Step 1 - The Before
I have 1 dog, 2 kids and 3 businesses (and a hubby and a home fortunately) that I’m responsible for keeping going and nurturing the potential of on daily basis. I love all 7 of them dearly, but it leaves virtually no time for me - either in terms of self-care, or to step outside and work on my life instead of in it, if you know what I mean.
The reality is that I’m hitting middle age and I feel like I need to take control and look after myself more and make the most of the years I (hopefully) have left.
I’m a serial book reader and podcast listener, and there’s lots of brilliant theory out there about productivity and success, but I find that I have so little time that it’s a struggle to actually apply it. Plus, I’m great at starting things, not so good at keeping them up unless they are convenient and I enjoy them. And even then it can be a challenge - it doesn’t seem to take much to get in the way.
However, I’ve increasingly been feeling that things needed to change somehow if I am to carry on moving forwards. So I’ve decided to spend the month of June trying out some approaches in combination to see what works, what doesn’t, and what effect it has. Here’s what I’m going to try…
1. The Miracle Morning
A while back I came across The Miracle Morning concept by Hal Elrod. Have you heard of it? If not, it works on the basis of getting up earlier each day and spending ideally an hour (but it can be done in 6 minutes if needs be) entirely on yourself and your personal development, before the rest of life gets in the way. It’s structured around 6 blocks of 10 minutes called S.A.V.E.R.S:
S - Silence (be that meditation, prayer, yoga)
A - Affirmations (positive self-talk)
V - Visualisation (of what you want to achieve and yourself taking the steps to get there)
E - Exercise
R - Reading something to expand your ideas e.g. self-help books / religious tracts / your goals
S - Scribing (writing - journalling, gratitude)
Now I have NEVER been an early morning person, primarily because I like to stay up late. But going to bed at midnight is clearly not working for me, so I thought I’d give it a bash.
2. Batching tasks to maximise my productivity
Batching is one of the practices enthused on by Tim Ferris. I am a serious flitter and multitasker and find it really difficult to settle down to one thing.
A while back Hilary Lees of Essence Coaching did a little exercise for us at a MIB Network talk where we had to write the numbers 1-13 in a row, then immediately underneath the words “I CAN MULTITASK” so that e.g. 1 and I were in a column, 2 and C etc. We timed how long it took to write them.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
I C A N M U L T I T A S K
We then repeated the exercise, but this time wrote “1 then I”, 2 then C, 3 then A, 4 then N etc, which ultimately ended up with the same thing, but timed us how long it took this time.
The results were quite shocking - the same result took more than double the time when we flitted between the numbers and letters. And that’s the same with everything.
So I’m going to give it a go, turn off notifications, close my email / social media tabs and just get on with one thing at a time. To give me a hand, I’ve installed the Pomodoro Tomato skill on my Amazon Dot, which sets a timer for 25 minute intervals, the theory being that you focus entirely on one thing for that period of time. Makes sense.
3. The 20/80 Principle
The principle on this is that 20% of tasks yield 80% of the results, and 80% of tasks yield 20% of the results. So the important thing is to think - what can I do today that will have the biggest impact, and maybe even remove the need for some of the other tasks? And then prioritise those things, and get them done efficiently in the batching time above. Sounds great in theory. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at Richard Koch on Youtube).
4. Eat that Frog
This is a great little book by Brian Tracy, which basically tells you to do the thing you’re putting off first. There, you don’t need to read it now. I have a huge tendency to put things off so this is definitely one for me.
5. Self Care
Rather fortunately, my husband’s employer has just moved their private medical insurance policy to Vitality, as part of which we get 50% off at Nuffield Health gyms. Now, I’m not keen on the gym and public swimming pools make me feel somewhere between mildly repulsed and completely revolted. And then I had a trial at our local Nuffield yesterday and discovered that it was like a spa. And that I can handle. And they have a yoga room overlooking the woods. I couldn’t sign up quickly enough!
Wish me luck!
There. By putting this in writing I’ve committed myself. If you’d like to find out how I get on, sign up to my emailing list and I’ll let you know when the next installment is available to read.