If you’ve ever fantasized about “doing less” or imagined that you were exempt from feeling the ease we talk about so much here at The Origin Company because of all the hats you wear at any given time (and can’t take off right now) then lean on in.
There just might be some guidance here to help you with planning the day, week and month ahead with all your hats in mind.
Here’s the scene: it’s Sunday afternoon and you’re enjoying the remainder of your weekend with your family when all of a sudden, a wave of worry washes over you as you think about the looming Monday morning cycle that starts the avalanche of activity leaving you overwhelmed, feeling out of control and tempted to burn your life down, move to another country and change your name.
Okay, well that’s dramatic, but the overwhelm is real and if that’s ever been your story, then let’s talk about how you can plan the day and the weeks ahead without that sinking feeling.
I, for one, am a mother, a partner, a householder, a collaborator inside of various online businesses (including right here at The Origin Company), and a business owner where I serve clients online and within my local community.
To say my days could easily fill is an understatement. And that’s not a brag at all. In fact, I’m sure that if you’re reading this you may be in a similar situation.
But what would it look like if your seemingly full life wearing many hats flowed like a robust orchestra where every section played in harmony with each other and you were actually excited about the activities that filled your calendar each day?
For starters, get an understanding of what you want out of your day.
How do you want to feel?
Who do you want to be a part of it?
And then we work backwards. Understanding these components of your ideal day can make setting longer-term goals easier and clarify what activities deserve more weight and attention.
The next most important thing to consider is the reality of how you function.
Are you a morning person, or would you have to force yourself to show up before a certain time and doing so would ruin your mood for the rest of the day?
Or maybe the opposite is true.
It’s so much easier to feel joyful and be consistent with your daily rhythm if you’re honest with yourself about who you are, what you need to thrive on, and under what circumstances you are at your best.
This becomes super easy to determine when using a tool like the Do Less Planner. I like data so seeing my patterns laid out so clearly created the biggest “aha” in my body and planning my days felt that much easier.
I happen to exist in a menstruating body and found that the power of my daily planning lies in my relationship to understanding my body’s cycles.
Case in point, this blog–when I originally sat down to write the words, it literally felt painful to pull a sentence you’d actually want to read from my fingertips.
Why? Because when I’m in the bleeding phase of my cycle (i.e. on my period), I am the least creative, coordinated or articulate.
Everything is hard during that phase and that knowledge helps to inform how my days are scheduled from one week to the next.
And, of course, there are times when I can’t be as flexible with the how and the when of getting necessary things done. In these instances, I connect more intentionally with the why and the where part related to daily activities.
So this leads to the actual planning part. Ready?
1. First, front load all you know about yourself and the non-negotiables of your day-to-day.
For instance, I know that I need at least 8 hours of sleep in order to be pleasant and not flatline in the middle of the day scrolling through Instagram. So start with bedtime…when do you need to shut down to get enough sleep?
Keep in mind that every season of your life will be different when it comes to sleep. When my son was first born, I considered how much sleep I needed while factoring in his feeding schedule. This required more buffering in the morning because #longnights.
2. Consider what buffers you need between activities and roles.
This may be driving time, emotional transitioning time, and so on. Also, who needs to be considered in the buffering? Is there a partner present during a transition time in your day that you want to connect with or pour your tea alongside? Is there a child that needs to be given a new activity or tucked away for a nap? These are the kinds of things that can cause frustration if we don’t consider their predictability and honor them in our plan for the day.
If at least one of the hats you wear consists of work you must show up for daily, block off that time and then identify down times during the day where you may do simple tasks for a side hustle perhaps. What this looked like for me during my corporate working days was using a couple of 15-minute breaks to follow up with clients for my direct sales business (for example).
3. Group like energies in your day whenever possible.
As an introvert I find that human interactions leave me feeling exhausted, but grouping necessary interactions on the same day whenever possible means that I can create “on” days and “off” days. If this is something you notice about yourself too, determining what days of the week you want to make space for meetings, networking, or activities with members of your household that require you to interact with other humans, can be stabilizing and give you space to prepare mentally.
If it’s possible to make space for at least one or two days during the week to be “no contact” days, then do that. On those days you can schedule more administrative tasks, creative tasks and anything else that benefits from quiet focus time that isn’t interrupted by the sound of anyone else’s voice. But resist the temptation to do unnecessary things. Your energy is sacred.
If you have the Do Less Planner, there’s a lesson that helps you determine the 20% tasks that lead to the 80% of results in your work or business. Do that! Figure out what that is for you and honor it. Seriously, it’ll save you.
4. Lastly, let’s talk about BOUNDARIES.
They can be hard to keep but oh so necessary. Schedule your shut down times. Leaving those up in the air in case someone needs you or something needs to be done is a breeding ground for resentments and makes planning the day feel even harder.
When everything in your life has its own space on your calendar, those things can thrive. But if you’re responding to an email or a Vox while your family members are trying to connect with you, you’ll end up missing the moments that make the work worthwhile at all. Even my dog will swat my phone out of my hand to get my full attention. So honor every hat you wear by giving each one their own time.
I even schedule times when it feels good to leisurely talk to my friends and family on the phone because doing so at the wrong time of day could cost me valuable focus time. It’s okay to say no. In fact, do it often.
The reality is that wearing multiple hats is not easy, nor is it sustainable for long stretches of time. So be kind to yourself if you’re in a season that feels like doing the absolute most. Know that nothing can get done by you if you burn out. You, too, can feel spacious and rock all your hats like a well-rested boss.
TAKISHA AUGUST, Origin Community Manager/Head Empress
TaKisha is the holder of all spaces for The Origin Company. On calls, in the community, and sometimes 1-on-1 in the inbox helping members of our community feel seen, heard, and more confident about how to use the tools inside of the Origin membership.