Being in a lockdown has given me more time to slow down and think. A few years back I read a book entitled “Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin and what I learned then has had a profound impact on my pandemic routine. Life without a schedule driven by family and work commitments was a big change for me. Spring and summer were driven by our move from Denver to Toronto. In the fall I was able to find some purpose in my activities with family, coaching and volunteering. The most recent lockdown in December resulted in a new low of productivity for me. I am lucky and grateful that I haven’t had to worry about finding a new job.
What I learned from my reading was that I could create a self imposed schedule to get stuff done. On average 40% of our day is spent on our habits. When you have habits in your daily life you have more self control for other areas and a reduced level of stress. Additionally, self control is generally stronger in the morning so it is good to get the hard things done while the sun is still rising. Rubin details many different personality tendencies to help understand what will inspire you. I am an upholder, a lark, a finisher, a procrastinator and I love variety. Articulating my tasks into todo lists and checking them off boosts my motivation and energy.
My overall goal for the month of January was to revamp my website. A strategy which has worked in the past is to be held accountable to someone else. This is hardest for an entrepreneur but luckily my neighbour Michelle was up for another one of our 30 day challenges. Here is how it works. Once you pick the project or habit you want to tackle/develop you then make a commitment to each other. Mine was to work on my website for at least an hour everyday. After completing my task I would send Michelle a text telling her what I did. Our daily messages built enthusiasm to achieve. If you are also someone who is influenced by external expectations you can use this type of challenge to develop daily habits. Rubin finishes her book with this “In the tumult of everyday life, it can be easy to overlook the things that really matter. By setting aside time to work on your healthy habits, you can make your life happier, healthier, and more productive. Together, we can help each other do better than before.”