Update on my morning routine with baby

  

A few weeks ago I posted about how I needed to re-establish new routines for my life with my five-month-old. Well,  I have resounding good news for you: IT WORKS. It’s been great! My morning now looks like this:

  • Wake up, make coffee, drink a glass of water
  • Hop in the shower
  • Feed Jack (Willy gets Jack when they wake up and they play together until I’m done in the shower)
  • Eat breakfast With Willy, put on make-up (it makes me feel like a real person) 
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Jack goes down for his first nap and while he naps I do my first round of cleaning for the day.

By the time Jack is sleeping at 8:30, I have already accomplished so much, that I’m able to sit down and enjoy the silence. I’ve even CLEANED stuff. I’ve realized that I need to get something done like this first thing in the morning before laziness/ tiredness sets in. It’s really easy in the afternoon to “justify” not doing any cleaning because I’m tired or whatever excuse that comes up.

You know, I was really sceptical about the difference having my shower first would make. One day I was having a bunch of moms over and I had to maximize my morning so I hopped in the shower first since Jack seemed to be fine waiting to eat. It revolutionized my morning! Instead of waiting till his nap and showering, now I can use that time to do other things.

I’m very pleased with myself. Now I need to make sure I don’t get lazy with the cleaning because that’s been the best part of all: I don’t feeling gross about this apartment I’m sitting in all day long.

Lie 3: “I don’t have the right tools.”

This is the final post addressing the three lies we believe that lead us into procrastination. See the introduction post here and you can find the first post here and the second here.

I clued into this one a few weeks ago. I had been putting off doing a task because I had no idea what I was going to use to do the task that needed doing. Then the task was “magically” done (thanks, Willy!). When I asked him what he used to do it, I was a little shocked and embarrassed. I was making this thing to be overly complicated and it really didn’t need to be. I really believed that I didn’t have the right tools to get the job done, when that was totally false.

I think there have been many cases of this in my life that meant something just didn’t get done. In my head these things require a super elite and specialized tool to get the job done.

This is the exact reason why a toddler’s forehead print is still on my TV from 11 months ago. Half the time I can’t see it because the light hides it, but when I do see it, I think “oh yeah, I should wipe that off.” Then I think “with what? What won’t streak, or mess up the TV screen etc.?” And then the moment is over and a year passes. Last week I went to clean it off in a surge of cleaning enthusiasm and I found that this forehead smudge was no longer just a smudge. It was hard thanks to 11 months of dust mixing with the toddler forehead oils.

“What should I use to clean that off?” I asked Willy.

“Windex.”

Life is so simple for that man. In my head I needed a microfibre cloth and a specialized cleaner. When I think about it, I can’t decide how much it’s me being a total idiot or it’s my brain exploding the situation to be 1000x more complicated than necessary so that I can sit on my couch a little longer. I think it’s probably 60% me being an idiot and 40% my brain being crafty.

What’s your excuse?

I’m sure you can think of various ways this works out in your life. You don’t start keeping an agenda because you haven’t found THE PERFECT ONE. You haven’t started taking pictures of pretty things because you don’t have your super expensive DSLR that you’ve been dreaming of. You’ve only worn your favourite outfit once because you’re afraid you’ll ruin it when you clean it because it’s some fancy material. You keep putting off starting your (mythical) home work out because you don’t have a yoga mat. You keep putting off starting to run because you don’t have good shoes or you don’t want to go out in public in the only workout clothes you have: your husband’s T-shirt and shorts that ride up with every stride (read: what I wear to the gym. I’m always the ugliest dressed person there but at least I’m going!).

So how do we combat this?

  1. Think about it. Do you really need it? If you still think you do. What are the ways around this specialized tool? How would you do it if you were poor (rather than just too lazy to buy it)
  2. Ask someone. If you’re too embarrassed to ask your mom, friend, brother, workout inspiration, do what everyone else since the history of the modern internet has done: google it.

