The moments right when you get up are definitely some of the most important moments in the day. What you do in them will impact how you feel for the rest of your day. Because of this, going on your phone the first moment when you wake up will put all of the negativity on social media into your brain, and it will destroy the rest of your day. Instead of going on your phone, I suggest reading, or journaling, or dancing to your favorite songs.
2. Create routines that incorporate no phone time
In this day and age, it is so hard to stay off of our phones. They have become an extension of ourselves. But other things that have always been important to us, are our habits and routines. They shape our day and our life. So creating a routine/a habit that incorporates no phone time will allow us to get that much-needed screen time break. If you already have a routine, put around an hour into it for some other productive non-screen activity, for example reading.
3. Use your phones benefits to help you unplug
There are so many apps out there, and at least some of them are productive! You can use apps you schedule time away from your phone, or to organize your routines or your to-do’s.
4. Fill your free time up with activities you enjoy
Instead of using all of this extra free time that comes with quarantine for screen time, take these new oppurtunities we have, and do some more of what you love. Allow yourself to fill up you free time with activities that fill your heart, and others that let you grow. There are a lot of different fun tasks that you can do alone, off screen. Take advantage of your new free time to do something productive for your growth.
5. Separating work phone time from free phone time
Our phones can be or are necessary to be used for our work, meaning that it is sometimes hard to stay on task during a work period. Because of this, you need to create a system of checks and balances to keep yourself on task. This system could be an app on your phone that allows to to restrict what apps you use and the time period you use them for, or some other alarm system. Anything that will separate work phone time from free phone time is good.
Quarantine has changed our lives so much, in so many ways. In some ways, it has been good for me, for example this blog, but in other cases quarantine has caused so many struggles. The good news is that with a simple google search, I have realized I am not the only one facing these struggles. Teenagers everywhere are dealing with the awful side effects that come from virtual learning, and spending all our time at the house. But just because these struggles are shared, does not mean that they effect our lives in negative ways any less. Below are the main struggles that I face because of quarantine.
1. Mental fatigue
Mental fatigue has been caused in these times because of the overload of stress I have been feeling. With more people getting coronavirus and dying from it everyday, being stuck inside all the time, doing online school, being stuck around my family all the time, not seeing my friends or not experiencing any new fun events, there are so many causes for stress.
The solution I am working on is trying to incorporate more sporadic events, and things I actually do, along with hanging out with my friends social distanced, and creating a good plan for online learning. These events usually just mean going on a walk on my own, or going to get Starbucks or ice cream. Being in quarantine has reminded me of all the fun events and things I used to do with my friends, and I hope I can do them again soon.
2. All the time in the world to eat
Being quarantined in our houses most of the time is very important for everyone to stay safe, but it also means that the fridge and the pantry are only a couple steps away, all the time. In this situation it is way to easy to overeat, and overeat with unhealthy food that does not fill you up. I for one, am always grabbing snacks, anytime for any class. This is not healthy and is not good paying attention during class.
Meal plan. Creating a meal plan, and then only buying the ingredients for those meals. A meal plan should include snacks, but mainly consist of healthy meals that will fill you up. A meal plan is difficult to make, so I suggest you check with your family before making it. Make sure that your meals aline with the meals they are eating.
3. No concrete schedule
Because most of our activities have been canceled or moved online, and school has become rather uncertain, it is very hard to have a concrete schedule. Not just with activities assigned by others, but to-do’s you give yourself, and the time that you need to complete these to-do’s. With no concrete schedule, I know that for me I end up laying around on my phone a lot of the time.
Create a schedule! Pull out a binder, or your online google calendar and plug in when you will get your to-do’s done, and when you will do the other tasks you need to do to keep yourself active and moving. Make sure your schedule works with everything else that you and our family might have planned.
Willpower and motivation are both beautiful resources to get what you want in life. Unfortunately for many of us, we have very little of both of them. But on the other hand, there some very concise reasons for our lack of motivation and willpower. If you recognize these, you can start to take the steps to overcome them.
You have no purpose behind your actions
What I mean by this is, you have no why. There is no reason or purpose you do something. Most of the time, people won’t do something unless they have a great self benefiting reason to do it. If you have a purpose for your actions you will have more motivation and willpower to do it.
