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Dehydration

So I came back from my wee break, a little dehydrated. Did you know alcohol consumption can cause dehydration? I mean, I knew this, but I just wanted to make sure you did too. Just in case like.

According to the ever trustworthy and reliable WebMD.com, signs of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Not peeing very much
  • Dark yellow pee
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps

On the more serious side of things, signs of severe dehydration include:

  • Not peeing or having very dark yellow pee
  • Very dry skin
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion or irritability
  • Fainting

 

Now, while this particular case of dehydration for me is very much self induced due to alcohol consumption and simply not keeping up with my usual water intake levels on top of that because of being away and a change in routine… the results are the same. And they’re not pretty.

You see, dehydration is a thing I suffer with. I struggle with this, daily.

To most people, it seems that I drink a lot of water. Like, to function normally on an average day of not really moving around very much, I need at least 5, but ideally 6 pints of water (about 3 litres, depending on what type of pints you use). And that’s in addition to the water I get from my food, my daily green smoothie, and the odd juice, isotonic drink, or herbal tea, as I fancy them. I drink one big strong cup of coffee most days, only very rarely going over that – like if I’m in a social situation or something.

And that’s the fluid intake I need.

Most people I know don’t drink that much. I am 6ft 2” and have a fairly fast metabolism, generally, so that’ll be having an effect for sure. But even apart from that, it seems a lot to folks who figure out how much fluid I’m taking on board as standard.

Except when you look at it, it’s not really that much.

According to the CDC, referencing a report by The Food and Nutrition Board – “Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate”, this isn’t really much above the recommended daily intake (I go by the men’s recommendations because generally that’s more aligned to my physical size and workings). They say:

“The vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their daily hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide. The report did not specify exact requirements for water, but set general recommendations for women at approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water — from all beverages and foods — each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. The panel did not set an upper level for water.

About 80 percent of people’s total water intake comes from drinking water and beverages — including caffeinated beverages — and the other 20 percent is derived from food.”

Unpacking that a little bit, I’d like to gently point out that for a lot of people, unfortunately that 20% doesn’t arrive from their food as they’re not eating enough fruit and veg. Or any, in some cases.

And of the remaining 80%, the vast majority of that should at least be from herbal teas, non-sugared fruit juices, and ideally from just plain old water. I know people who claim that 3 litres of tea or coffee a day does them just fine, but come on. It’s not ideal now is it?

So, I’m not that far off with my current fluid intake, to avoid dehydration.

What happens when I don’t get it?

The thing is, for me, getting my water intake every day, tracking it and making sure I meet that goal, is a sort of keystone habit. It’s what I build the rest of my self care around.

Not really on purpose, it just works that way for me. Dehydration is the canary in the coalmine – if my lips are dry or my pee smells strong or I wake up gasping for a drink in the morning… I’m off track. I haven’t been paying attention. I’m out of that self care mindset that I literally need to have as a foundation in my life, or I won’t survive (never mind that thrive part).

Because if I don’t pay attention to drinking enough water, I stop the bigger stuff too. It gets too much, and it’s usually not even a conscious thing. Sometimes I am aware of it, I know I have only drank like a pint of water and it’s nearly bedtime and I’m watching it happen but feel too overwhelmed or powerless or self sabotaging (or whatever fun and games are going on in my head that day) to stop it. Those days I try to tell someone, ask for a bit of poking around my self care, some accountability and even support with the feeding and drinking stuff.

Other days though it just slides by accident and… it doesn’t feel like a big deal. I’ll catch up tomorrow. (We can talk about how this is a sign of subconscious self sabotage too, another day.)

But then I don’t sleep quite right that night, and I wake up tired and out of sorts the next day, and I resolve to hydrate properly that day but there’s so much else to do and I maybe get half of what I need in. And I’ve skipped one of the meals. At this point some part of my brain is beginning a low level panic, which will – if I don’t get a firm grip on it then and there – kick off a spiral of guilt and self recrimination and overwhelm which leads to further and more serious executive dysfunction. Sleep goes, food goes, cleaning myself goes, routine goes… and it’s a whole shit show of dragging myself back from all of that.

How do I do that?

I drink water. I start a new page in my journal, write the date at the top, and I draw 6 little water drop shapes – 1 for every pint of plain water I have to drink that day. And that is my goal. Drink a pint of water, colour one of those drops in blue.

Because when I can do nothing else, I’ve learned that I can do that. I can use that to begin again.

