Last weekend, I was taken down by the dreaded stomach flu. I blame my son and all his adorable but germ laden friends at nursery. While I lay on the bathroom floor early that Sunday morning, I contemplated everything that had to be done and then realized my husband was leaving for a business trip at noon and I would be left alone with a two year old feeling like death. I felt pretty sorry for myself. My son and I hunkered down in my bedroom and I survived thanks to Peppa Pig and Uber Eats.
When I was finally feeling better, I asked myself: how do you get back on track when life throws that proverbial curve ball at you? The answer is simple: I get on with it. I'm a pro at getting on with it. As you can imagine with a two year old, I'm thrown off track all the time. But the truth is, we all are - everyone has something that will derail them every now and again. What I do is not revolutionary, I use tried and tested systems. I personally love reading about other people's routines and researching productivity, efficiency and secrets to success so I thought I'd share my system and break it down for you here.
First things first - have a little moment to be grateful. This has helped turn me into a morning person. Prior to doing it, I tended to be grumpy when I woke up. It could be that I'm grateful for a good night's sleep, my extended family, snuggles with my little one, a very supportive husband, my health etc. Whatever it is, I consider it for a minute or two and try to write it down along with an affirmation of how I want the day to go. You can use The Five Minute Journal for this - it is a simple guide that works.
Then I make my bed - no matter what. Study after study say that this is the first step in making progress in your day. Each study notes that making your bed creates motion in your day and therefore a feeling of progress. I love the ritual of smoothing out the covers and fluffing the pillows. It is the Slight Edge (love that book by the way) that sets me up to make better choices all day.
Next is the Brain Dump. Self help gurus and productivity masters wax on about this process a lot. And for good reason. It works. I write down every little thing I'm worried about, want to accomplish, wishes I have for the future. This list can include things like - figure out the school system in London, check on my son's passport application, make a doctor's appointment, call so and so, email so and so, edit blog post, figure out instagram, buy new mirror for living room and many many other notes - both mundane and important.
The Brain Dump leads me to prioritize what I want to accomplish that day. I don't schedule more than three tasks a day. For larger projects, I use Asana to break down the flow of priorities even further and then I use the Productivity Planner to track the daily tasks.
Read 10 - 20 pages. Some days I don't get to this until bed time but I do try to start my day with reading non fiction because I find it motivates me. If I don't have time to physically read a book, then I listen to a podcast while I'm brushing my teeth and getting dressed.
All together, this can take as little as 15 minutes and it gets me right back on track to be as productive as possible that day... or until the next curve ball hits.
I'm always curious what works for others so drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any recommendations.