This year feels different, I can’t quite pinpoint why, but the little changes I have been making are really adding up to big changes. I’m running three times a week, and after feeling like my body would never adapt to that again, I knocked 3 minutes off my 10k time this week. My organisation system seems to be finally working, there are days when all the things on my to do list actually get knocked off. I’m writing lots more, but still have time to do fun stuff. Family life seems happier.
I didn’t believe it was little things I needed to overhaul, I thought I needed to change everything – so I couldn’t be happier. The shortcuts I shared last month seemed to resonate, so here are some of the shortcuts I have made recently:
- Lay out your clothes the night before.
I can’t bear routine, but this feels like more of a ritual. After weeks of scrambling through the washing pile we decided enough is enough. Mr A sorted the washing while listening to L read on Sunday night, we all put our clothes away and I joined the kids in laying out my clothes for the next day. The change was remarkable. It seemed to buy me so much time and headspace. Sometime we are so busy doing things for the rest of the people in our lives, we forget what we can do for ourselves
2. Family Batch cook
Two hours spent chopping and cooking together as a family on the first Sunday in the month resulted in a pile of old takeaway boxes full of spag bol, chilli and an Innocent veg curry recipe I have fallen in love with. Having three meals a week we can just take out of the freezer has bought us so much time in the evenings. We enjoyed the cook off too
3. Plan the week ahead
I use a simple tear off pad with spaces for writing each day of the week. I am finding myself doing this task on a Friday now for the week ahead, instead of a Sunday night or Monday – a sign I am much more organised than I was. The pad has 7 spaces per day, and I am realising that 7 is also around the maximum my brain can handle on a daily to do list – it is helping me to say no to things that will overfill the week.
4. Pomodoro breaks
I’ve installed the Pomodoro app on my computer, which I love. It times you in 25 minute bursts. This is definitely making me more productive and I noticed how much I am loving the 5 minute timed breaks. Strech, cup of tea, bit of pottering or a quick tidy up, a burst of facebook, and then back to being really productive.
5. My Fitness pal
A friend mentioned this to me, I was cynical, but if you are trying to lose weight it really is a clever app. It monitors your activity via your phone too, so gives you a great indication of how much extra food you can eat based on the exercise you do. As a runner I find this really helpful. It also looks at the nutritional balance of your food, so you can see where you diet is lacking. Fascinating stuff and it is working well for me
6. Monthly Goals
If I had tried to do all the things I wanted in one go last month I would have achieved nothing. This year seems to be really falling into place, because I am taking it a bit at a time. Having monthly goals is helping. Building up exercise first, then revisiting my diet has worked on the health front. Managing my time and tasks last month, before getting more serious about the pomodoro technique and productivity has worked in terms of life management.
7. Champion your loved ones
I’m realising how much the little things you do for family and friends come back to you in abundance. I read this article about relationships, it said the people in the happiest relationships responded to their partners ‘bids’ for attention a whopping 87% of the time. A bid could be a question about something at home , a comment about a newspaper article, pointing out a passing bird, a grumble about an ache or pain. The researchers could predict with startling accuracy the couples who would be together, based on observing the responses to each others bids.
8. Get up before everyone else
That time on your own with the day is sacred, whether you write 500 words, do some exercise, sit and sip tea, sling a load of washing on, it doesn’t matter. The day belongs only to you.
9. A Candle on my desk
This makes me so much happier and cosier.
10. New Smoothies
Last month, after getting fed up with lousy experiments, I decided it was time to try some new smoothies, the best ones I made and the recipes are here.
Do have a look at last month’s little shortcuts too, there are some great tips there too.
Image Credit – Shutterstock, Bouquet of Lilacs, Big Bouquet