Do you ever feel like you are so busy that you have no idea what direction you are going or why? Things are falling through the cracks and the overwhelm is at an all time high. Meanwhile, other people seem to just have it all together. Either they are only showing you those tidy, organized glimpses of their life through social media or they have systems and strategies in place to help them put it all together. Not perfect, but manageable.
This year, I have observed how systems make a huge difference in decreasing stress, . I have also witnessed the benefits of structure in many of my clients. They are pushing themselves to try something new with a timed nutrition plan adjusted around 60-minute workouts. Having the structure in one area of life has carried over into all the other areas. And some of the benefits have included less brain fog, better energy, better focus, weight and inches lost and so much more!
So here are a few systems to consider working into your life.
Greg and I used to decide day-to-day what we were going to eat. We’d grocery shop almost every day and with only 2 of us in the house, a lot got thrown away at the end of the week and we felt like we were always cooking or grabbing takeout when neither of us felt like spending time in the kitchen. Now I sit down on the weekend and come up with 2-3 meals that I will make for the week. I cook once and eat twice…or 3-5 times depending on the recipe size. This has been working great because even though there is not much variety within each week, I can create variety week to week.
Some of my clients are creating their meal plan for the week and creating and prepackaging portioned meals on Sunday for the whole week. It takes several hours to get everything prepped on Sunday, but it makes the weekdays so much easier. As they are running between work and driving kids to school and extracurricular activities, they don’t have to think about what they will eat. They just grab and go the healthy options they’ve prepared instead of hitting up the drive thru. Because they are controlling what they fuel their bodies with, they have more sustained energy through the day.
Running a business from home makes it very easy to get distracted. I used to put off work to throw in the laundry or run an errand and end up with days of little productivity. But sit down at the end of the workday Friday or Sunday night before the new week starts to create a schedule. Block off time to for certain tasks to get completed each day.
I sit down on Sunday and look at my week. I write out all my top priority tasks and then select 2-3 to accomplish each day. Narrowing it down from a never ending to-do list helps me feel a sense of accomplishment when I check the most important things off the list. And that keeps me motivated. I have a longer list that I can consult with for those times when I have gotten ahead of schedule and want to tackle a couple of the lower priority activities.
A morning routine sets the tone for the day. Having a system in place that includes time to reflect, movement for the body, visualization of the day and the desired outcomes, reading and writing will get you in the right mindset to be focused and productive. You will clarify your top priorities. With this new sense of focus, you will be able to more clearly see if the “busy” that’s gotten onto your schedule reflects those priorities. Then you can start to shift what you say yes to.
This has been the biggest game changer in my life. I now have a routine that I go through every morning and by 8:00 am I feel so productive and ready to build on that momentum. Many of my clients feel the same way, getting their workouts in at 5:30 in the morning before the day gets away from them. This week, I spoke with a great group of women about our morning routines and how to get the most out of them for increased energy and focus. And we are starting a 30 day accountability challenge on February 1 to build this routine into habit. If you want to join us in the Facebook group, register here and I will send you a link to the group.
Just as important as the morning routine is the nighttime routine. Winding down without electronics and going to bed on a positive note leads to a more positive and inspired wake up. Shut down the TV, get off the cell phone and read something for fun. Then before you close your eyes, reflect on the day and write 1-3 things you are grateful for that day. Your mind will now be focused on the positive.
What do your systems look like?