First of all, take a good look at what you do regularly. I suggest to do this for a typical week, rather than a typical day. Most of us work during the week and have a distinctly different routine during the weekend. For the purpose of this exercise, let’s not look at that difference to begin with. So: take a piece of paper and write down the things you do daily or at least regularly.
Daily items could include your food breaks (Do you have a routine? How much time to you spend on it?), commute, work day, school runs or cleaning. Weekly items include things like grocery shopping, sports, classes you take, regular meeting with friends, etc.
The good news is that any long-term items like holidays, visiting far-flung family, etc. do not really have much of an effect on your life rhythm. Such long-term items tend to be so irregular that they don’t really create a rhythm, unless you go visit your nana twice a week, of course.
Once you have jutted down all the things that come to mind, that you do regularly, take a moment to look at all of them and then indicate which ones feel okay, and which ones you feel ambiguous about. It may be a good idea to imagine when you would ideally want to do each of them (and if they are really worth doing!) and draw up an ideal weekly agenda.
Once you have done that, take your normal agenda and see where things diverge and if you can do something to shift certain activities to a more agreeable spot in your real agenda.
If you find something in your daily life that you feel uncomfortable about, or that makes you cringe, keep in mind that you can take control over pretty much everything in your private life. It’s your private life, after all. Sometimes all it takes is learning to say ‘no’ to requests that do not suit your own schedule. That doesn’t mean you are a bad person: you only look out for your own wellbeing. And what good would you be to anyone if you bend over backwards and end up being no good to anyone, including yourself?
Also don’t forget that you are allowed to change your mind. Never feel that you cannot do that: why do something against your better judgment, something that makes you feel bad? I’m sure that whoever you agreed to assist will understand your reasons. (If they don’t, maybe this is when you need to think about their motives?)
The workplace is more tricky than private life because your work day is often determined by the employer, and may be engrained as a habit, which makes it all the more difficult to dissect. It also feels like something you cannot change and that can hold you back. Let me tell you something: ANYTHING can be adjusted! If there is a part of your work day that feels jarring, try and find small adjustments that make it more acceptable. That could be picking up the courage to ask for a different time for weekly meetings that suit you better, or shifting your desk into a different position where you don’t get distracted by people walking past your door all the time.
Reorganising your life to fit your own rhythms is not a single activity. It’s a slow process and needs clear consideration. As a basis, you need a good understanding of what you are doing right now and make adjustments to fit you better and move you towards what would be an ideal situation. That does need some standing up for yourself and putting the foot down on occasion when things get out of hand. It also requires the ability to look at one issue at a time and determining if this is worth upsetting the balance or not.
Interestingly, taking the decision to NOT make changes because they would affect too many other things will also give you some level of peace of mind: you’ll begin to realise that what felt annoying may not be so bad after all.
Ultimately, once you have found that you have done all you can do, the focus shifts towards avoiding new things coming in and upsetting your balance. Always consider if whatever is about to be added to your routine is worth adding!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.