You reward yourself for everything
Rewards are a great motivation to get things done. But if we reward ourselves for everything, then we become way to used to getting what we want. Once that happens, we won’t be able to really motivate ourselves anymore, because we are unable to get anything out of it.
You have no goals or intentions for yourself
This is a similar question to having no why, but if you have no goals or path you are going to follow, and no direction for yourself, you won’t be able to get things done. This lack of progress will be caused by a feeling that nothing you do matters, because it won’t be following a path to a goal you set for yourself.
You only rely on motivation and willpower
I know that this may seem a little backwards, but it is an important reason. Motivation and willpower are both limited for us. We don’t have infinite amounts of them. That means that if we are always trying to only use them, than we will always be out. Instead of using motivation and willpower, try discipline, or other techniques such as writing down the time you will get something done.
You rely on others to feed your willpower and motivation
Willpower and motivation should come from within. The best way to get more of those resources is to train them, from yourself. If you rely on others to force your motivation and willpower, it will not build up naturally.
There is a brick wall inside your mind
This brick wall that I talk about is a metaphor. It is a metaphor for having a fixed mindset. Your mindset is very powerful because it is what determines if you will grow as a person. If you have a fixed mindset growth will be hard, and you will not have much willpower or motivation to get things done and learn in your life.
There is so much in our lives that we want to have time for, every single day. Cooking meals, exercising, working, hanging out with friends, with family, traveling, self care, sleep and a lot more. But in reality, 24 hours just doesn’t cut it to get all of that done. But you can find ways to manage your your time and your life so that everything you want to get done can happen.
Like I said, there’s only 24 hours in a day so we all got to have some priorities. What takes precedence in your life? What combination of things you want to get done can you fit in a day to make that day fulfilling? Below I have some questions to find your top priorities.
What are your goals? What are your priorities based off of them?
Long term, short term, what are your goals? (Click here to read my comparison between short term and long term goals, and the power of goals.) If your goals are to eat healthier,(this is a very vague goal, you would definitely want to go more in-depth) than maybe your priorities are for meal making time. If you want to become stronger, then maybe your priorities are for making time to go to the gym. Figure out your goals, and what needs to be a priority for you to accomplish them.
How much extra time do you spend doing things that don’t matter?
Social media, mindless searching for memes on the internet, staring into space, social media. No, it is not a mistake that I put social media twice. Social media and our phones in general take up so much time in our day that we could be using to get stuff done. That mindless scrolling is only ruining our lives, one liked photo at a time. To counteract this, use your calendar. Put everything at a certain time, so are forcing yourself to do that task.
Remember, we need time to be lazy
I know I spent an entire paragraph telling you to get your butt of the couch, but it is important to remember that we are human. Rest, relaxation and overall laziness are a part of us. We need to make sure that while we have plenty of space in our calendar for work, we also have enough space for self care to make sure that each day is happy, productive and meaningful.
What of your priorities can work together?
This is a simple question to help you organize your day. I suggest putting an active to-do next to a work related to-dos. You can also batch your to-dos and do similar tasks closer together.
Thank you for reading! Check out these related posts!
This calendar should be bigger and broader, because it is for the big picture. I also recommend using a weekly more specific calendar throughout the month. On this calendar you should keep track of everything that changes month-to-month, like appointments and ac activities. If you have a long term project, I suggest planning out on your calendar which days you will work on your project to get it done with maximum efficiency. I suggest an aesthetically pleasing planner such as this one.
2 Create or update your budget
If you don’t have a monthly budget, now is a great time to create one! This is not a big daunting task that it may appear to be, simply make a two column list with one side being your expected monthly incomes and the other side with your expected monthly expenses. As the month goes on, make sure to keep it as accurate as possible. As months pass this will get easier and more accurate, and you can improve your budget by going into more detail.
3. Set monthly goals
This is incredibly important to do every month. Setting goals will help you narrow down what you want to spend your time on and include in things like your dream board. Goals help remind you of what you want to accomplish. Keep your goals somewhere you can see them easily, like your dream board or your computer/phone back drop. Use what you learned from last months goals on what you can accomplish, and build off of them.