Today, I’m not on a spiral, and my dehydration doesn’t feel that serious. But I have got to make sure I fill in those water drops today, so it doesn’t get serious. No matter what else I get done or don’t get done on my daily list, that is my priority.

Now, I’m not being rude here my friend, but, when was the last time you peed? What colour was it, and how did it smell?

Check yourself before you wreck yourself, and however many little blue drops you personally need to get in your own day, to make sure you’re doing well… Get enough water into you today.

 

References

Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. (2005, 05). doi:10.17226/10925

What is Dehydration? What Causes It? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/dehydration-adults#1

Taking a Break

I’m doing it! I’m taking a.. wait for it… a short break!

I’m taking a break with family and friends and food and fun and EVERYTHING.

It’s my son’s 13th birthday on Monday, so we’re heading away early in the morning and I’ll be back on duty by Tuesday, so expect your next post and email by then (are you on the list? Go Join the Mailing List and get the updates first!).

Problems I am having with this plan:

  • I knew it was coming, and I didn’t batch or get ahead of my work well enough to not be in a panic and probably working til midnight again tonight and be wrecked before I even set off in the morning. Sigh.
  • I promised ye daily emails. Well, daily (ish), to be entirely fair to myself. And a lot of folk have been in touch saying how helpful they’re finding this. So now I’m LETTING YOU DOWN. Sigh.
  • *mumbles* I don’t really believe I deserve time off, because I haven’t done enough. Super sigh.

Yeah, not all of that makes sense. I know, I really do.

But you know what? I’m taking a break anyway.

Because logically, I know the world will not end if I don’t stay working all weekend. Logically, I know that my family will not starve if I’m not at my desk from 9am to midnight every single day of the week. Logically, I understand that my body, mind and spirit all need proper down time.

So, see you Tuesday?! What can you do to take care of yourself this weekend?

Be well,

Lora x

 

Last Day of the Month

When I started this business, I knew I had a lot to learn.

Every time I got into a business planning book or other resource though, I kept hitting a snag – I didn’t have a baseline. Like, I didn’t have any idea of how I was doing, or what my current numbers were, so that I could try and improve them.

Some of this was just new business blips: I hadn’t been doing things long enough to have any data. But as time marched on, as it inevitably does, I began to realise that I have personal gaps too with regard to this stuff.

I had ‘set up an accounting system’ on my list for – I kid you not – over a full year before I even began to do anything about it. And even then, I was only tracking income and expenditure by hand in my bullet journal, for nearly another year. That is data, sure. But it’s not really useable data in the long term. It still has to be entered into an accounting programme so that I would have a set of actual accounts by the end of each year.

So ‘set up a digital accounting system’ went on my list, and to be honest, that’s where I am now. I went with Quickbooks Online, becuase it seemed the simplest, and I’m just starting the data entry and set up on all of that now.

But it’s HAAAARRRRDDDDDD.

I don’t really know what I’m doing. And though I have a separate business bank account, I don’t have a different business credit card. And we run a home office. So, personal and business accounts are intertwined to the point where I’m just setting up one big accounting system, and I’ll have to seperate things out from there. I figure having the big picture in a useable format is at least a better place than the one we’re in right now.

So, that’s happening, at last. No doubt I’ll share my fears and frustrations over that as we go too. And maybe it’ll keep me accountable (bad pun, soz not soz) because even just admitting to how long of a mess I’ve let this get into is embarrassing. Guess I should keep working on that from here, right?

Otherwise, I like to track things in my bullet journal  at the end of month so that I can refer to, and see the context for, what’s happening in the rest of the month. And next month. We’ve talked about trackers and how bad I am at keeping up with them before, so to get this in order for myself I had to set it up as a new habit, which means a clear Cue –> Habit –> Reward structure.

Another factor in the success and continuity of any new habit (or replacing an old habit with a new one, within the same cue to reward structure), is community. Now, this can be a community of 2, or of 1000, that doesn’t seem to matter.

I chose a community of 2 for this particular habit, and incorporated that into the reward. So, on the last calendar day of every month [cue], myself and my partner (in business and in life) Jon go on a mini planning [habit] ‘date’, to a cafe or restaurant [reward].

We bring our journals and some pens, and our phones to look stuff up, we order what we want, and then proceed to track last month and set ourselves up for next month.

We each look at and compare to the previous month:

  • Our social media stats to see how many new followers are with us that month;
  • Our mailing lists to check how many sign ups we got;
  • Our Patreon  accounts to see how many new Patrons have come on to support us and our work.

