Quarantine Lessons: I Threw Away My Daily Schedule

Last week I had to remind myself to take my own advice

Up until two weeks ago every Monday -Friday of the last five years has been directed by my work Google Calendar. I’m a self-proclaimed hater of being told what to do but I have to admit that the whiplash from going from having every moment planned to a completely empty slate was a lot to take. 

To help ease the discomfort of having no structure for the foreseeable future I took control. During the first week I set myself a type A personality worthy schedule. I gave myself a plan for each day, a timeline for working on personal projects, physical goals and creative play.

Where Things Went Wrong

While the plan itself was well intentioned I made a major mistake. I ignored my body’s personal cues and didn’t ask myself if the schedule felt authentic. I followed the advice of mental health experts and online articles and attempted to maintain my weekday 6:30 am morning routine. I remained mentally rigid about when I woke up, worked out and worked on personal projects – treating my creative babies like work instead of play.  In an attempt to maintain normalcy I sacrificed flexibility – and I failed miserably. 

Unfortunately for my beautiful, color coded schedule –  I’m a night owl by nature and I SUCK at mornings. My natural sleep cycle sits somewhere from 11pm-8am. Due to the pressures from society to “fit it all in” with work, fitness, creative fulfillment and socializing I’ve spent YEARS trying to convince myself to be a morning person. Sometimes I almost believe it. But, naturally I’m not good at mornings so by day 3 of my furlough I was staying up too late, sleeping in and “throwing off” my perfect plan for the day. It made me feel like a failure. I could feel the perfectionist thoughts sneaking back in so I pumped the brakes and threw away my schedule

Pressing Pause

Thinking back on my schedule I tried to identify why I was so rigid about it. Practicing some of my tools from my authenticity video, I re-evaluated why this wasn’t working. I was worried that without every moment dictated to me, the project planned out, every goal outlined in the tiniest tangible steps, that somehow I was going to miss a step or misuse my time. I dug deeper and realized that I was judging myself for not having what I’ve always been told was a successful person’s schedule. We’ve all seen those articles on LinkedIn about how Joe CEO wakes up at 4:45am everyday and that’s why he’s successful. Those articles are full of shit. And the worst part was that I was comparing myself to people that I didn’t even want to be like. I realized I was being hypercritical of myself – I didn’t trust myself with free time. 

So I had to treat myself like I would a friend. I would NEVER hold anyone else to a daily schedule at this time or try to convince them that if they didn’t plan out every moment they would fail – so I had to stop doing it to myself. We are all our own worst critics and I am no exception. 

Building Trust with Myself

With my newfound freedom from structure I looked at all the things I wanted to do and made a plan – not a schedule. I now have a daily to do list with chunky timeframes to do it in and a lot of extra room for exploration. I still have big plans and I want to stay on top of things but right now there is no reason to live life according to anyone else’s agenda – I’ve literally got nowhere else to be. An unprecedented time calls for an unprecedented schedule. I’m much happier with my glorified daily to-do list than I was with my color coded calendar. 

I hope this inspires you to take stock of your day to day and look at what’s serving you. Ask yourself what you really want, what feels authentic to you and if you are doing things that align with what makes you feel good about yourself. If you can, try letting go of what’s not serving you right now – odds are you don’t need it. 

A little extra self love motivation for you

Being Yourself as an Act of Self Love

But really tho, we should all be a little more authentic but it is so much easier said than done. I’m going to share with you my five tips for harnessing authenticity – but first a little about why I think this is so important.

Recently, a friend of mine shared that their elementary school kid asked them if everyone will still “act like themselves” when they go back to school. They explained that their friends were acting “more like themselves” doing online school and via Zoom than they do at school.

I loved hearing this call out – even in elementary school kids start putting on masks to “fit in” and they’re aware of it. We often assume kids are always being themselves and this was a stark reminder that even they cave to society’s pressures. Dwelling on this made me think about my masks – one for work, one for each friend group, one for events.

What would it be like if we could all just be out authentic selves?  

Everyone, from the smallest to the tallest, wants to be authentic. Being accepted while being our real selves is the dream. Authenticity is the cornerstone of self love. If we can be ourselves fully and still love ourselves no one else has influence over who we are or what we do. Sadly, some people walk around without ever truly getting comfortable with themselves and miss out on honoring all their personal magic. When we shine in an authentic way – it radiates. 

This time at home is allowing us to get really comfortable with ourselves. As an extrovert, I’m always tempted to spend the day scrolling away on social media. In my head it will help me get some of that external action I crave. Eventually, even Instagram gets old. Instead, I’ve been trying to spend my time looking within and trying to identify who I am and what I want. It’s like doing ice breakers with yourself – it can be a little uncomfortable but the goal has good intentions. I’m trying to find that cornerstone of authenticity that allows me to do what I love while being 100% myself. So here’s are five ways I’m getting to know myself:  

Journaling

Obviously I love writing and it’s how I process. While I am not personally a “dear diary” kind of writer I love keeping journals where I pour some sort of stream of consciousness thought vomit onto the page. You can write about your day, emotions, poems, doodle – whatever comes up for you put it in there. Putting my thoughts into writing makes them real for me and lets me identify patterns of things I actually believe for myself v things I’ve been told my whole life.

Ask Yourself Why x3

When something upsets me I’ve started applying space and curiosity. When something upsets me I ask myself why three times. The first time I hit the surface level, the second time we dig a little deeper and the third we get to the root – or close to it. Example: I’m annoyed because I lost my keys. 1) Why? Now I can’t leave and it’s frustrating. 2) It’s frustrating because I lose everything 3) Losing everything makes me feel like I’m not responsible and a shitty human. By three I’ve gotten pretty close to the root and can begin thinking about this trigger. Where does this feeling that I’m not responsible stem from? How do I work with it to course correct in the future. You get to dig super deep with this. This is a learning process for me and I am nowhere near where I want to be with it.

Try New Things

Shoshin is the concept of a beginner’s mind. An expert believes they know everything – a beginner is open to new knowledge and experiences. Shoshin allows us to tap into new possibilities and creativity. Trying new things is a great way to see how you respond in an unknown situation – and it doesn’t have to be scary. I’ve tried baking, painting, poetry, learning Tik Tok dances – anything new. Bonus points if you record them like I do to see how you respond to the new activity. Next on the list is sewing. An added bonus is that this also helps you prepare for changes and challenges thrown at us.

Meditate

Sitting quietly is extrovert torture but I promise, if you stick to it, its fruitful. Sitting with myself without an agenda has been a game changer for getting to know myself. I personally had to do guided meditations for YEARS before I could just sit and be. Golden rules for this are: set a timer, put on some chill music OR a guided meditation, and be kind to yourself. You will get distracted – just keep coming back.

Be Frank with Yourself

Honestly, ask yourself what you want/enjoy. Make a list. Really think about it. Treat it like a Christmas list and rank in order of what is most important to you. Include big things like security or money and little things like a tree swing or an ocean view. No judging what you want – just let your mind go wild and weed out the rest.

So these are my five tips. Journal, ask yourself why, try new things, meditate and be frank with yourself. Your answers might surprise you. 

That’s all I have for you today! Like, comment, subscribe & I’ll see you next time. 

But Really Tho – I’m on YouTube

Second big announcement for 2020 coming in hot – I’ve started a YouTube channel! 

I started this channel to share some of the tips I’ve blogged about in another medium. I wanted to make my self development content accessible for everyone so I’ll be working on more videos in the future. 

This first video is an intro to self development with my top tips for making change that sticks. Enjoy my tips, awkward pauses & cheese puns. 

Going forward expect a wide variety of content including work from home vlogs, baking and crafting videos, and chatty moments.

Love you! 

Self-Worth isn’t Found at the Bottom of my To- Do List

Society has tangled self-worth and wealth – I’m here to dig a little deeper.

As the Queen of introspection I often ask myself “why”. Usually, whatever I’m questioning is an action. The questions form along the lines of  “Why did I order that third prayer plant?” or “Why I am I making this decision?” and usually my toddler-like tenacity for questions is fulfilled by these self-revelations. I tend to only stump myself when I zoom out past my current situation and incorporate the dreaded sociatel “we”. My latest ponder has left me stumped and I’m hoping we can solve this toddler style question together. Are you ready for it?

Why do we base self-worth on productivity and how do we stop?

I firmly believe that our modern capitalist society uses wealth and worth interchangeably. Sure, we may hide this connection under the guise of hard work equating worth but the name change doesn’t make this connection any healthier. You either work hard to make more money to then feel good about yourself or you work hard under the pretense of one day getting rewarded for this work with recognition and monetary gain. We have made it shameful to not work while simultaneously making it shameful to work hard and not be rewarded with success. In summary, as a society, we have made existence transactional and by doing so we have surmised that those who do not contribute (are not productive) are not worth caring for. 

Self-Worth and the Day to Day

This sociatel mentality then trickles into our day to day habits. Think about it – if you don’t feel productive during the day does it change how you feel about yourself? I know for me, and everyone who answered my Instagram survey, productivity is a key player in self worth. 