4. Do your digital organization
This is a digital age, and digital clutter may be just as bad for us physically and mentally as physical clutter. This makes digital organization super important, so I highly suggest you do a deep digital cleaning at least every month, if not every other week. Go through your files and your folders, but also your photos and your texts. If you haven’t texted someone in over a month or more, then I suggest just getting rid of the chat, until you need to send another one time message.
5. Make a monthly to-do list based off of your goals, that can be separated into weekly to-do’s
Look back on those goals you wrote, they are the end results. The path to these goals is lined by these to-do’s. They are big to-do’s that are the steps to reaching your monthly goals. These to-do’s should be able to be separated into weekly to-do’s, which can then be separated into daily to-do’s. Keep this plan for your goals as easily visible as your actual goal list.
6. Do a deep clean
The best way to approach a monthly cleaning is to make a list of all the cleaning tasks you have to get done each month. This list might include cleaning the shower, the sink, cleaning out the fridge, and getting to places that don’t usually get a lot of attention, like the ceiling fan. Having a deep cleaned home will help you start the month right. You also won’t have to worry about cleaning any of those hard to reach places throughout the month!
7. Do a general meal plan
What are the main meals you want to include into your day-to-day meals? You can plan things like having avocado toast on Mondays and Fridays, and oatmeal with strawberries on Tuesday’s and Thursdays for two weeks, or one week or the entire month. What are some great dinner recipes you want to create? A general meal plan does not need to be specific in the least, but it should be the backbones of your meals throughout the month.
As over-planners, the cause behind our over-planning is the belief that the more planning we do, the more successful we will be. While there is a lining of truth in this, this situation is not how it usually turns out because over-planning doesn’t lead to action. There is a point where all our planning is no longer productive and we are just wasting time and brain space. At some point we just need to start, and even if it is too early, at least we started some action.
Over-planning doesn’t allow you to be flexible
The more you plan the more attached you will become to your plan. The more time you spend creating and recreating your plan, the more indignant you will be about changing your plan. Overall, the more you over-plan, the less flexible you will be able to be when something happens that makes you go off the plan.
How to stop over-planning
Track how you spend your time
The first step is to know if you are over-planning at all. When you sit down to plan anything, take note of how you are spending your time. If you notice days, weeks or longer zoom right by without you getting past the planning stage, than you are definitely over-planning.
Be intentional with what you consume
Let’s take the example of when I first wanted to create a blog. I looked up all there was about blogging. I signed up for every blogging mailing list I could, I read every (free) ebook I could, and basically consumed a crap ton of information. Now I am definitely glad I did prior research, and learned enough about blogging, but I was basically drowning in information. At some point you just need to stop consuming and start doing. You learn more from trial and error than any ebook.
For a project such as starting a blog, there is no set time anyone is telling you that you need to have created your blog. This can lead to the easiest form of procrastinating, over-planning. Setting deadlines for yourself will ensure you only do what is necessary for each phase.
Break projects down
Breaking a big project into smaller pieces will be less overwhelming, allowing you to do less planning for each piece. Only do the planning for each specific piece so when all the pieces are planned you can get straight into the action.
This is the very basic to-do list. I’m sure many of us already have a basic to-do list. But your to-do list can end up inhibiting your productivity if you don’t include two key thing. Prioritizing, and the two minute rule. Sometimes it seems like your to-do list can stretch on for miles, and make you feel very overwhelmed. Prioritize the top three tasks you have to get done that day, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. For the two minute rule, anything that takes less than two minutes to do, just get it done. Reply to that email. Write that birthday card. Just get that all done.
2. Weekly to-do list
Your daily to-do lists aren’t doing anything for you if they are not leading to something. That is why you need a weekly to-do list for everything you need to get done in a week. You can split that up into seven days, and there you have it, the daily to-do lists that are actually getting you to your goals.
