It’s so easy to fall into chaos when you have NO routine or any kind of structure to your day. Sure, some days you feel like a bad*ss and don’t want to live by the rules but if you’re like the rest of us, most of your days start with structure – an early morning coffee, a run around the block, quick shower and toothbrush (or a seven step skin care ritual for the very disciplined of us). Having no structure to your day just gives it away for entropy to take over.
Let’s do a mental exercise. Think about a day in your life (the catch: it has to be a workday) where you didn’t have a schedule or a set routine. Boss isn’t around, you’re free to work wherever you want. In fact, you’re free to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Did anything get done? Were you able to accomplish anything productive or do anything fun? I’m pretty sure, you decided to work from home in your pajamas, unshowered and hungry at 1pm. Then you started to panic after realizing you have 3 hours to complete a day’s work – all because you didn’t have a battle plan.
A battle plan.
You have to plan out your days, otherwise you’ll be running around like a headless chicken That’s what happens when you leave things to chance, all you do is react to circumstances. That leaves you tired, stressed, or feeling out of control of your life.
When life coaches talks about structure, they basically mean systems that streamline a task or a process. These could mean, routines, schedules, protocols, lists, etc. So here are a few ideas on how you can structure your day for less stress.
Batch your tasks together.
Need copies of that report? Need to sign some documents? Need to get some office supplies? You can batch these things together and accomplish them in one go. Go to the supplies room and quickly grab the stuff you need while you produce copies and sign some documents. You can also create themes like “cleaning”, “supplies run”, or “work” and break those off into manageable bite sized pieces. For example, for “cleaning”, you can break them into: wipe down kitchen counters, wash plates and coffee mugs, quickly put away cereal boxes, etc.
Plan your week.
Use a journal, a handy notebook, or an app to plan out your week. Preferably do this on a Sunday. It’s the perfect day to check your calendar for appointments, classes, meetings, etc. Plan out what your week will look like and then fill in the details the night before each day. If you know what you’re going to do and where you’re going to be for the day – you will feel less stressed.
Plan for self care.
You have to be able to set a hard stop to your day and leave time for self care. Sure, you leave work at 5pm but then continue working at home while eating take out. Keep doing that and you’ll burn out. Schedule downtime and fill it out with things you love. If you love a good Netflix binge, no one’s judging you. Thinking of taking an online class or getting online therapy? Then add that to your schedule. Love playing with your cats – then go ahead and schedule some play time with them.
Get into the habit of structuring your day. Aristotle famously said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Create excellence by establishing a positive structure to your day.