Lie 2: “X is more rewarding right now”

This is the second post addressing the three lies we believe that lead us into procrastination. See the introduction post here and the first post in the series here.

 

lie2-bucket-list

When it comes to procrastinating, I think this is the most familiar problem. How many times have procrastinators chosen TV, movies, video games, Facebook, or Netflix instead of doing their essay for class? More insidious is when we do good things instead of the task we should be doing. At work I always have tasks I prefer over others, and sometimes the only thing motivating me to do the crummy jobs was the fact that I was being paid to do them. This doesn’t apply as well at home or in our personal lives. Even the idea that we’re paying for our courses isn’t motivation enough for us to do our work sometimes. This is all because of the lie we believe that this other more fun thing is more rewarding than doing the crummy task.

I was starting this lie in the face last week. Jack was down for a nap and I could watch TV or clean. The day before I felt AWESOME after doing some cleaning. As I was tempted to watch TV I remembered that this idea that I would feel better if I watched TV instead of cleaning was totally false. TV would be fun right now, but then I’d be left with the icky feeling that I avoided what I really needed to do AND left with the mess.

Until you’ve learned through experience that Doing The Thing is, in fact, more rewarding than Not Doing The Thing, it’s so much harder to believe that not doing It isn’t better. It’s also easy to quickly forget.

The way I deal with these lies is to remember the times I Did The Thing and felt GREAT. It’s an exercise that requires intentional thinking, but I find is fairly useful. The other thing that helps (I talk about this in my ebook) is building momentum.

How do you battle this lie? 

Lie 1: “It will take too long to do right now”

This is the first post addressing the three lies we believe that lead us into procrastination. See the introduction post here.

Original photo by William Warby

Original photo by William Warby

How many times have you thought, “I need to do _____” only to “realize” you don’t have enough time. Let’s be honest with ourselves: 9 times out of 10 that is not true in the least. When I first started attacking this idea that I didn’t have enough time, I started timing myself. I would stare at the pile of dishes and think, “I should do this but I’ll be late if I start now.” After I timed it, I realized it was a 3 minute job and I often had 5 to spare. This was such a freeing  realization because I sincerely believed both things: that I needed to do the job and that I didn’t have enough time. Soon I realized that this part of my brain was broken and I needed to acknowledge that the thought “it will take too long” should be treated as an unreliable calculation.

I’m not sure how this lie started worming its way into brains everywhere but it really needs to stop. If you think you don’t have time – try anyways and see how far you get. Half done dishes are better than never done. After you time yourself doing several activities that will “take too long” my guess is you’ll notice that they were a 10 minute job, not a 30 minute job your brain exploded the situation into.

Stresshacker.com affirms this and explains:

Learning to better estimate time to task completion is a skill that needs to be developed by procrastinators who, for whatever reason, seem to fall short of its mastery.

There you have it. Next time you think, “I don’t have time to do that right now” call your own bluff and give it a try!

 

The 3 lies that trap us into procrastinating

Original Photo by  Paul Swansen

Original Photo by Paul Swansen

In the last little bit I’ve been needing a refresher on some of the stuff I’ve previously blogged about on  the topic of productivity. These days I’m learning what it means to not procrastinate around the home. My problem at home is that I’m not a cleaner, and I’m rarely tidy for longer than a few days. I just slink back into my old slobbish ways. Growing up my parents called me Messy Jessy for obvious reasons: my room was always total chaos, but it was a chaos I understood. I could always find whatever I was looking for UNTIL I TIDIED.

Now that life with baby has mostly fallen into a recognizable routine it’s time I figured out how to keep this place in order. Thus the return to all the things I’ve learned about decision fatigue and habit development, productivity, and everything else. But before I remembered to pull up those old blog posts, I found myself Googling something like “help! I’m a slob” and found FLYlady.net which is a frightening website but a really good system. As I read through it I could identify elements of keystone habits, combating decision fatigue, and a whole range of other things I’ve blogged about. Basically, I was in heaven. In reading through the website and adopting (and adapting) the plan for myself, I noticed a few mental traps I always fall into when it comes to getting things done.