3. Goal lists (weekly, monthly, yearly)
But what goals? Don’t just have a huge yearly goal list, you need a plan to accomplish those goals. Split them up into bite-size chunks, by making a plan. To make this plan first split your yearly goals into twelve pieces which are your monthly goals. Then split each piece into four pieces, which are your weekly to-do lists. Now you have a plan for how to accomplish your large goals. Another option instead of a goal list is a goal journal. My favorite one is this amazing yearly goal tracking and achieving workbook.
4. Meal planning list
Keeping a running list of what your meals will be for the next 5-7 days is so helpful for staying organized. It ensures you know what groceries to buy, it ensures you know the nutrients you are getting and if you need more, and it prevents over eating because you will only have what you planned to eat in your fridge. Nothing more, nothing less. Just make sure you plan in desert. 😉
5. Budget list
In staying organized, you definitely want to keep track of the money going in and out of your bank account. Bills, paychecks, anything. Even if you are like me and all you get is a small allowance, still keep track of your money. You never know what could come up in the future.
6. Spending list
This closely relates to the budget list, except it doesn’t include your bills and regular payments. This list is for your spending. Are you spending more money on Amazon than on food? That would be a great thing to know. Then you figure out ways to limit your Amazon spending and have more money to put into savings.
7. Running grocery list
Like a daily to-do list, a grocery list is pretty common. But all too often we find ourselves forgetting things we need to get. To solve this, I suggest putting your grocery list somewhere easily accessible, for example on your fridge, so whenever you think of something you can add it on. Then when it is time to go to the store, you can just grab your grocery list and head out.
8. Emails to send and emails to reply to
All too often we forget about those pesky emails we need to send, or those emails we just never got around to replying too. Well with this list, when you have some free time you can tear through the emails on that list, so there are no loose ends. I recommend keeping this list on your phone.
9. Books to read and shows to watch list
Who doesn’t want more entertainment. But seriously, in our day and age, new books and TV shows surround us. There is always more to watch and read. I suggest you keep this list on your phone, and add to it anytime a book or show interests you.
10. Accomplishment list
It is so easy to get swept up in what we haven’t done, or what we still have to do, that we often forget about how far we’ve come. Keep this list somewhere you will see it every day, and let it bring you motivation to get more things done.
11. Not to-do list
What is a not to-do list? Mine looks like this.
Go on phone during work breaks
Stay inside all day
Worry about something in the far future
Think about things I have no control over
It’s pretty short, but you get the idea. Also keep this list where you will see it, and let it guide you for a more productive and organized day.
Our society is built on comparison. From social media where people only show the amazing moments in their life to make others feel bad about their own life, to people getting jealous after not having the newest phone or the most expensive bag. But comparison tears down your confidence in ways that will impact you deeply in the future. Comparison should only be used in one way, to build up your confidence. The way to do this is to only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year…
2. Checking your phone as soon as you wake up
This toxic habit is way more influential than you think. Checking your phone as soon as you get up can pretty much ruin your day. It makes you cranky, it makes you less productive, but worst of all, it makes sure that you are thinking about other people instead of yourself, right when you should be focusing on your own wellbeing. The morning. The morning is for you, it is where you chose how you set up your day. Don’t let it go to waste by focusing on other people’s lives through social media.
3. Not letting go of the past
This is a toxic habit I am still struggling to let go of. If we are always holding onto the past, it can affect our present. The mindset of our worst moments in the past that we relive over and over again in our head can seep into our thoughts, actions, and hopes in the present. The past is the past, the present is the present, and the future is the future. We need to let go of the past, be in the present, and hope for the future.
4. Burning out
This toxic habit can ruin all aspects of our life. Has there been any moments in your life where you have wan’t to do everything, all at once? Raise your hand. *Raises hand.* These thoughts and feelings our totally normal in our get stuff done world, where it is too easy to always be wanting to get stuff done. But too much of this leads to burn out and exhaustion. Make sure to eat, breathe, sleep, exercise, get outside, get off your devices, and take breaks when you need them.
5. Getting no sleep
You might feel that sacrificing a good night’s sleep to get more work done or watch more episodes of your show is a good idea, but that is not the case. Anything you can do at 2 a.m can be done way faster and better in the morning. When you stay up late and don’t sleep, you are sacrificing a whole day of productivity ahead of you. If you have a deadline and you need to work at 2 a.m, so be it, but if not wait for the morning or whenever you work best to get it done.