Then we look back at our annual, or 6 month, or quarterly goals (we’re each at different stages in our businesses, so this looks a little different for each of us), and we figure out what our one or two primary goals should be for the coming month.

Mine, this month, are to finish the new book I’m working on for Llewellyn Publishers – that deadline is the first of next month, so this is the last leg of the manuscript journey right here – and to get my sales funnel set up for a course I’m publicly launching in 2 months time.

To get that course launch sorted, there’s a few back steps that have to be in place, so I’ll need to take care of those this month, then be ready to get going with a content marketing plan on the course topic at the end of this month. That will run throughout the second month, to prepare for opening the course programme for signups for a short window at the end of that month. If all that makes sense?!

So, this coming month I’ll be working on getting the structures in place and running right on my main author/educator page (this is my primary wordpress website, and needs to change hosting and themes, to support the plans I have for organising my content, marketing and education delivery in a clearer and more user friendly way). Then I’ll need to set up specific mailing list and landing page structure within that primary system, just for this programme. I’ll only run this particular course programme once per year on a timed basis, so I’ll need to make sure there’s a lead capture system in place for folks who don’t make it in through this window, so I can offer it to them next year.

During the end-of-month planning date today, I sketched out some rough ideas and plans for how I’m going to achieve my goals, and drafted an affirmation I can use during my morning routine, which focuses me for not just what I want to achieve – but how I’m going to do that. For example, with regard to the book project, I’ll have to write 1000 words a day, 5 days per week (at least) to finish the final 20,000 words this month. I will do this first thing when I sit at my desk each day, so that I’m fresh and don’t run out of willpower, to make sure it gets done every single day I need to make that happen. I also track this on a chart in my bullet journal, giving myself occasional little reward stickers as my daily word count climbs higher up the graph, or on days when I really didn’t want to write and I did it anyway.

Wordcount Tracker Last Month

Here’s a picture of the chart from Last Month.

What? I like stickers.

How can you incorporate some of these ideas into your monthly planning or tracking? Which ones are relevant to wherever you are in your business or life situation? Just like me and Jon – this is going to look different for different people, depending on where you’re at.

If you do nothing else, think about the habit formula.

Cue → Habit → Reward, and a community to share it with. If you don’t have anybody near you that shares a goal you both with to turn into a habit, then pop over to our New Facebook Group and introduce yourself there. I’m hoping that will turn into a supportive, useful community for folk to join in with.

All the best,

Lora x

 

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The Importance of Down Time

I’m not good at this down time lark, to be honest.

My brain is very busy. VERY busy. It never seems to want to give me a break.

This is fantastic for ideas, and creative problem solving, and my work ethic. Well, you would think so, right?

Turns out, maybe not so much. Like, I want my brain to be running on full speed when I’m having ideas, problem solving, and working on my business. I don’t want to be half assing it.

There’s a huge drive within me to keep working (we talked about some possible reasons for that, Right Here)… but that’s maybe not the best thing for my business or my success. Or my health. Because taking time off for family, friends, outdoor activities and even old-fashioned daydreaming has clear benefits for productivity, as well as for your mental and physical health.

Yeah, I know. Seems obvious right? But…

How Much True Down Time Did You Have Last Week?

Probably every culture on the planet has a traditional ‘day of rest’. Maybe not every single one, but, let’s agree at least that it’s a VERY common theme.

Often, we refer to it as a ‘lazy day’ now, which, you know what? Doesn’t have very positive connotations for most of us. Even if we’re binging on netflix, or going for a walk, or reading an eBook, we mostly stay switched on with our phones or tablets or laptops. We’ve got notifications and alerts popping up and intruding in constantly.

I’m not saying you have to go tech free for true down time (although, when is the last time you did THAT for any length of time?!), but there’s a significant difference between strolling through sand dunes of a sunday with an audio book playing through your headphones and your dog racing round at your feet, to sitting slumped on the couch or in your bed half watching TV with your phone in your hand for scrolling through Facebook. I’m sure we can all see that.

The point is to create genuine space and time to give your body, mind, and spirit a chance to fully relax and recharge.

How Do We Get Some Of This “Down Time” Going Then?