Over the next few posts I’m going to address each one individually. I’ve talked about some of these in my e-book and definitely in previous blog posts, but never as specifically as this. I hope it will be as helpful to you as the realizations have been for me.

Chronodex: an introduction to the visual time management system

chronodextitle

There are two places I get good ideas about my life: Pinterest and my husband. This week my cousin-in-law (is that a thing?) pinned a picture of the chronodex/hyperdex/spiraldex and if you’re looking at these for the first time you’re probably thinking, “How the heck does this work?”

As I started googling it I found out a few things:

  1. It’s time management for visually oriented people.
  2. It’s created by Patrick Ng at Scription
  3. Chronodex is the original but since then people have adapted it to suit their needs. Now there’s hyperdex, spiraldex etc.
  4. It’s super useful if you want to track how you’re multitasking/layering OR track different schedules

How do you use it?

 

CHRONODEX

A chronodex version of 2 schedules. It's less obvious there are 2.

A chronodex version of 2 schedules. It’s less obvious there are 2.

Let’s take a look at the Chronodex first. It’s fashioned after a clock and depending on the version you have it has 12h-24 on it. Basically, you colour in when you’re busy either before your day starts or after to track what you did. I usually did this with my Google Calendar at work. In some ways it’s the same as having a Google Calendar or using multiple calendars on the same view, except that this is for people who like to use paper and probably those who like to make things pretty. 

What’s very different from a clock (and from the hyperdex & spiraldex) is the different widths of certain hours. This is how I’mJulie explains it in her review:

Many people wonder why there are 3 different lengths to the time section (short, medium and long). The idea behind it is quite smart: It’s made for all you multi-taskers out there. When you are doing a task that can not be mixed with anything else (like filming a video, creating an outline for your future online course or writing a blog post) you will fill in the time slot to it’s full length (even if the time wedge is shorter, you’re allowed to go outside the lines). If the task was something you can mutli-task (like exporting a video while you make lunch) you will color a part of the height of the wedge with one color and the rest with the other (to represent 2 types of tasks that you did during that piece of time).

In the above picture I was trying to track when Jack eats and sleeps so I can plan what I do during or around those times. The blue is when he naps (though not nearly as long as an hour). But my plan got broken down because I couldn’t quite figure out the chronodex. Do I colour outside the line? Plus, it has aspects of the spiraldex where the hours build on each other like a spiral. For this reason I  the hyperdex.

LM-Hyperdex

HYPERDEX

The hyperdex was derived from the chronodex by DIYfish. It features the 24h clock which is why I like it. It has 24 slots around and multiple rows which enables better layering/scheduling tracking (in my opinion at least).

hyperdexroughHere’s what I threw together in terms of a typical day for Jack and I.I used an image I found on Google images.

His eating schedule is determined by when he wakes up and then follows 2h after, then every 3h, then kind of whenever come the evening (usually 2h-1h). So if we wake up at 7am then it goes 7,9,12,3,5,6 then he’s down for the night. It’s kind of odd maybe but that’s what he seems to like and it works fine for me. We’re still working out regular nap times and the last week he’s only been napping for 30 mins so we’ll work on that.

The smallest circle is Jack’s life, the next one out is me. If I want to build a routine based around morning, evening and his nap times, this works well as a visualization tool for me. I just do that stuff in the fuchsia (it looks more red here) block.

SPIRALDEX

spiraldexThe spiraldex has 24h in it but only one row, so if you want to track layering, then you’re on your own to divide the boxes. The spiral is also smaller than the full 24h circle which may appeal to you for whatever reason. Other than those features it works the same way.

More reading

If you want to know more you can check out these links:

So, do you think you’ll make use of this? I’m still wondering if I’ll like it.

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