Updated: Apr 7, 2020
I have always been pretty good about doing most of what I should -- I eat veggies, drink water, go to yoga class, read and research, save money etc. It has come to my attention that it is time to eliminate the bad habits or there won't be room to make the most of the good ones.
I think kicking five habits will be enough to start whittling my time down to just the things that really matter to me.
"It's either, Hell yes or No" -- Derek Sivers.
If it isn't contributing to a growing, stimulated, contented aspect of my life I plan on eliminating it.
Now to figure out which habits are on the chopping block....
1 T.V. after ten.
Every night after dinner my husband and I settle into some series or other. They are usually really well written and gripping shows. We've just re-binged every season of Downton Abbey. We love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, West World, Game of Thrones, Victoria, True Detective and The Crown. These are all quality shows with great writing and are worth some time. However, I'm not sure they ought to get the whole evening -- almost every night.
Plan of action: Set a "t.v. off" alarm for 9:45 or so. After that, reading, writing, drawing or some other activity that is in a non vegetative state. Something that quietens the evening might even be a way to go. How luxurious would a bath and and audiobook be during a week night? I'm interested to know any other habit breaking strategies for night time t.v. that work.
2. Stupid Ipad games. I have deleted candy crush (twice), gardenscapes (twice), and now it is time for Design Home to go. I play Covet (a fashion design game) too. (I think I'll allow myself that one. Is that a terrible idea?) During t.v. time I go back and forth between the these different games constantly. I usually watch two screens at once -- three when I'm checking texts and instagram on my phone. It's too much. I used to read books with paper pages -- so civilized.
Plan of action: Delete them. Leave the iPad in my office during the evening. Any tips to kick this one would be great too. My plan of action seems a little weak.
3.Unfocused workout schedule. I love yoga, barre, spin, dance and other classes. If I have a set class every week I am pretty good about getting there. On the days where I wing it I either have an unfocused, half assed workout or I totally miss my workout. (This is especially true if the weather is cold and gray -- my motivation slows in gloomy weather).
Plan of action: 4 classes a week that I will sign up for on Sundays and put in the calendar. (Once it is in there it happens.) I already have a preferred Thursday morning and Sunday morning class. Two more won't be hard. On the other days it can be "wing it" days. At least four workouts will be full commitments. More than four will be extra credit.
4. Taking forever to get focused on work in the morning. My mornings start out pretty well. I do a gratitude practice and meditate, get coffee and breakfast under way, make the bed and get dressed. Then I go up to my office and fiddle around for ages before I get any focused work done. I have an Etsy shop, writing projects and an investing practice that constitute my job. I also have a brain full of jousting squirrels and other distractions. I wander back and forth from task to task and get a bunch of stuff half started and nothing finished for the first few hours of the day.
Plan of action: Daily tasks and habit stacking. This idea came from a book that I am halfway through reading -- Atomic Habits by James Clear. He suggests that you tack a good habit onto one of your already set-in-stone good habits. The habits I'll stack will be just after the meditation and during the coffee I will write. It may be best to start this out with a pen and paper. That way I won't let one of the jousting squirrels in my head lead me to check email or facebook or anything like that.
5. Too many things on the to do list. This has been a factor that has contributed to my weak workout schedule and meandering morning. My list is daunting and it takes me forever to get to it. Once I am working at a decent pace I don't want to stop to workout. If I haven't got a scheduled class I don't workout and I never feel like I finished my day because the to do list is unrealistic.
Plan of action: This idea comes from a book called The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo. He used a tomato (pomodoro) shaped kitchen timer to work in short chunks. He'd tackle a task for the 20-30 minutes before the timer went off. That way he'd only have to worry about a small, manageable bits for work. A four hour task is daunting and I drag myself into it reluctantly. Only 20-30 minutes isn't that overwhelming. I also plan on having only three main work things on my to do list after the morning ritual. Anything beyond that is extra credit.
Tell me where I am going right and where I am going wrong.
I am just at the planning stage of these changes. I want to set myself up for success. If you, dear reader, see bumps in the road of this path let me know. What worked for you? I am willing to rework it. I have just quit a full time job to make investing, writing and my Etsy store my full focus. I'm still working out the kinks of a self employed life with time for self care, family and fun. I'm excited to get it into a functioning routine as soon as I can.
At least I've given myself tons of extra credit opportunities.