  • If you’re anything like me, you’re going to have to clearly and consistently schedule evenings off, one or even two days a week free of work, and weeklong chunks of holiday every year. And stick to it (if your job and family responsibilities allow for that – I’m aware of and sympathetic to economic and personal factors that might be at play here too).
  • Take regular breaks through your workday, and sometimes take a break just for the hell of it. Even standing outside under a tree for 5 minutes will help refresh you. Or try a simple 5 Minute Meditation.
  • Turn off the phone. No really, I mean it. Most of us don’t even realise (or want to admit) how addicted we are to the phones. There’s a constant call and response loop going on when it’s in reach or in your hand, and the ONLY way to break that is to just put it away, out of easy reach, where you can’t see it. Especially during down time. ESPECIALLY especially during sleep time. I’ll do a whole other post on that soon.
  • Free your mind by having somewhere you can regularly brain dump all the background or foreground noise, and a process you can trust for going through that and sorting it into actionable tasks and events. Then make sure you have simple, regular routines and habits forming for the everyday stuff, so you’re cutting down on the amount of choices you have to make every day – automating it so you are less likely to suffer decision fatigue.

 

My Down Time

Yeah. Confession Time.

I literally took zero down time last week. I worked every evening and all through the weekend, til 10pm, 11pm, or midnight every single night.

That’s not good, and I am REALLY feeling sapped and drained starting the new week. My shoulder is in agony every morning when I wake, my knee has swollen back up (old injuries), I’ve had no time or energy to keep up my 8 week cycle plan so that fell by the wayside. I’m not sleeping right, and I’m grumpy as fuck.

That’s not right, and it’s not fair either on the lovely people I live with, or on me.

So, I’m working on it. Or rather, not working on everything all at once, and trying to take WAY more down time this week. I’ll let ye know how I get on, ok?

 

Lora x

Let’s Do The Work

Gods damnit.

It’s 11.33pm of a sunday. I’ve been working all day (ok, I started a little late, but it was still before noon when I sat at my desk), and teaching in my online classes and programmes since 7pm.

I have to work late like this once a month, on the last sunday, when I teach regular classes. But I also have to take world time zones into account – I find a starting time of 9pm Irish Standard Time on a Saturday or Sunday suits most of the people, most of the time.

There’s admin to finish up, making sure everyone got access and there are no customer service issues I missed while I was teaching (sometimes tech glitches happen), and I’ve to wait for all the files to save and download safely as I record all my classes as a bonus for those who’ve signed up… but also for resale later on too. Those files are important!

Between the hottin’ and the trottin’, as my Nana says, I didn’t get a chance to write this post earlier today, but I promised a daily one so, here I am (before midnight!) keeping my promise. It might not be a very long one. Or I mean, it might, because we all know I can be a little wordy. And it might not be the best piece of writing I’ve ever done, but it’ll be done.

Because that’s what self discipline looks like. That’s what it takes to run your own business. And that’s what it means to serve a community who may be counting on you.

I hate it. I hate being like this. I’m exhausted.

I wish my life was easier…

Or do I? Do I love this, really? Am I addicted to hard work? Do I push myself so hard as a form of punishment, a replacement for the self mutilation I used to do that has left permanent scars on my body? Do I have self inflicted scars on my spirit?

One of the most difficult parts about trying to heal from all the things and grow as a balanced person, is the work of separating out – or trying to – what’s a natural part of my personality, and what is a conditioned or trauma response. I was very young, 14 years old, when an older man began to groom me for a relationship. Oh I thought I was worldly and sophisticated. I was completely sure by the age of 16 that I was madly in love with that man. He was my soulmate, in fact, young me would have you know.

How do I look back at that young person and follow a true path from there to here? How do I figure out which trees in this forest I now find myself wandering through are native, and which have sprung from seeds that were planted; that are invasive and strangling and poisonous.

I’m in the middle of this forest. All I see around me are trees. Many look different from each other, and there have been a few obvious nasty twisted ones I’ve been able to spot and uproot, even though they were well established and those roots ran deep. I’m still finding the odd sucker and creeping tendril as they try to reform, to be honest. Maybe that’s part of my life’s work now too, consistently digging them out as they try to re-establish themselves.

But the rest just look like trees. They’ve been there so long, and they’re so well established, that they look and feel like they belong there. Like they’re an essential part of the life of this forest.

How do I know which is which?

It takes work. And it’s not easy, but I’m doing it. Because this forest is worth tending, is worth taking care of, and is worth the effort of cultivating and caring for until it’s the healthiest it can be.

With that, and with the clock about to strike midnight on this ramble through my soul, I will say goodnight.

And leave you with my hope that you, too, see that you are worth any effort, any work.

Let’s do the work.

 

Lora x

 

Self Worth

(Small Content Warning: reference to child abuse, fyi)

You were born worthy.

No really, you were. We all were. I mean, think about it. Nobody (I hope none of ye anyway) looks at a baby and thinks they have to earn love. That they have to do anything to deserve care. That, as they develop, their thoughts, acts, or achievements have to meet some exacting high standard before they will be acknowledged or respected.

Because that would be abusive behaviour, right? If a person was doing those things or expecting those things from a baby or a small child, they’re abusing that child.

And if you, by any chance, were abused in any of those ways… I am so very sorry. But even so, I would hope that you wouldn’t turn around and treat another baby or child in any of those ways.

Feck, this got real deep real fast. *Goes to add a small content warning to the top of the post.* I’m getting to the point, I promise.

You were that child.

You were born deserving love, and care, and acknowledgement of your development and growth and efforts. You were automatically worthy of all that, just by the simple fact of being born.

Most of us would agree with that, right? Like, logically we can see that to be true, and right, and a good way for folk to be going about their business in the world. The difficult part comes with translating that into a sense of self worth now.

 

Where is your self worth?

Do you ever feel you’re not worthy of love? That you don’t deserve care? That your thoughts, words, actions are not good enough to be acknowledged or respected?

If you’re about to say no, that’s not you… just stall that there for a second and consider that sometimes, even if we don’t consciously think those things, they are messages we have internalised for ourselves. And so we think or act in ways that may be unconsciously sabotaging our chances of love, care, and respect. We may not truly love, care for, or respect our own selves.

If that’s still not you, for real, in any way… fucking good on ya. For real. See ya tomorrow for a different topic, all right?!

I suspect though, that for most of us here there’s some painful truth in all of that. Somehow, as we go through life from childhood to here, we pick up and absorb these thoughts or feelings that we are not enough, as we are, to deserve good things for ourselves.

Sometimes there’s a clear and obvious primary cause for this. An abusive parent or ex, for example, who consistently undermined your courage, your belief in yourself, your trust in… everything.

But we are also surrounded by commercial messaging, literally from birth, that is designed specifically, by really smart people who often understand your brain way better than you do, to make you feel that you are not good enough. That you have all of these problems, and it’s only with the judicious application of Product X or the life saving support of Service Y that you can be good enough. For a while at least.

This seeps into society too, so the people around you are consistently reinforcing these messages. That’s how advertising works. It gets a foot in the door of your brain and eventually, as pressure mounts and your confidence falls, you begin to do their work for them.

The innate sense of self worth you were born with, has been syphoned off in a steady stream through the years – sometimes actively and with intent, but also passively – leached from all of us into the fabric of the world in which we live, for the benefit and profit of the 1%.

That’s a bit grim, right?

It is. So. What are you doing about it?

What can you do?

 

Simple Ways to Build Self Worth

First off, that little bollix that lives in your brain, that whispers bad things about you to you? You need to strangle that fecker.

Take a day and make note of every negative thing you think or say about yourself. Just one day. But every single thing. Make a mental note of them as they happen, or better yet write them down. In a journal, or on a stack of post its or something.

Do whatever it takes to make it super obvious how regularly we shit talk ourselves, and how awful the things we think and say actually are. Like, really look at them, at the end of the day. Your little collection of awful things about you.

They’re not true you know.

Your feelings are not facts. Your brain is giving you worst case scenarios, worries, concerns and negative biases.

Please, for the love of dog, recognise that your negative feelings are not the truth, and refuse to internalise them as such. Just don’t accept them. And if there’s one or two you’re genuinely not sure about, ask a friend. Look for evidence.

I’m betting you’ll be given out to for being unkind to yourself (if you have good friends), or that you won’t find any solid objective evidence to support the untruths you have been telling yourself.

Finally, for now (because oh you know we’re going to come back to the topic of self worth, if for no other reason than that it’s something I struggle with constantly), focus on the things you do like about yourself. Yes, you have them. Find them ok?

When you catch that brain weasel bollix attempting to say nasty things about you, do a mental switch. Imagine yourself as a small child, and the brain bollix is somebody horrible. Are you going to really let that fecker scar that small child for the rest of its life?

No, I hope not. Take care of that little version of you, and let it grow and develop to an abundance of self worth. You deserve it.

Be well,

Lora x


 

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Habit Forming with Micro Habits

We’ve talked a lot about routine, and I know that my morning routine I’ve been sharing can seem like… a lot.

Like, it is a lot. It takes me 2 hours to go through everything at a comfortable pace. I hope that I’ve conveyed the benefits of putting that effort in, because for me it’s not only necessary to include those things in my day, and my system, in order for me to ‘survive and thrive’ – it’s also all stuff I want to do, that makes me happy and comfortable and fulfilled.

