North Americans create their lives backwards: they start with work when they should be starting with self care and happiness. This simple to implement system will help you re-prioritise your days and weeks to take back your life. You can do this with any planner system you use, but a hour-by-hour break down works best. Color code it if that’s your thing, I personally like to see time blacked off and white open spaces. Avoid electronic planners; writing things on paper is much more powerful and effective.
First, black out time spent sleeping 8 hour minimum and your mandatory 30 minutes AM and 1 hour PM routines. A simplified explanation for creating AM/PM routines is below.
AM routine: Set your alarm for the same time every day. One that starts quite and slowly gets louder is better than jolting you out of sleep. I have a light, sound and scent alarm that is very relaxing for going to sleep and waking up. Take a few breaths before hoping out of bed. Say some affirmations and think about what kind of day you want to have. Whatever your morning thing is make it a routine so it becomes habit and it will free up your mind for more creative things.
PM routine: we know babies need a bath, book and cuddles to fall asleep but we think we can work 12 hours and fall into bed. Your body needs a nighttime unwind. Bathing is great, reading a book is good. Journaling is an excellent practice. Find a routine that works and make it a habit. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even weekends) and soon your body will expect it.
Then, add white space. This is time for YOU to do NOTHING at all or something FUN. No work! This time is sacred and nothing should ever get booked in your white space. A simple, “I can not, I have plans.” should suffice. Your mental health and wellbeing is as important as anything anyone is asking you to do.
Then add movement: exercise, stretching, dance, whatever you can do. On “off’ days maybe enjoy a hot tub, or sauna or massage. Book movement blocks every day if possible, so that days you do not exercise you can enjoy a recovery treat. Make it a habit. Everyone can afford a soak in a bath with Epsom salts.
Then book your time off; vacations, national and personal holidays etc.
Then add working hours, making sure to include a 30 minute minimum non-working lunch break and 5 minutes of every hour of your work day to take a break to use the washroom or get up and stretch.
Give yourself an extra 15 minutes when blocking off work time, because stuff always comes up. If you think it will take 30 minutes, book for 1 hour. This way you are never late, and often early. A 15 minute buffer on either side is ideal, but include at least one. This reduces stress and rushing through things.
Choose 2 of every 7 days to take off work completely. If you do not get the weekend off, choose 2 days during the week to become your weekend. They do not have to be back to back, but that is a bonus! If you can’t take 2, take at least 1. Even God needed a day off after 6 days of work, wink wink! Off days are for family, recreation, relaxation and recharging. They are not for work. Do not feel guilty, enjoy life!
Bonus: Create routines around your meal times. Sit and eat as a family if your home at the same time every evening and on weekends/days off. No electronics at the table: talk! Prepare as much as you can as simply as you can, involve everyone. Cleanup together. Routine creates less stress for everyone.
Implement Amish Hour: no electronics one hour before bed. The blue light keeps you awake.
You can print this off for free here: file:///C:/Users/celes/OneDrive/Shared%20favorites/Documents/Black&WhiteLife.pdf