I’ve been reflecting on ways to make boring days a little more purposeful. With a shift in mindset, I’m trying to fill my days with intention. I finished the post before our world was turned upside down by this virus, so if it all seems a little irrelevant right now, that is why! I hope we can all get back to routine sooner rather than later.
Shift in Mindset: “Boring” Days Make Up Our Lives
I was listening to a podcast recently (probably Jenna Kutcher’s!) and the person she was interviewing said something to the tune of “These days that are passing by – they make up our lives.”
So often I think about life as the collection of years that include fun memories – trips, special events, highlights. But really, it’s seemingly “boring” days that make up the majority of our lives. I’ve been doing some reflecting lately on ways to make boring days a little more purposeful.
I’m privileged that I have a choice in how I spend my time. I love my job and I love being a mom. Sometimes I feel a low grade stress trying to balance the two. The Boss Mom Podcast has been a new find, and the host Dana calls it the work life tug-of-war. This episode about creating a conscious calendar was a really great listen. I’ve been working to draw more defined boundaries between work and home and shifting my mindset around.
Here are a few mindset shifts that have helped me have more peace.
Clear start and stop times to my work and home life
This balance is something I’ve been working towards for a while and the final straw was to take the pressure off posting 5 days a week. I wrote this post a few years ago about blocking my time, and I’m happy with how my productivity and balance has been going. I have clear work hours defined by the school bus and a babysitter, and while nap time can still be unpredictable, it’s been consistent enough to get into a groove.
I’m also working towards a better “theme” day system where Mondays and Tuesdays are for posts, Wednesdays are for recipes, Thursdays Beautycounter and Fridays catchup. Since time-sensitive things always come up, I haven’t gotten in the swing of it yet!
All that said, when the bell strikes 2:30 I am usually taking my work hat off for the day and putting my attention to the boys, so we can play outside, go for walks and bike rides, schedule playdates and more.
Working through tasks from most focus to least focus.
One thing that has helped with not letting work bleed into family time is not starting a new project after lunch. If you are going to fill a jar with rocks, you want to put in your biggest items first followed by the smaller pieces. First rocks, then pebbles, then dirt, then sand.
Similarly, I’ve been trying to do my most focused and biggest tasks (like writing blog posts) when I start my work day. I’ll then save the more fun smaller tasks for later in the day. My mornings are usually uninterrupted when I have my sitter home with Birch. But when I’m home again and wrapping things up during nap time, my stop time is much more unpredictable. So I save the ‘sand’ tasks for then when Birch might wake up early from nap.
A Zoom Out Mindset
I have never considered myself an anxious person, but since having kids I feel more pressure than I used to. The pressure I’m feeling is a form of anxiety. I feel the pressure of time and not being able to finish the tasks I want to finish. I am always slower to finish than I think I will be, needing twice as much time to do things.
The best way I know to manage that anxiety is to zoom out. I have to remind myself that I created this schedule myself. I force myself to think about this hour of this day within the month of this year and my body as one of millions on this planet over the course of a zillion years. That mental exercise makes my problem seem so small. I’m then easier to let it roll off my shoulders.
Life should not be lived wishing for tomorrow to come.
It should be enjoyed to the fullest today. How can we all take the lives we are living and make them better, more enjoyable, happier. So often we go through motions and do things because we have always done them. Sure there are some things that are out of our power to change. But there are also many things that are, including your mindset and how you think about your day.