But, you don’t have to start there.

In fact, if you don’t currently have a morning routine, it would be a bit of a stretch to expect yourself to DO ALL THE THINGS, every day, and keep it up until it all becomes habit.

Remember, this system has developed for me over time, like my bullet journal and all the other stuff. I’ve figured it out as I went along, and there have been many, many abject failures, and other times when I’ve just gone way off track before bringing it back for myself.

With any routine, you have to start small.

Micro Habits, They Call Them

It’s where you make one tiny change and stick with it for a while, and then that becomes a trigger for another change, so that you end up creating a positive chain.  

So pick one thing.

Is it getting up as soon as the alarm goes off each morning? Set it the night before and leave it on the other side of the room (plug your charger in over there, is what I do). Make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time to get enough sleep, but even if you have a bad night, understand you’re getting up as soon as the alarm goes off. Regardless. It’s too fucking easy to make excuses. When you hear it ring, just countdown 5-4-3-2-1 and move. That one is a Mel Robbins trick that is really useful in many situations, by the way. You can find more on that in her book The 5 Second Rule (on Amazon US here, or on Amazon UK here). Get out of bed, stay out of bed, then go and pee, brush your teeth, drink water. Whatever is the logical next step for you to get moving and stay moving.

You can use the micro habit thing for starting any habit, but if you (eventually) want to make a series of big changes, try and list them all out, then pick the logical first one. Where do you need to start? Start there.

You’ll need to find a trigger event or condition, a cue that is the same every day. You can begin something that will be on every other day, by the way, rather than 7 days per week, but honestly my best success has been with just biting the bullet and doing the thing 7 days a week. Once it’s formed, you can take an occasional down day or day off if circumstances run differently, but it’ll take the daily repetition to form a habit. If the habit you want to form is to get up at a certain time on workdays, you’re just gonna have to get used to the fact that that’s your new wake up time every day. Soz, not soz. It’s for the best.

So choose the right cue to remind you of your goal, and kick off the new behaviour. I find something that is sort of unavoidable to happen at the same time every day to be the best one. Coming home from work, if that’s a regular time for you. Letting the dog out last thing at night. Your first morning pee. And if you don’t wake up needing to pee each morning, please increase your water intake, you are dehydrated. You’re welcome. Anyway, you get the idea.

Whatever the habit you eventually want to form is, please start small. You’re making a tiny change here, eg, take a 5 minute walk around the block. One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking we have to go from zero to hero in one fell swoop. You really don’t. Yes, you may truly want or even need to be walking 30 minutes a day every day. That’s a great goal to build up to. But if you’re starting from no walking, and can do those 5 minutes a day every day, that’s still over 30 minutes that week that you didn’t walk last week. You’re winning, keep going.

Do 5 minutes a day every day for the following week, and you’re 14 days into a habit. That’s serious progress. At that point, you could just keep going that way and really bed in your walking habit for the following 2 weeks, giving you a well established month’s worth of daily habit. That’s a huge success! Or, if you’re getting a little frustrated with only walking the 5 minutes, you could at that point (but not before!) raise the bar – only a little – and make it 10 minutes a day, every day. You see how this all works out, I’m sure. Eventually you will build up to the goal you want, without the side-effects of feeling overwhelmed or exerting any more willpower. It makes sense right?

The most important bit though, to include from the very start of your micro habit, is a little reward once you’ve done the thing each day. Something small that you enjoy, that won’t end up being real bad for you as you indulge in it every single day! A soothing cup of tea or coffee, a fancy piece of fruit, your first facebook check-in of the day, a piece of music you love, or curling up to read or watch something you love. Whatever floats your boat.

There’s a bit more to this whole habit forming (or breaking) thing, which we’ll definitely go deeper into as we move through the days. But for now, what 1 thing are you going to change from today, or tomorrow morning? What positive habit would you like to form, starting now?

Give us a shout in the comments below and tell us!

 

All the best

Lora x

Off Routine

Ugh.

The only bad thing, really, about having a routine, is when you are put out of the routine and it really throws everything off.

It’s a small price to pay, for sure, for all the BENEFITS of having a regular routine. But it sucks.

So, it was our monthly local social/networking Pagan moot last night. Myself and another lad Paul started this in our county when I moved here over 2 years ago, and I absolutely love the community that has grown, and will continue to do so, from this one simple bit of monthly outreach and connection that I take responsibility for.

