full time. Listen, therapy was added into the mix after a while, no shame, but that's neither here nor there.
I am by NO means, truthfully, a very naturally motivated person, so how in the world did I pull that off? Even just listing it above makes me wonder how I didn't have a total mental breakdown.
The point of this particular post is to tell you all the things that helped me stay organized and focused (besides my rock star support system). A compilation of my best resources; they may not be the perfect solution for you, but if even one of these things helps to keep your head on straight - worth it.
Coffee: obviously. But what's more is the routine around coffee. My rule? The phone does not get touched before I have had one cup. Generally what that looks like is alarm goes off (or dogs jump on me, whichever comes first), coffee goes in a mug, boots and coat on, and the dogs and I are outside while I sip the sweet nectar of life into my body and they get a little morning run around. Why? Because over stimulating your brain first thing in the morning by scrolling and checking every notification you have isn't ideal. It's actually anxiety-causing. Plus, changing your state by doing something like getting fresh air or washing your face with cold water is a great way to wake your system up (thanks, Ed Mylett for this protip). So give the dogs your undivided attention and yourself a damn minute to wake up peacefully.
Phone: like I said, don't f*ckin' touch it! I was recently listening to a podcast (don't worry, we'll get into a podcast list shortly) and he said he has no notifications turned on. It allows you to fully focus on the task at hand instead of bing onto this text bing new email bing someone sent me what on Instagram? That bouncing around your focus doesn't allow you to focus on a n y t h i n g. I very recently turned everything off and I can't tell you what a difference it actually makes. I'm so much less inclined to pick my phone up every five minutes. The only thing I kept on was phone calls and text messages, and I'm not that popular so it's no problem!
Limits: Time limits are liiiiife. I know my brain doesn't like me to focus very long on one thing, it goes a million miles a minute. So if I set a timer to sit down and do one task for an hour, and I get to scroll Instagram for 5 minutes after that, fine! Find perimeters that work for you and try to stick to them. This also applies for that handy new feature on your phone where you can set time limits for social media apps. It literally times you out and you have to guiltily "ignore limit" if you want to keep mindlessly scrolling your day away.
Books: Listen, if you're in school, this one might not be for you, because when I was reading about mortgages and sales contracts for 8 hours a day, the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another book. But, I have started trying to read for half an hour before bed instead of being on my phone. I also, very recently, begun to carry a book around with me for the same reason. That inspired by the Save-On-Foods worker I saw sitting outside on break, reading! I genuinely (and maybe sadly) thought how lovely and have been trying to be more like him. It's just such a nice reset for your brain to learn new things or hear new stories instead of flashing images of other people's lives in front of your face all day.
Treat Yo Self: I don't mean go to the mall and drop the last $50 in your bank account. I mean, go for a walk (without the dogs if they're driving you nuts), take a bath, paint your nails, watch a movie, say "no" to something you don't have time for and don't feel guilty about it! I really struggle with this, as we have talked about before - the thin line between being kind to yourself and being lazy. But sometimes, you need to sleep in past 6 am to keep your body and soul from hitting a wall. Don't crash and burn at the expense of your health or mental health. Treating yourself does not mean spend money you don't have; it means take a dang minute for yourself.
Know Your Limit: I had to eventually slow down. I was a walking zombie. The year flew by and I don't remember most of it. I had to acknowledge that posting on the OKPP wasn't a top priority, and as much as I love a good night out it was going to ruin my whole next day to be out past 9 pm... Don't be embarrassed to turn things down when you have too much on your plate. Your friends still love you, your family understands, do you even like your coworkers that much? Your dogs? They love you no matter what! Maybe they didn't get to go out for an hour long walk but you're doing your best here! You are allowed to turn things down, you are allowed to go home early!
Ask For Help: Delegate what you can! You are not a super human. The amount of times I called friends this year and asked them to take my dogs for me? Too many to count. And they did it, because they are my friends! No time to cook? Odds are if you have a relative in town, they'll feed you. I went to my aunts house just to eat a handful of times, or ordered Skip The Dishes. If you have the means, doggy daycare or a walking service once a week can be a life saver! If you've taken on too much household stuff, ask your partner or your kids to help take some things off your plate! The laundry might not get folded the way you like it, but guess what? It's folded, so let it go and say thank you!
Take Care of You: Workout! Eat well! I know, that's an annoying thing to say. You barely have time to shower, let alone make a proper meal or get to a gym. I still struggle with this one - I haven't worked out in weeks and Josh has to remind me to eat some days even though he works in another province. But when I was in the middle of being the busiest I had ever been, I was also at SpinCo like 5 times a week. It relieved an insane amount of anxiety and stress, made me feel like a million bucks, and was just about the only 'me' time I got in the week. Worth every second. You don't have to do anything major, but what about jogging or hiking with the dog instead of just a poop loop around the block? No time to eat properly? Welcome to the world of smoothies. Do I think or advocate for that being the worlds best diet? Absolutely not. But know what? Some food is better than no food. Protein powder can be your best friend, and that's ok. Do what you gotta do, mama! If you're not functioning, no one else is benefiting from your sheer exhaustion.
"Eyes On Your Own Paper":
This nugget of wisdom comes to you from one of my favourite inspirational ladies, Ms Rachel Hollis. What's that mean? Stop comparing yourself to other people; your life, your body, your hustle... just stop. Just because I did all this and only contemplated moving to Fiji and changing my name once, doesn't mean it's your path. Or maybe you read my list and were like "pfff, girl that's nothin!". We are all different. Comparison is the thief of all joy. So be thankful for what you have, don't compare your peaks and valleys to other people's. Head down, keep your eyes on your own paper!
Podcasts: Get into podcasts. One for your business or area of expertise, one for pure pleasure, and one for motivation at least. Top of my lists are:
Toss one of those baddies on while you're getting groceries or driving to work. They'll motivate the heck out of you and give you a million more tips on productivity (... or how to not get murdered).
The OKPP squad is cheering you on from the sidelines - Get that promotion! Start your side hustle! Kick finals in the butt! You got this.