Self-Worth in the Workplace

 In the workplace we begin equating our self worth with our outputs. We work ourselves like machines to generate the highest value for our employers, even if we are not being rewarded fairly for this work. We begin to equate how we feel about ourselves with how well we perform.We continuously strive for that next promotion, another certification, or having the best idea in a concept meeting because we want to feel worthy of our spot in the workplace.

To make matters even worse we take this to the next step by applying these pressures to our personal lives. We use our long “to do” lists  as a point of pride on social media. People are happy to drone on and on about how busy they are. Jam packed schedules are considered a sign of success and enviable. The “rise and grind” or “hustle” mentality has seeped into everything from our board meetings to our weekends at home. But is this what we were really designed to do? 

Personally, I think it’s ridiculous and needs to change. So I’m channeling my inner Mr. Rodgers by starting in the only place I know how – myself. I’m spending this next year (and probably the rest of my life) untangling the web. I refuse to be defined by my outputs, my annual income (though I would love for that to go up), and how productive I am. Don’t worry mom, I’m not quitting my job, or slacking on my projects, I’m just being conscious about how I find value in my life. I’m placing my self worth in being my authentic self for 2020 – ready for the journey with me? 

*I am not a therapist. Please work with a licensed physician when it comes to your health.

The Plight of Perfection

Step one of dropping my judgymcjudgerson nature is coming to terms with the dangers of perfection. Perfection is a monster. The distant idea that perfection could be attainable if I did everything correctly has prevented me from starting creative projects. I wouldn’t dream of voicing my opinion in a meeting unless I know the idea is the best one in the room. Perfection has even prevented me from posting an instagram photo if I don’t have the perfect caption. Perfection has given me an excuse to be less productive. No one has the energy to give 110% to everything; why do anything if I’m not going to have the energy to do it right? The concept of perfection is toxic.  

Starting this blog was my first step in combating my perfectionist nature. I knew that by trying to write one blog post a week last year not all of them would be up to my standards, but I was still determined to create something once a week. My at home yoga practice is another place I have let perfection go. There is no perfect in yoga; the only right way to do something is yoga is to practice in a safe way. I’m now making a conscious effort to take this mentality off the page/mat. I’m going to allow myself to not only not be perfect but to occasionally be wrong.

Not Perfect
Accepting my imperfections has made me angsty.

I’m hoping by granting myself the permission to be wrong I will be able to look at others with the same compassion I am trying to give myself. I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. I don’t always know the backstory of why people are acting the way they do and I cannot expect anyone, including myself, to be perfect. By not allowing the concept of perfection or doing things right onto others hopefully I will cut back on being so judgy.

Perfect

My mantras for this mission are “everyone is doing the best they can with what they have right now” and “progress not perfection”. I’m hoping that by keeping these mantras in mind I can give others the space to be human and keep in mind that I don’t need to be so hard on myself (or anyone else).

So hello to you my imperfect reader! Let me know if you have any advice (outside of listening to Simple Plan’s “Perfect” on repeat) on letting go of perfection.

F Free February Discoveries

Recently I read, studied and applied Sarah Knight’s literary trilogy The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, Get Your Shit Together and You Do You. I’m not one for self help books but these are my new bible(s). Sarah Knight is my hero/Jesus.

At the beginning of the month I decided to apply The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck to my everyday life. I followed Knight’s advice and I made lists of all the fucks I gave. My fuck lists filled multiple pages in my notebooks. MULTIPLE PAGES.  I then did as she told me and drew a line through any fuck I could afford to stop giving. It was LIBERATING.

Some of the things I stopped giving a fuck about were obsessing over informal emails,caring about what other people think, the concept of “getting ahead” in life, caring about what other people think, liking cool drinks, and caring about what other people think. Obviously I am still working on the not caring what other people think, but by not obsessing over it as much I was able to clear my mental clutter.  

Throwing away the mental clutter has allowed me to focus on things I enjoy like yoga, reading, online shopping and studying for an HR certification. Giving less fucks has allowed me to prioritize my life. I highly recommend giving less fucks to almost everyone.

While I am thoroughly enjoying my new lifestyle, not giving a fuck isn’t all fun and game. My new choices forced me to recognize that to not give a fuck is to ask people not to judge you, but if you ask people not to judge you it is best practice to not judge them. Because of this I am going to spend March reducing my judgey-ness and being nice.

How am I putting a stop on my naturally judgy mentality? No clue, my plan for now is to practice self awareness and give it my best shot. I am also going to put my best efforts into always being kind. Sounds kind of generic, I know, but I think that it will help me align my actions with my beliefs. Got any advice for me on this? Please leave me a comment if you do!