Be Kind to Yourself

If you are anything like me doing something for yourself is often on the To Do lists but it is more often than not put on the back burner. Personally, I like to make excuses such as; ‘this is more important right now’ or ‘I’ll get to it later’. However, everything seems to be more important and later always seems to find a way of slipping further and further away. So, how do you remedy this vicious cycle? Simply, enjoy what you do as much as possible.

— Make a List

Now, this is obviously much easier said than done but it is not as impossible a task as it may seem. A good first step is to take stock of your day to day tasks. Try writing out a list of what you have planned for the following day. Then make a mark next to what you like to do, what you don’t like to do, and what you don’t have any feelings for either way. Once you have done this, try to re-arrange your schedule so that you alternate between these activities (for example: 8:00am — lame task, 9:00am — awesome task, 10:00am — regular task, repeat). I have always been a fan of getting the worst out of the way first but I have found that by collecting all of my dislikes into a single time frame I dampen my morale severely. I may get all the stuff I least want to do over with but I don’t necessarily do every task to the best of my ability and I tend to have a rather dull outlook on the rest of my day even though I no longer have anything to dread. I believe that this is due to a state of mental inertia where I get so caught in one state of mind that I find it hard to get out of despite the change in task. So, by dividing up the less desirable activities I have found that I am able to snap out of my dull mood easier, get my tasks done well, and time does not seem to drag as much. Give it a shot if you don’t believe me!

— ‘Smarten’ the Lame Tasks

Now that you have done your best to rearrange your schedule into a more rewarding pattern try to figure out how you can simplify, streamline, and generally improve the tasks that you dislike. A phrase that was drilled into me by my teachers in massage school was “work smarter not harder” and I have found that this applies to all aspects of life. For example, if you need to move a heavy object try to think of ways that you can make the move easier rather than just picking it up and getting it over with. If you schedule a time to have a friend help you or put something down beneath it to lower friction or push the object rather than lifting it; the task may take more time but in the end you expend less energy and you avoid hurting yourself as you may have by just muscling through it. Try your best to apply this way of thinking to the less desirable activities in your day. Hate doing laundry, try adding music or an audio book to your routine. Have trouble taking notes, try using colorful pens, cute paper or recording audio. Not a fan of cooking, become more acquainted with raw foods, slow cookers, and one-pot meals. If you are creative and/or utilize the internet almost every task has a host of different possibilities for improvement.

Finally, try and improve every task in a similar fashion. Even the tasks you like can be smartened up. Then, give your new schedule a try. You will most likely find yourself at some point during the day slipping back into your old routine. If this happens just give yourself a gentle (no need to add more stress) reminder and try to adjust your task accordingly. The change over will take a bit of time, especially in planning, but if it is gradual and you allow for continuous improvement it will be very gratifying. Show yourself some kindness even if you can’t make time for yourself, tailor every task so that it better fits you.