Have you heard the expression that the things we do every day have more impact than those we do once in awhile?
It makes sense: brushing our teeth every day helps us to avoid decay.
Practicing push ups every day will help us get better at push ups.
It’s like layers and layers of small changes build up and become big changes.
I just finished reading Todd Henry’s book Louder than Words and he recommends having a list of things we do every day to help us move forward in our creative projects (called “dailies”).
Scheduling these into specific time blocks, and having a single-card-sized checklist for keeping track of completion, can make it more likely they get done.
Then we can watch the results add up over time.
Here’s my list of work-related dailies:
- Morning Pages: 3 pages of uncensored freehand writing, to release worry or to sort out anything that might be on my mind.
- 1 Hour of Yoga: I found myself envying my students during savasana, at which point I reminded myself that teaching and studenting are not the same thing. I’ve since dedicated myself to an hour of daily practice, often via videos from my yoga teacher on Maui: http://mauionlineyoga.com. I did “Jungle House Flow” this morning and it was just what I needed – lots of side bending and heart opening. Ah, bliss.
- 1 hour of reading: Oh netflix, you beautiful sucker of time you. Josh and I are both determined to stop clicking the “Are you still there? Continue Watching” button and going to read books instead. This is how I finally finished reading Louder than Words.
- 1 page of Yoga Manual Writing: I plan to lead yoga teacher trainings and have started compiling my knowledge into a super special training manual. Writing thus far has come in waves of inspiration every few weeks, but a daily dedication to getting some thoughts down on paper will, I hope, help the process move along more consistently.
- 10 Mins Meditation: I often do moving meditations while I walk the dog, but I think sitting my butt down to meditate 10 minutes per day will really help improve ease and focus in my day to day.
- 10 Mins Gratitude Journalling: This will focus on gratitude towards stakeholders in my business: clients and family (Josh). I hope to learn how to enhance their lives through my service, to show gratitude for their support.
- 5 Hours of Outdoor Time: This one might prove the most challenging, but I am keen to see where it goes. I am lucky to have many clients who want to train outside, so that should help.
Update: 8 days later
My new dailies have been a ton of fun to play with, and I’ve learned how best to pair up tasks to coordinate with my goal of spending more time outside. I knew the 5 hours outside per day goal was bold, and going to be a challenge.
I realized that most things on the list could be done while outside, plus some other things I already do daily: walk the dog, read, write and journal. I was also delighted to find that I could get a lot of correspondence done via the phone (go figure!) while basking in the sunshine. The laptop is still a bit annoying because the screen can be tough to see at the wrong angle to the sun. Yoga flow is currently really fun to do outside, while it’s still fairly bug-free 🙂
I am really inspired by how Katy Bowman does interviews and other phone calls while walking, so I plan to look into getting my phone a little better set up for this (I think she uses skype). Josh is also super down with building a three-season modified outdoor workspace – he’s already pinned a few ideas.
Clearly, it’s easier to spend lots of time outside when the weather is nice. Walking in the morning and evening has been a great strategy to accommodate cooler temps, while afternoons are best for more stationary work (reading, training plans, emailing, plotting world domination). I ended up doing a lot more walking than I normally do, just to get my outdoor hours completed. I could definitely notice the extra effort in my calves and ankles, so took an ice-cold ocean immersion therapy break on Friday (also a lovely hot day for weather).
It was funny, the first few days I felt myself getting almost obsessed with the exact number of minutes I was doing each task. After confiding in my friend Kerri to see if she thought reading outside wearing mitts during the cool morning hours was a little extreme, she re-gifted some good advice that I once shared with her (I love when people throw my own words back into my face haha): that goals are meant to enhance our lives, not make them worse, and that any amount we shift in the direction of our goals, is success. That really helped to take the pressure off, and after that I found it was actually really easy to meet all of my goals.
The best part has been that focusing on what I want to accomplish each day has, almost by accident, minimized the amount of time I spend doing things I don’t truly enjoy, which do not bring me any real benefit, but that I often end up doing by default out of lack of focus or fatigue. A.k.a. reading celeb gossip, watching netflix, and spending too much time tidying up. I’ve learned that cleaning the house doesn’t have to be this long drawn out affair – when I am eager to get outside again, I’m finding myself much more efficient at cleaning up after myself, and also not worrying if things get a bit messy for awhile. I’m not in the house enough for the clutter to bother me during the day, and deeper cleaning can be done once the sun goes down.