There’s been a good amount of change over the past couple of months that has thrown me off kilter a few times. Locating to a different town in a different part of the state has something to do with that. You know that feeling of staying at a hotel? It feels like nothing is yours so you tend to keep everything in its place. Or at least I do.
Now that I’m entering the fourth week of living here this place feels like our home. One of the things I noticed that makes that possible is blocking out time for whatever needs my attention. It’s so freakin simple but when I don’t do it everything gets complicated.
Time blocking my responsibilities and disciplines helps ground me into my purpose each day, especially because these days have been filled with time. For the past 6 months I’ve taken time away from my business to focus on my values, truths, and the conscious lifestyle I’m building. When there are classes, meditations, and programs on your task list it can be easy to know what to do next because it’s reliant on someone or something outside of me.
In my opinion, it’s easier to show up for outer accountability than it is when I’m doing it for myself. Without having a job outside the house rather than taking care of my home and family, I’m literally flailing with no guidance. Enter time management.
If you’re like me, then from time to time you suffer from time blindness a.k.a. having no concept of the hours in the day and how much you can realistically get done. That shows up for me on the days I think I can get food shopping done, clean the kitchen and bathroom, cook lunch, wash the produce and marinate dinner all within 3 hours.
It’s crazy when I type it out but honestly, my brain thinks I’m the little engine that could, as long as I’m thinking it can be accomplished. Even if all of that is possible to get done in such a small time frame, there’s no need to rush juggling so many tasks.
So what’s the solution to time blindness, rushing, and pushing through your responsibilities?
Thanks to one of my best friends for pointing out this insanely obvious trick when planning your day: put it into zones! All of my daily and weekly to-dos are categorized by a zone for instance creativity, shopping and prepping, teaching, cleaning, etc.
Rather than thinking about how many hours I have left before, during, or after a task, I dedicate a specific amount of blocked-out time to each task. Following this routine makes sure my day is filled with realistic responsibilities, instead of building a wishlist of never-ending things.
One of my core time blocks is for contemplative and meditative moments. The minimum amount of time blocked off for this is an hour, this way there’s plenty of time for yoga and reading while ending with a nice seated meditation. If I have time on my side that day I’ll spend a little more time on the cushion before starting my day.
Also, out of behavioral habit, I take out the parts of my juicer and assemble them first thing in the morning. It technically falls under the block of food and prep, but over time it’s become a constant opportunity for a mindful practice, connecting me to the fruits and veggies.
For my mental health to reach or stay at an optimal level, my mind and body need my attention first thing in the morning. If my first precious moments are given away to the lives and desires of other people,It’s my way of setting a foundation of focus, discipline, and groundedness so that if/when the day gets away from me I’ve got a morning practice to remind myself of. This is also why I put my juicing or breakfast time in with morning rituals, mindful consumption is a great way to take care of yourself.
Next, I block time out for “homemaking duties” which change from day to day but for the most part have the same rotating responsibilities. Some days I’ll block out 9-11 so that I can shop, clean, prep, and then make lunch, while other days are chill when all I need to do is sweep the floors and wipe down counters. It’s not so much what has to get done that throws me off, I can deal with things changing day-to-day, it’s not blocking off time to do it.
Seriously if I know what to do but haven’t been given time restraints, well then nothing gets done or what could easily take me 20 minutes will now extend to four hours.
Another block I use is study and creativity, giving me ample time to write, record, edit, read, teach and do all of the fun little practices that help my creative mind expand. When it comes to studying or learning a new subject I like to give myself about 90 minutes otherwise, I’ll stop paying complete attention and start drifting into space.
But for creativity, I like giving myself a few hours because after years of creating content and shooting videos I’ve learned that the more warmed up you are the better the footage. Rather than being rigid while recording just to get it done sooner, I choose not to feel rushed in the creative process, nor do I want to hurry up and memorize meanings while learning whatever topic I’m currently studying.
I love learning, especially now that I design my own curriculum, so why would I want to rush into knowing what I could slowly be learning?
Feeling calm, grounded, and present are important intentions used when showing up for each block. Whether I’ve done it a hundred times or I’m doing it for the first time, each task deserves my undivided attention with a fresh pair of eyes. Unless there is a time to start and stop, my mind will be wandering into all of the other things that need my attention.
And you know what? That’s okay.
It’s taken a really long time to accept who I am and how I operate, instead of trying to fix it. It isn’t easy for me to remain disciplined on things, no matter how much I logically understand their significance and meaning. Making juice because it’s healthy or meditating for my mental health doesn’t happen without an immense amount of effort, will, and consistency.
Of course, there are days when I fall off track, and rather than beating myself up for falling short, I focus on not extending the days to weeks. Because at some point I have to stop beating myself up and start building myself up, it’s as simple as how to respond when things don’t unfold according to my plan. It’s in these moments that the practice of mindfulness is ready to help me ground, center, and begin again.
TLDR: Let’s recap
This is what’s currently working wonders in my life so I wanted to pass it on.
Time management hack: break it into zones and stick to timelines. If you know creativity takes more time than cleaning, schedule accordingly and give yourself a break. Just because there’s 24 hours in a day doesn’t mean each moment needs to be planned out.
Learning to factor in my challenges: Recently I’ve been accepting some of the neurodivergent challenges I’ve had all my life. It’s brought me to the empowering point where I accept what cannot be changed, focus most of my efforts on what I’m great at, and leaving room for where I tend to really struggle. Since building it into my routine I anticipate obstacles with a welcoming point of view: sure it sucks that I have a short attention span but that won’t stop me from honing in improving focus with daily zones.
Focus on the comeback, not on the fall-off: This piggy-backs off of factoring in my challenges. The more aware I become of my patterns the more accepting I am when I find myself playing them out. For instance, if I plan too many activities in a short span of time and completely overstimulate myself, I’ll focus less on why I did this for the millionth time and focus more on how to ground my mind-body back into the present moment.
And now it’s your turn for weekly insights:
What areas of your life could you block out more time for?
Maybe it’s something major like a deep cleaning or studying for an important test.
Maybe it’s something smaller but just as important, like a self-care day or making that hair/nail/massage appointment.
Whatever it is, there’s something about you that deserves your attention. So this week notice some of your habits, get curious about their level of effectiveness, and practice some self-compassion for just how much you’re getting done.
Until next week friends, enjoy your moments.