Our current social-isolation rules means life is quite different right now.
If you're anything like me this situation may mean that now is a good time to remind yourself of some good habits that will help you:
- feel more in control;
- be more productive; and
- give your immune system a boost.
I was inspired to write this post after reading the article 5 Ways to Simplify Today.
The author gives you five different ways you could try and simplify your day/week/life.
What I really like is that he suggests you pick only one of these ideas, run with it for a day and see how it goes.
It demonstrates an understanding that real people - you and me - can't change everything all at once.
It's something that takes time and effort and is a whole lot easier if we can do it a little bit at a time.
It's about more than just being organised
Having too much on without enough down time has consequences.
It can affect your immunity, your hormones and your sleep.
Here are some of the ways that I try and keep in control and focused.
I hope that you will be inspired to try one of these things. Or perhaps it will be a reminder to get back to something that you used to do but have drifted away from recently. :)
Keep focused - do one thing at a time
I always work from home so that isn't new for me. What I'm not used to, is having everyone else home all day too! I can't imagine what it's like having to home-school younger children.
If you don't need to imagine it because you are doing it, I think you deserve a medal. ;)
It's difficult to keep focused on my own tasks when there is so much else going on around me.
Things that I find help with focus:
- first thing in the morning (or before you go to bed), plan out your day. I use my bullet journal for this but anything will do.
- I try and have two lists on the go. One for the whole week, and then a new one for every day. I include work and personal tasks and tick off as I go along.
- when you know everything that you need to do it's easier to make sure you don't miss anything. You just have to remember to check in with your list during the day. ;)
- you could turn this into a big family planner for the week if you need to keep track of more than just yourself!
- by having a written list of my tasks it means my mind doesn't have to keep a mental note of everything. In turn, this means I can focus on the task at hand.
Screen time - take back control (and improve your sleep)
I can transfer money. I can check my emails. I can access my work documents. I can check what school work my children have. Not to mention taking pictures of the dogs on our walk every day. I could go on.
Smart phones are fantastic things that can make our lives so much easier in so many ways.
But if we’re not careful, they can take over.
More than that, they can have a detrimental effect on your health and stress levels too.
You can read my blog post The rest & digest response and why it's so important if you want to find out more.
Here are some things that you could try to make sure your phone is not taking control of your life!
1. Turn off the notifications on your phone
I no longer have email, news or social media notifications popping up every few minutes. This will have a huge impact on your focus and your stress levels.
I still have notifications for my text messages. I have a personalised alert tone for the important people in my life. So it’s only when I hear my son or daughter's sound (and sometimes my husband!) that I will check my phone. I’ve trained myself not to look at my phone for any other messages until I’m ready to do so.
I also have notifications off on my laptop. I now check emails at various points during the day instead of as they arrive.
This means I am in control of when I see them and deal with them. This helps me to stay focused and be more productive.
I try and have some screen-free time every day.
This isn't generally too difficult for me. When I try and get the whole family to join me it can be more difficult. ;)
I endeavour to make meal-times a phone-free zone. Also family game times or if we're out together or watching a film together.
I also encourage my children to leave their phones outside their room when they are working.
Encouragingly, they will often do this without me asking them too - they know how much it helps them to focus. :)
Not only does finding screen-free time help you to focus. It also helps you to 'be in the moment' with the important people in your life.
You are probably familiar with the benefits of some ‘quiet time’ before bedtime - especially if you have children!
In our house when the children were little, this would mean bath-time and then story-time.
Inevitably on some days this wouldn’t happen. That was such a mistake! Trying to put over-excited children to bed is a stressful experience!
I think it’s the same with adults and grown up children too.
If I have my own version of bath-time and story-time before I go to bed, I will generally have a much better sleep.
Not letting my phone be a part of this bed-time routine is half the battle.
Try this - use an alarm clock so you can put your phone outside of your bedroom at night.
I started doing this a few years ago. It seemed a big step at the time but now it's just what I do. It's very liberating once you get used to it.
My children have always had to do this too.
While we're on the subject of bed-time routines, here are some other things to try:
- avoid the news for a few hours before bed (or anything that is upsetting or scary!)
- if you watch something on TV before going to bed, try and do something mundane afterwards. This could be clearing up the kitchen or writing your to-do list for the next day. It will help your brain and body start to wind-down ready for sleep.
- a warm shower or bath before bed is wonderful way to prepare your body for sleep. Especially if you use some relaxing and calming essential oils. [note to self - I've not done this for a while, maybe tonight is the night!]
- have a good stretch - it feels great to do this before you get into bed.
- make sure your room is quiet, dark and cool. An eye mask is a great investment - I use one nearly every night.
One step at a time
Why not pick one thing, try it for one day and see how you feel?
Perhaps you can talk about this with the whole family and decide on something that you can all try.
If it works for you, try committing to it for a week. And then longer.
Having some 'rules' in place will make a big difference and will soon become a routine.
It doesn't matter if you don't manage it every day, but if you have the 'rules' in place it will be easier to find your way back to them.
I hope there is something here that will inspire you to keep things simple and in turn improve your focus. If you manage a few of the ideas then hopefully a more restful sleep and a boosted immune system will follow. :)
If these are things that you struggle with, why not book a free 30-minute Discovery Call with me and find out how I can help?
I'd love to hear from you. :)
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash