I just arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado last night with my family for a weekend of skiing! It hadn’t been snowing in Chicago much lately, so I’m looking forward to the snow on the slopes today. Although this weekend isn’t going to be completely relaxing because it’s an active and quick trip, and I have a to-do list that has built up while my husband was away all week for work because I had to shift focus to parenting duties, I am super excited about this mini-vacation. Anyway, as you know, for the last month I’ve been focused on talking about routines and time management, as I worked hard on solidifying my own routine. I’m feeling really good about where I’m at now (even when my daily routine gets disrupted, as it has this week!), but today, I wanted to share a couple tools to consider in case this idea of a routine is still not working for you, and/or if you want to take your productivity to the next level.

If you’re still trying to figure out how to get started on a routine, I’ve used a time log with my clients who need assistance in getting more motivated to do work, or trying to figure out ways to be more efficient with their already busy schedules. What I have them do is for at least one week, document by the hour (or half-hour) what they do during their day, so that they can gain awareness on their current routines, and make better decisions on how to make adjustments. Observation and reflection are the key factors in this process, but it allows them to use their own data points to figure out a routine that works best for them. So, I encourage you to try logging your daily tasks for a week! See what comes up, and use that to identify how you might want to change, instead of trying to read all of the books that tell you how to be more productive!

To take it one step further and start taking more control of your own calendar, I highly recommend a paper journal or planner to outline your days. I am always on the search for great journals/planners (I am lately feeling a calling to create my own one day!), but the one I’m using lately is the SELF journal. I like it because it helps me outline and plan each day on the half hour, and simultaneously incorporates gratitude elements of the Five Minute Journal that I used to use. Now, journals and planners require some discipline, so you have to be committed to using one. Also while I tend to be a tech junky and like to use apps and save trees, I still suggest paper journals because as studies show, when you write things down, you have more significant success rates in following through on tasks. (Trust me, I had a lot of resistance to using paper, but I decided to finally give it a shot and when I saw how much more I got done, it was a no brainer.)

Hope that’s helpful, but if you have any other questions or need additional support, feel free to comment below!

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