6. Not drinking any water
If you are anything life me, drinking an excellent amount of water at school can be hard. Now that it is summer + online learning, drinking water should be much easier. Check out the 17 benefits of drinking more water here, to build your motivation. My number one tip for how to drink more water is to make it interesting. Get some aesthetic mason jars and metal straws, cut up some fruit to add flavor, do whatever it takes to make yourself excited to drink water. Or build a routine. Every two hours I will fill my water bottle. After I go outside, I will fill my water bottle. Make it interesting, and/or make it a routine.
7. Not believing in yourself
How can you do anything in life if you don’t believe in yourself? Something i’ve noticed about believing in yourself is that it is easier when you have accomplished something. You feel confident after you have accomplished something, and that confidence is exactly what you need to have belief. If you want to believe in yourself more, find more instances in your life where you can have confidence.
8. Being surrounded by toxic people
You might feel guilty cutting people out of your life, I know I do. But when you look back on it a month, a year, five years from now, you will see how much cutting out toxic people benefited you and you will say wow, thank god those people are out of my life, they were only dragging me down.
Having a long to-do list with tons of tasks that you have to get done by the end of the day will just stress you out. Prioritize your tasks so you know what actually needs to get done. Let’s say you have 15 tasks on your list. Looking through them you realize that five are your highest priority. Those tasks are both urgent and important. Just start with them. Now there is a lot of stress off your shoulders because you only have to get five tasks done. Now what if you get them done and you still have extra time? Move on to your important but not urgent tasks, such as working out, meditating, meal planning and so on and so forth.
Schedules can be annoying for those of us who like to live in the moment, but they are also important to stay organized and know when you have time. Having a work schedule and a home schedule will keep you organized, and most importantly you will know when you have time to get your to-do list done. A to-do list without time to get your tasks done only produces stress, not results. Work with your family, your boss, and anybody who could give you commitments to work out a schedule.
You now have time in your day created by your schedule. What do you do with that time? That is when time blocking comes into play. Time blocking is when you take the time you have, let’s say 8-10 a.m, and plan out what you are going to do and get done during that time. From 8-8:30 I am going to write that paper. From 8:30-8:45 I am going to check and answer emails… so on and so forth. That is time blocking, and it extremely useful for not stressing over when to get your stuff done.
4. Set a timer
Sitting down and saying, “I’m just going to work until everything is done,” is not the way to go. First of all, getting everything done could take three hours and sitting for three hours in front of a computer is very detrimental to your health. Second of all, you have no idea how long your work could take, so you are facing the gloomy unknown of forever working. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and then you just need to work that long. After the 25 minute session, you take a five-minute break! Telling your brain that it only has to work 25 minutes, will make sure you are getting work done. You can do 25/5, or 50/10, whatever suits you.
5. Batch your work
Batching your tasks has many benefits. What is batching? Batching is when you do similar tasks in the same work period. You don’t do a paragraph and then check emails, and then another paragraph and then a phone call, you do two or three paragraphs, take a break, and then do your emails and your phone call. Batching keeps you in the right mindset for your tasks, and will also help you get more done in less time because there is less of a transition period for your brain.
6. Break your big tasks down
A big paper can seem daunting to write, so you will probably end up procrastinating on it. If you break it down into very small tasks, you will find that you are able to get a lot done. Breaking your tasks done is a technique to prevent procrastination while getting a lot done. A broken down big task might make your to-do list a lot longer, but keep batching in mind.
7. Plan time to be on social media
I don’t know about you, but while I try to stay as much in the real world as I can, I cannot resist my time on social media. This is expected and okay. In this new digital world, social media is a big part of life. To make sure you are not letting social media affect your productivity, plan out times during the day for social media. I suggest ten-minute increments. Between tasks and during meals I find are the most popular options. Keep in mind if you go on social media during breakfast, to try and still mindful eat. If you find that social media makes you feel bad and negative, check out this post.