The people who attend are truly lovely and many have become really good friends. The kind of people you can really get on with. The kind of people who, when you’re with them, you don’t really pay attention to the time passing. The kind of people you can really talk to, in depth, and then suddenly realise it’s 1am on a school night. (My offspring is on summer holidays from school right now, but we still call midweek nights ‘a school night’. I don’t know why either.)

And then you get one friend settled in a taxi, stroll home as another friend is staying over, and talk even more. Next thing you know it’s 2am and you’re just shutting off the lights to try and sleep.

Well, shite.

In case you are not following, yes, I stayed up talking and drinking with my friends instead of sticking to my usual sleep routine – 10pm tech off for an 11pm goal of sleep time.

I woke at 8am and did my email and banking checks, then heard my friend downstairs so shuffled down to say before she went away to work. We got talking (again) and she ran out the door after 9.15, a little on the late side.

I was sat at my dining room table, in my dressing gown, and literally the only part of my morning I’d done was drink some water. So of course the logical thing to do was take out my phone and go on facebook. Of course.

At 10.30am, Jon came in the room and I was in a funk, feeling way off kilter… and my usual conditioned response to that is to freeze – do nothing about the big stuff. This usually looks like, as in this case, me mindlessly clicking, sharing and scrolling on Facebook, allowing my brain to slide on by the things that are causing me anxiety.

He took my hands, and told me to try a reset. Just start doing the things from my routine that settled me into my day, like we talked about a few days back. I panicked at that point because I had two articles due by lunchtime and I wouldn’t have time to do my routine and I just had to go sit in my dressinging gown and start typing.

That didn’t sound like a good plan, to either of us.

So, I took a breath, and figured I would do my minimum viable routine for now while I was pressed for time, and catch up with things later. Or, let them go for the day. Coz that’s ok too.

Upstairs; washed face, brushed teeth and tied hair back, ate a fruit bar, took meds. Got ‘dressed’ into my batman pyjama pants, and a clean loose t-shirt. Drank more water (1 litre in at that point).

Downstairs; at desk, I lit a candle on my work altar today and did my daily devotional there. I opened my bullet journal, checked the weekly for what I had on that day, and the monthly just to make sure I wasn’t forgetting an appointment or event. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Fit a very simple daily task list onto the end of a page, put my headphones on – I listen to the same playlist of strong dance beats with no lyrics as a focus trigger when I’m writing – and got to work.

Normally I prioritise my book words first. The deadline is the end end of next month and I’m still 20,000 words down, as I procrastinated over ‘researching’ it for way too long at the start. I can do that wordcount in a month easy enough if I stick to my schedule though, so I’m not too worried there anymore.

Today though I had a very limited time to get my client columns done and sent, so I did those first. Boom. It was lunchtime. But I didn’t stop for lunch yet, I pushed through to the end of the book chapter I was working on, and got that settled too.

First 3 things off the list. 4 more to go. But first, lunch (oat and banana pancakes), and more water (2 litres in at that point).

After I’d eaten (and listened to a business podcast, so that’s another bit of the daily routine ticked off there too), back to work, and I recorded another podcast episode. I’m recording a heavy dissertation on the Mórrígan as a bonus/favour for some of my Intensive Programme students – and any other folks – who might find it difficult to concentrate and consume such a weighty document/book.

I went off list a little and registered the domain name for this project (which is now set up if you’re reading this online!), and did a few other hosting and admin bits for the websites I run and the new projects I’m putting together. I’m still learning wordpress and the tech aspects of all that is a bit much sometimes, but I’ve great support on my hosting site so that really helps.

That got written down on my daily page too, as I have a common tendency to feel that I haven’t done ‘enough’ (hello anxiety disorder and C-PTSD!) in any given day, and I find that really helps – tracking exactly how much I do get done. At least I can be honest with myself that way.

As you can see, my bullet journal is really never far from my hand. I honestly can’t sit down to work at the desk without it. Like, if I lost it I’d just cry a bit and start a new one… but I will always have a journal close to me, forever I think.

So here I am, at 5.15pm with 4 (+1 bonus) tasks ticked off, and nearly done my 5th one. The rest of the tasks are not day dependant, so if I get tired and decide to shuffle them around that’s grand. I’ve done exactly what HAS to get done today, and I’m satisfied with that.

Still to do that were skipped this morning are: a little professional development/devotional reading, meditation, affirmations and visualisations (I’ll do those as I finish up for the day before I leave my desk), some light physio exercises, and a shower.

Yeah, I’m sitting here in my own stank all day, and it’s going to be very difficult to haul ass in the shower – I do even worse at the end of the day with that, than at the beginning where at least there’s a bit of momentum to get moving. So if I can’t face that, fuck it. I’ll crawl into bed and just reset it all tomorrow.

