5 Commitments for Balance + Productivity

It’s Sunday night, and once again as we stand at the close of this week and the start of the next, I keep coming back to the same thought: the weekends are too short.

fuel sweat grow: weekend days

It’s not that I necessarily need more rest — I’m not sure if the weekends are actually better for that these days.  My focus has been on trying to do less constant gear shifting,  and getting into a better rhythm of taking things to completion without a constant emphasis on multi-tasking.

It sounds somewhat like an oxymoron, but what I’m really going for is organized and balanced structure.  Organization in my environment, structure in my schedule, and a combination of the two when it comes to my calendars and work streams.  Time blocking is my best friend, and OneNote is my deepest passion — the only thing that I’ve been putting a little on the back burner is the food part.

It’s really not common for me to ever cook anything that isn’t Paleo, whole30, or 28toLife friendly because I’m just so used to it by now that I don’t really even know what I would cook otherwise.  What I’ve been slacking a little on lately is meal prep and planning, keeping things interesting and not monotonous, as well as doing actual at-home cooking.  The emphasis on restaurants and my red wine security blanket to get through these last four weeks of winter brutality has thrown me and my system off a little — so it’s time to re-organize, re-structure, and re-energize ALL the aspects of my life(style) and not just the work pieces.

So here are 5 things I’m doing on Monday to kick off the week:

1.  Email Organization. By the end of the week my email is usually out of control, so it’s helpful to start off monday morning not only clearing out the lingering unread messages, but also following up on anything that may not have been urgent at the moment but needs to be actioned.

2. Create a list of 5 action items to tackle each day before the first meeting of each day.  They can all be small milestones towards a bigger task, or completely unrelated, but I always like to start with the things that I either keep putting off or struggle to remember once I get caught up in the day.

3. Set a sweat schedule.  My daily schedule doesn’t always appear conducive to a regular fitness schedule, but my lifestyle is intertwined with it, so taking the time to be intentional not only with my schedule, but also the balance, brings me both sanity and a structure I can work around.

4. Plan meals out + go to the store.  I usually do this on Sundays and spend the afternoon prepping a number of different meals for the week, but with the craziness that has been filling up my weekend days lately, this can sometimes fall onto a Monday. And that’s exactly what’s happening this week.  I’ve got a little ‘whole damn thing’ spin-off brewing inside my head, so stay tuned for those updates coming soon, and as always, please join me.

5. Commit to down time.  This is everything right here — it’s the thing that constantly gets compromised or squeezed out, and it’s the most important part of the whole.  When I’m not zoned in on getting something done, or hyper conscious of my every-loving and constantly growing to-do list, every thing seems to become more clear.  When I slow down my mind is able to wander, creativity is heightened, and ideas generate at a faster and more connected way than normal.  It’s a 2015 priority for me, and it certainly deserves it’s space in my week.

So here’s to the start of this week, of March, and the hopeful ascent in temperatures and vitamin D. It all has to circle back at some point.

A Declaration of Seasonal Change: 4 Priorities for a Productive End to Winter

Every year, around this time, there comes a day when I just hit my threshold for winter.  It’s not necessarily on the coldest or snowiest day, but just a day when my tolerance for anything other than the regrowth of spring and light jacket weather becomes insufferable.

Wednesday was that day for me.  It was cold, work was frustrating, and I was experiencing a constant level of nagging anxiety that I couldn’t shake off with rational thought or even wine.

We’re just over a month into the new year ( which always somehow resets life across the board ) in the thick of  the building phase for the next three seasons.  New projects, goals, and restructuring for both business and personal lives are in full force – detailed out in to-do lists, budgets, and expectations that will undoubtedly be deemed obsolete by the time we begin executing the plans.

We’re all trapped inside, sheltered from the cold as prisoners of the grind;  planning, evaluating, and creating our own hurry-up-and-wait anxiety for every imaginable demand we can think of.  Then, miraculously, when the weather finally breaks and we’re rolling in  consecutive 70+ degree days, life somehow manages to begin.  We graduate from the planning phase into the post-planning hyper productive phase of actually accomplishing things.  We can finally feel the gratification of achievement, and use it to gain the momentum to feed us the energy to take on the rest of the year.  It’s a beautiful cycle really — but only after winter is over.

So, since I have absolutely not control over the weather (namely the recent patterns of almost warm weather followed by two consecutive days of snow) I’m taking control over the next few months of my own life, and to the extent that I can — everything else.

Accomplishments -Georgia O'Keefe

1.  Goals Accomplishments  I’ve been a little down on the idea of setting ‘goals’ lately because they can too easily turn into a list of forced to-do’s in the future, so instead, I am focusing on ‘near term accomplishments.’  Habits to create right now, priorities, and daily/weekly goals that are both attainable and fulfilling.

2. Time Blocking.  In my former life I could multi-task with the best of them.  In fact, I performed best when under multiple deadlines and an overwhelming sense of urgency.  Now, not so much.  I have things happening in way too many directions right now and the challenge isn’t necessarily in getting them done, but rather, being able to be present in the moment I am doing them, focusing wholly on the sole task at hand to complete it fully and be done without having to come back to it multiple times.  I love this kind of structure and can’t wait to actually have time free to do whatever I want without worrying about the growing to-do list waiting for me at all times.

3. Yoga. I’ve been neglecting my self (not myself, really my self) and my body lately, so I’m making space in my life for this.  It’s a priority.  Between MADabolic, Flywheel, and all my runs and endurance workouts, I hardly struggle to find a good sweat, but I have been completely failing to give love back to my body.  I need to spend time focusing on mobility and flexibility in both my life and body, and for me, yoga is the answer.

4.  Creative Therapy.  I love crafts.  More than that, I love creating.  Whether it’s painting, sketching, designing, re-organizing my house, or even building a strategic plan for one of the businesses, the act of creating is so cathartic.  Sometime in the last couple of years I either lost the time or the space for the full creative process, so now, I’m focused on getting it back.  This is the ‘piece’ of my new life-commitments that I’m the most excited about, and that I think will ultimately provide the most value to all the other areas in my life.

So those are my top 4 right now, from a list that is actually much longer, and will undoubtedly continue to grow.  I’m excited to share everything that goes into these goals, and the accomplishments that come out.  There’s  something really rejuvenating about taking the time to spell it out and really committing to the power of it all (plus it magically fit into the 1 hour I had blocked while watching Father of the Bride on TBS.  Double win).