When I was first diagnosed and starting treatment, my life life felt out of control. Everything was wrapped up around cancer and it seemed like my normal sense of organization was falling through the cracks. I was forgetting to sign homework logs, putting things on the calendar, getting the kids to their activities on time. Of course all of this was to be expected, but for me I just wasn’t used to it. I pride myself on organization, always being on time, having dinner made five nights a week. No matter what I did I just couldn’t seem to get it together. And really I had to put my life in perspective. My health was the main concern, and everything else just seems so small. So I had to improve upon things. I thought I would share eight things that have helped improve my day to day.
1. 15 Minutes– Because treatment days knock me out for awhile, by the time I get my energy back it just seems like I have so much to catch up on. I had a hard time focusing on what needed to be done first, and with the kids being kids, the constant interruptions just seemed to make me give up on tasks so easily. So I started setting a timer for 15 minutes. Instead of making a to-do list and trying to get everything checked off by the end of the day, I started focusing my energy differently. I would pick a task and do that one and only task for 15 minutes. You would be amazed at what you can get done if you work on something non-stop for 15 minutes. When the 15 minutes was up and I had time to spare, I could easily finish the task (like putting away laundry), but if my attention needed to be elsewhere then when the 15 minutes was up I would just stop and focus on what was right in from of me.
2.Turn off push notifications– Who needs one more distraction from their phone? Just one more noise for it to make to grab our attention? I turned off all push notifications on my phone and I realized I am so much less tempted to pick it up until I am ready to. This also ties in with the 15 minutes method. We all enjoy just plopping down on the couch and scrolling through Instagram, but have you ever looked at just how much time you spend doing that? It is shameful! Or at least it was for me. I turned off those push notifications as well and I will only give myself 15 minutes to jump on, make a post, respond to comments, post a story, and scroll. Once the timer goes off I put my phone back down. This has also helped with other apps, mainly shopping ones!
3. Use a planner– I am not a digital calendar person, wish I could get with the times, but I need a physical paper calendar in front of me! So much so that I have multiple in my house. We have a large main calendar in the kitchen, color coded with everything that everyone needs to be caught up on. This is extremely helpful when I am incapacitated and Chris needs to wrangle the kittens. But I also have a planner for myself for blogging, events, and whatever else. I feel so much better being able to look at one place, rather than once agin checking my phone.
4. Being mindful of what I eat– If you have been following for some time now, then you know we embarked on a clean eating journey about three years ago. It has completely change the way we think about food, and how we feel after eating. Now, because of chemo and just cancer in general, I give myself a hell of a lot of leniency in the eating department. I still try and cook clean meals for my family, but damn it if I am craving a burger and fries, I am eating it! Yes, I will feel like a lazy piece of shit after but I have learned there is no match for chemo cravings. In general though we try and stick to whole30 meals and snacks during the week and then a cheat meal on the weekend. Sundays are usually reserved for left overs so we can start the week fresh.
5. Outside routine– Basically everyone is happy if we can get outside everyday. I usually try and walk the dogs, sometimes only one at a time depending on how daring I feel with the kids as well. The girls especially thrive off getting outside, even if it is just for 30 minutes. I need it too. The boys get most of their energy out at school, but I always feel so bad for the girls that they are home with a sick mama. So simple things like chalk on the driveway, going for a walk to our neighborhood playground, or simply collecting sticks in the front yard really seems to help them. It’s a no brainer, but with all the excuses we could make about how much we have to get done inside the house, what is 30 minutes? No time at all really.
6. Scheduling shoot days– Obviously if you do not blog, this will help you in no way. I used to just shoot my outfits or content that I wanted to post about whenever I felt like. It worked for me because I have time during the day to do it. But getting more organized and wanting to be more present with my kids, I now only shoot one day a week. Chris takes all my outfit photos so this really benefited him as well. We used to just stop and shoot while we were out, and depending on how the kids were feeling, sometimes we wouldn’t. Now, we all know it is coming so we just load up, knock it out, and then go do something fun. It just makes everything easier. I love sharing my personal style, even if it is for no one but myself, haha!
7. Put my phone down and walk away– Instead of charging my phone near my bed at night, or keeping it near me during the day, I have started the habit of leaving it on the kitchen counter. I will charge it there, set it there first thing in the morning and then leave it. Chris and I have also been leaving our phones in the car when we are out with the kids. Chris has his Apple Watch so if we needed to call or receive a text we can. At first it was like we were constantly looking for our phones, but for what? Everything we really needed was right in front of us. At night we read, or in my case, the second my head hits the pillow I am out. I know we all feel the need to be connected at all times, as if we will miss something if we don’t get a picture of it to share and prove to the world that we actually did something that day, but all we are really missing is the moment itself. I am still very much a work in progress when it comes to this!
8. Listen to my needs, and act accordingly– This ties into my post from last week. Now more than ever I have to listen to my body. Not overdue it, and be mindful of what my body is trying to tell me. Most days it is trying to say drink more water! But if I am tired, a movie day with the girls doesn’t make me any less productive. If I am feeling anxious, going to the store probably isn’t my best bet. And on days when I just need a break and need to get out of the house, telling Chris that I am dipping out does not mean I am any less of a mom or that I don’t want to spend time with my family, it simply means I need a break.
These are just simple changes that seem to have made a big impact on myself, and my family. I would love to hear how you streamline your day to day, or make sure that you are getting the most out of what is in front of you!