How I Create Structure In My Life

I realised today that apparently I don’t know how to schedule posts on WordPress. I thought I had them all lined up for last week but alas, it seems my scheduling has failed. Which funnily enough ties into this post very much. Following on from my post about Productive Days Off, I discovered that I really crave structure. Well to be fair, I crave the illusion of structure. I love having to do lists, I love knowing what my day will entail (and lets be honest, my weeks and months as well), I love being able to schedule things in way in advance (except sometimes that doesn’t work!) and I love being able to visually see what that looks like.

I realised I’ve been craving structure because other than work I really have no obligations with my time and find that I’m wasting more and more of it and when I look back, I wish I had used my free time more effectively.

So I’ve used the habits I developed from Productive Days Off post to give me the structure and routine I desire during my off days.

I know these items will be more guidelines rather than absolutes but I’m really ok with that. It means that I have something to look forward to, but I can choose to ignore it if I want to.

First I start by writing down a list of things I want to do during the week. I include all the boring things like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, paying bills, grocery shopping etc and pick the day during the week I want to do those tasks. I then add the stuff I actually want to do to the list and start allocating those to certain days.

Whilst this can seem very structured it’s actually not. It just gives me an indication of what I wanted to achieve during the day but really it’s up to me whether I want to fulfill that or not.

Here’s a snap shot for my Sunday last week:

  1. Lunch at mums
  2. Dinner at the in-laws
  3. Yoga
  4. Move furniture
  5. Clean Bathroom
  6. Grocery shop for work lunches
  7. Vacuum downstairs
  8. Buy new jeans

It’s by no means an extensive list but it helps me use my time efficiently and effectively. Being Easter Sunday the first two things on the list were non-negotiable but the last 6 weren’t but I know that if I don’t get them done that day I’ll have to find another day to do them. In the end I didn’t do yoga or buy new jeans which is fine as they weren’t things that had to be done.

Some days doing this doesn’t work at all but I find that the majority of days it does, simply because I love ticking things off a list.

Productive Days Off – 5 Habits I (try to) Follow Habitually

One of my biggest challenges when I have a day off is what to do with my time. There are some days where I’ve taken the day off simply because I’m not feeling up to doing anything and those days I end up sitting at home, drinking tea and reading in the sunshine.

But there are other days when I want to be productive but I get overwhelmed with what I actually want to do. So I’ve developed ways to help combat the overwhelming feeling and actually accomplish something.

  1. Sleep well and get up early. I find sleeping in usually means I’m going to have a lazy day. I truly believe that how I wake up has a massive impact on the type of day I’m going to have. When I haven’t slept well, my day tends to be lazy and I end up doing things haphazardly.
  2. Exercise. My exercise of choice is yoga but sometimes if I’m not in the mood for a full practice I’ll do a few stretches just to loosen my body. Sometimes I walk the dog. This step can take up to an hour of my day but I feel that I have so much more time in my day when I’ve exercises – almost like the hours have slowed down slightly.
  3. Have a meal you look forward to eating. I love breakfast even though during the week I tend to skip it but I love nothing better than getting up early, exercising and then having poached eggs with avocado on toast. Not only is it delicious but its nutritious and unlikely to leave me feeling bloated and yuck.
  4. To-do lists. I love to-do lists. I love crossing things off that I’ve accomplished. I get lazy if I don’t have one and it helps to see what you want to achieve before starting.
  5. Prioritise your tasks. I find doing the task I least want to do first the best way to approach my day because once it’s done, I can cross it off and (hopefully) not think about it again.
  6. Dress appropriately. This can mean getting back into gym gear, or dressing up in a suit but choose clothing that reflects what your day will look like. This will inspire you to actually complete your tasks.

The point is, come up with options that will work for you. These are simply things that work for me but there’s no reason why you can’t find ways to work for you.

What are your tips ?