After taking up blogging and starting a new, more productive lifestyle, I’m noticing a few things. Most of the things I’m learning are due to my daily journaling. I’ve been journaling every day for the last 18 days. Some days I write about what happened, some days I write about a thought I had or a question someone asked me, some days I use a writing prompt and write creatively. I suppose writing creatively would be called fiction, I just can’t define what I do as writing fiction. Fiction seems like something that should be left to the professionals. Nonetheless, writing every day has had great benefits. Just think what I will have learned after a year or a decade of continuing this practice!
A few things I’ve learned (so far) from writing every day:
- Writing makes me more intentional. I have specific times set aside to accomplish the things I want to accomplish, including writing. I have concrete goals established and have action steps planned about how to reach these goals. Each day, I work on the things that are most important, not the most urgent. Writing helps me understand which things are important and keeps me clear and focused by removing the thoughts and other noise swimming around inside my head.
- You gain insight through writing. Writing helps you take a giant step back and look at things from a broader perspective. A perspective that if you were simply going through your normal day you would never have even noticed, let alone thought deeply about. Writing helps you understand yourself better by forcing you to notice, and then articulate, things about yourself and the world around you (I’m excited to share some of my specific experiences with this in a later post).
Because of these two things, I’ve learned so many lessons in the last 18 days. Because of my intentionality, I have started “theming” my days, which means in one week I get to touch on all of the most important areas of my life without sacrificing the others. Every morning the alarm goes off 2 hours and 30 minutes before I need to leave the house. This gives me time every day to tidy my space, journal, do devotions, get ready, and tackle my daily theme. My weekly theming looks like this:
Monday: Connect. It’s so easy to lose touch with the people who are most important in our lives because of busy schedules and for me, selfishness with my time. Mondays are set aside specifically to connect with people. Write a letter, type an email, send a text, make a call. Whatever it is, just connect with people. I’ve found throughout the week someone’s name will pop in my head who I want to connect with. Rather than simply having good intentions, now I write the name down. Then on Monday, I look at my list and connect with those people.
Tuesday: Exercise. I very much value exercise, and by theming Tuesday as ‘exercise day’ it by no means excuses me from exercising the other days of the week. I simply know I’m busy on Tuesday evenings, so I get my exercise completed in the morning and start my second day of the work week off with some extra endorphins. The pick-me-up after a Monday is crucial for me.
Wednesday: Organize. One of my main goals in my current hyper-productive mindset is to become more organized. I think I can eliminate a lot of stress by doing so. Now, on Wednesdays, I spend time cleaning out a junk drawer, making the appointments I’ve been meaning to make for weeks, fold the laundry or clean the bathroom. Tasks that need to be done, but will take a little longer than my daily 10-minute tidy, get crossed off the list on Wednesdays.
Thursday: Read. I love reading. I read every night before I go to bed. The problem is I’m usually pretty tired at the end of the day. I’m certainly known to fall asleep quickly, which means I don’t always have a lot of time for reading before bed. I was wanting a time set aside during the day to read, so Thursdays are my dedicated reading days.
Friday: Learning. As my last post mentioned, online classes are my current addiction. On Fridays, I learn. I have a list of things I’d like to learn more about, and each Friday I watch a video, read some articles, or do something that strikes my current educational interests.
Saturday: Family. It’s hard to say where I’ll be on any given Saturday. Sometimes I’m driving out of state to visit family, sometimes I’m heading out on a weekend trip with my girlfriends, sometimes I’m lazy around the house (I don’t think those days are often enough). Now I have time set aside to call my family or just drink coffee with my husband.
Sunday: Intercession. In other words, intentional time set aside to pray for other people. I do daily devotions, but 25 minutes isn’t always enough time to read the Bible, worship, and pray for lots of specific people. So, I do something similar with how I organize my Mondays. I make a list of people who need prayer, and on Sundays, I have time set aside to pray for them.
All these themes may change as time goes on and my goals and priorities change, but I must say it’s a fantastic starting point. A quick credit goes to Mike Vardy who’s Productivity Habits that Stick: Using Time Theming online class inspired me to start this whole journey. As well as Jeff Finley’s Create a Perfect Morning Routine.
If seeing self-improvement and accomplishing your life goals (or even defining them-I had to start there) sounds appealing to you, I highly encourage you to check out the above-mentioned resources. Gaining intention and insight is not only changing how I handle the stress of daily life, it’s changing the way I view myself and helping me recognize the importance of eliminating hurry and apathy.