Finding Your Routines

Stop checking that phone!

According to various surveys across the Internet, between 40 and 65% of smart phone users pick up and look at their phone within a couple of minutes of waking up. That rises if you’re a millennial or younger.

Jay Shetty (Think like a Monk) likens this to waking up and inviting a room full of people into your bedroom all talking at you. How do you like the sound of that?  

A quick search of Google for ‘checking your phone first thing in the morning’ will tell you just how bad this practice is. Depression, Anxiety, Overwhelm all being cited as knock on effects of operating this way first thing in the morning. Jay talks about making your morning as easy as possible. Eliminate difficult decisions and give your body and mind time to wake up.

This year I decided that I wouldn’t look at my phone until I’d finished a significant piece of work (unless I had to use it for calls). Don’t get me wrong, its hard but I feel a lot better for it. I’ve turned off all notifications and made the call that if someone needs me badly enough, they’ll phone me. What can’t wait a couple of hours is not that important. I want to do things on my terms, not be a slave to other people.

This is just one of the routines I’ve got into since Lockdown 1 last year. I thought I’d share my others in case any of them can help you.

(Caveat - before going further, I am NOT perfect. I don’t achieve these every single day. Other things can and do get in the way. However, after a year of implementing most of them I am very happy with how I get on the majority of the time.)

My Morning

First thing I do in the morning when waking is to go straight downstairs and put out all my breakfast things. I pour the porridge, get the fruit I want out, get my smoothie ingredients ready and put my coffee into a cafetiere. Finally, I set the kettle to boil.

I then go straight into exercise. At the moment I’m just doing 5-10 mins which isn’t a lot but I do this everyday and feel good for it. I jump on my torture mat for a few mins to wake me up and then I’m off for a shower before coming down to eat breakfast (ps doing things in this order usually means the water from the kettle is the perfect temperature for coffee).

After breakfast and before the day starts I’ve taken to going for a brisk walk. Getting air into the lungs wakes you up and gets you ready for the day ahead. Even if its only 10-20 mins round the block, it starts my day off well.

I then work hard on trying to achieve something important from my goals list or important work tasks before I look at email/start to check in on messages. Why? Because this derails you. Having completed five days of important tasks, even if I didn’t achieve anything else that week, I’d still feel good!  

Daytime

I take lunch at the same time each day when I can. I’m working hard on eating a hot meal rather than sandwiches or salads. I find this gives me more energy for the working stint ahead. I try hard to let my food go down and take a break from my phone, usually leaving it upstairs.

I’ll try and walk the dog before it gets dark so at this time of year its between 2-5pm. I take my headphones (easily the best gadget I’ve ever bought) and I make a note of people I need to speak to for work. I can make 10-20 calls on a walk and get a lot of things moving. I’m not wasting that time and I’m benefiting from the exercise. Two birds….

Evening

With a four and a five-year-old, bedtime takes over between about 6:30 and 8pm. We read stories every night as we feel its super important for their development.

I stop reading email at 7pm and don’t check it beyond. I’ll check my calendar to know what I’m doing the next day but that’s it.

Lizz and I eat dinner together each night and usually catchup on the days affairs or watch some sort of crime-based documentary (our favourite). We’ve just finished The Serpent - Epic! After dinner we’ll retire to the living room and watch a bit more TV before bed.

I like to get to bed early so I usually go up around 9:30/10pm. I always read at least a few pages of a book (currently Game of Thrones) and once I’m ready to go to sleep I fall asleep to an audio book. I usually pick lighthearted choices (autobiographies are good). We have a lavender diffuser and I have pillow sprays of the same scent. I’m soundo within 15 mins.

And then it all starts again.

I’ve found that introducing these routines is great for my mental health and unbelievable for my work productivity. I joked the other day that I reckon I’m doing 75% more work now we’re not in an office! Perhaps it’s not that high, but what I can achieve at the moment is quite unbelievable.

I really look forward to parts of the day and that gets me through the tougher moments. The one area I need to find space for this year is mindfulness and breath work. I’m not totally sure where to fit this in but I’ll find somewhere as its important to me.  

I hope that was useful? Do you have a routine(s)? Any tips you can share with others? Things that help your physical and mental wellbeing? We’d love to hear them.

*Disclosure - some of the links in this post will be affiliate links. I NEVER choose to link to these products because of the comissions they pay, only ever because I want to share the benefits I’ve had with them, with you.