8. Take breaks!
Don’t work yourself too hard. Take time during the day to get out of work mode, and take a step outside of your head. Whether you take five minutes to stretch, or a Starbucks break, taking time to reset your mind for your next section of work is necessary.
9. Keep your space organized
A clear space means a clear mind. Make sure you are planning out your decluttering time in your schedule. You might wonder why an organized space will help you with time management, and it is because it is all connected. Organization, productivity, time management, they are all connected. An organized space means a clearer mind, which means better work. Better work means less time you are spending on a task which means more free time.
10. Review each week
At the end of the week, review how you did with time management. Look at your time blocks, look at your organization, look at your to-do list, and what you got done. Also, review how you did on your weekly goals. I do this review on Sunday, so after my review, I can use the information to write my next week’s goals, plans, meal prep times, decluttering times, and everything I need to prepare for the following week.
11. Know when you work best
Some people are early risers like me so we prefer to work in the morning and go to bed earlier. Other people are night owls, so they get their best work done at night, while us early risers are asleep. In society right now, there is a lot of talk about how the secret to productivity is to wake up earlier, and while this may be true for early risers who haven’t realized they are early risers, for the night owls this just doesn’t work. You need to find what works best for you, and not just try to conform to societies productivity standards. Working when you work best is the best way to get things done.
Do you ever feel like having a self care day, but don’t want to actually take the time to make it happen? I do too! It is completely okay. That is why I am going to show my favorite self care ideas that do not require any effort, besides a little concentration.
All that meditation requires is some concentration, which is amazing because it is one of the most life changing habits, suggested by experts, billionaires and celebs all around the world. You might think i’m exaggerating, but i’m not. Look it up. 🙂 Sit down for 5-20 minutes, and relax your mind. I enjoy meditating very much and do it for around ten minutes morning and night. Meditation gives you peace of mind, which is such a powerful thing to have, especially on a self care day. I also enjoy meditation as a hobby, and you can learn how to make a hobby and a passion here.
Do you ever just want to feel the sun rays on your back, and relax into that pure joy feeling of sun? If so, good for you! If not, try it out. Sunbathing will not only give you a nice tan, if you get enough sun during the day, you will fall asleep easier at night. If you want other ways to fall asleep easier, check out this post. I personally like to go outside, lay on my yoga mat, and just rest. It is so peaceful, especially if you hear the birds chirping or listen to calming music.
Making a nice meal
If you re anything like me, and you don’t have to be, then you are not a fan of cooking. But on a lazy self care day making a nice meal will not only make you happier, it will give you good food to eat, make you feel accomplished, and start your culinary path. Your nice meal doesn’t have to be huge, just something filling. I like making avocado toast with a fried egg on top with some Ichimi Togarashi (a spice.) I also like some cut fruit on the side. This is a simple, super filling, enjoyable meal that requires very few ingredients and is very quick to make. Would anyone want to see a How-To video on this meal?
Going for a calm walk
A walk is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, while letting out that pent up energy. I like to listen to some nice music while I walk, or sometimes when I am feeling very productive I listen to a podcast or TedTalk. A calm walk should be alone, not a walk with friends or a walk to get out your anger. A walk to center your thoughts, and enjoy nature. I go on my calming walk in flip flops wearing my pjs. This doesn’t have to be a workout. It is basically therapy.
Listening to music and dancing
I LOVE listening to music and dancing. I love this way of getting my energy out, and I love expressing myself though dance. Start with a little shimmy, and just get into your grind. I actually find dancing a great way to work through my emotions through movement. I highly suggest this. The reason I am mainly telling you about my experience with dancing is because this is a unique and different experience for everyone. What might help someone might not help someone else.
Drinking tea and reading
This is a great way to improve your mind and get a calming reset. love reading self improvement books, so for example productivity for teens, how to find motivation, self-discipline: the guide and so many more. I also love drinking tea because it is such a calming experience, and it is also a great detox! Get a book, make your tea, sit down anywhere and start reading!
At the end of your self care day, I suggest you look at some positive social media accounts. For example my Pinterest and Instagram both named Sadelles Healthy Lifestyle. I promise you won’t regret it and it will take so little time. Also if you have any questions or just want to talk you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy hearing from you all!