Because that’s the true beauty of a routine. It’s always there, ready and waiting for you to slot back into, no matter how far out of whack you get.

 

All the best,

Lora x

First Bullet Journal – Flip Through

A quick one today, I thought.

I’ve been sharing images from my first bullet journal, so as to illustrate the basics of getting started.

I thought – I’ll just shoot a wee video, a flip through of my very first bullet journal (October November 2016) that I’ve been talking about, to illustrate the previous days’ bujo posts.

18 minutes later…

 

Anyway. I hope it’s useful.

 

All the best,

Lora x

 


If you’d like some support in setting up a brand new Bullet Journal, you can take our Beginners Class Here!

Bullet Journal Weeklies

I was going to talk about insomnia because I woke at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep… but we’ll go with something practical today instead of me moaning again, I think.

Where did we leave off with the bullet journal basics? Monthlies?

*goes back to check*

Nah, task lists. Ok. Well let’s look at what happens with Bullet Journal weeklies.

These aren’t in the original bullet journal system – Ryder Carroll just goes from a basic monthly list onto his dailies. We’ll get to them soon enough don’t worry.

Personally, I like to keep a simple weekly plan.

Again, there’s a little repetition from the monthly → weekly → daily system, but I actually LIKE that. It helps bed things into my brain, sets the week up really clearly, and the process of writing a simple plan calms and reassures me that I’m not forgetting anything.

If you don’t have to deal with an anxiety condition, feel free to skip the weeklies and hop directly from monthly to daily lists and notes, if you’d prefer that.

If you do… maybe just give it a try. With a little time, it really does build that trust and allow your anxiety brain to let go a little of ALL THE THINGS we usually feel we have to hold on to and keep track of.  

My Bullet Journal Weeklies

One way to do a simple weekly spread in the bullet journal (bujo) is to split a page in half vertically (down the middle), and then divide it into 7 sections for the days of the week horizontally (across the page).

On a standard A5 lined notebook page, there’ll be about 26-28 ruled lines. Leave a line or two for a title and page number, draw a line across, then drop 3 lines and draw another line across, that’s your Monday. Do it again for Tuesday, Wednesday and so on through to Sunday, and you’ll be at about line 22 or 23.

That leaves you a little space at the end of the week, which we’ll get to.

Draw that line down the middle if you want to (it’s not necessary, but helps with clarity) and split it to events on the left side and tasks on the right, or vice versa. You do you.

Write in the days of the week, and the date, in each box. On top – don’t forget the page number, and add the title ‘Week of Xth to Xth’ or whatever so it’s easy to get what’s on the page at a quick glance.

There you go. Weekly spread in your journal.

Check back to your monthly, and pull in whatever events or reminders are current to this week.

Check back to your master task list, and pull in whatever you want to pop on to a specific day of the week, or anything that has a deadline for this week.

In that leftover space at the bottom, you can put in anything you want to track. I think I said I don’t do well with big monthly trackers, though they might work for you.Bullet Journal Weeklies

They sorta overwhelm me, and when I inevitably forget or get off track and there’s gaps, they glare at me and make me feel like shit for the whole month. I always end up abandoning the tracker.

But a weekly tracker is usually ok (fucked up this week? Never mind! Next week = fresh start!).

So yeah, on these pages (dedicated pages are often called a ‘spread’ coz the topic might stretch over 2 or more pages) I track things I want to do a certain amount of times per week, eg.

  • Take a Daily Walk:    M __ T __ W __ T __ F __ S __ S __
  • Instagram Post:         M __ T __ W __ T __ F __ S __ S __
  • Reading for Fun:       M __ T __ W __ T __ F __ S __ S __

It can be left at that there, or you can put stuff pertaining to that week on the facing page – goals, a brain dump, meal plan, or general organisational notes. Whatever. Make a space for whatever you think you might need or might be useful.

If you don’t use it, fuck it. No harm. Fill the space with stickers or decorative (washi) tape, print an inspiration quote and stick it in… or just leave it blank. Nobody minds!

The point is to have the system there for whatever you need to put into it, or use it for. You’ll only find that out by experimenting and figuring out what’s going to work for you, as you go.

There’s a place to put things, and nothing gets left behind or forgotten.

Try it.

And, cue, Brain building trust and relaxing a bit in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1.

 

All the best,

Lora x

 


If you’d like some support in setting up a brand new Bullet Journal, you can take our Beginners Class Here!