My kids start school this Monday, the 28th. I’m always excited to get back to working more instead of stealing time where I can. We always seem to be ready for the new school year like we are ready for summer at the end of the school year.
Each year I have goals for the year. Some are repeats (kids help more) and others are brand new. They all focus on the process instead of the outcome. And there seems to be a lot of new ones this year.
So here’s what I’m going to be focusing on this school year.
1. Become a Habit Freak
My last three podcast episodes focused on healthy behaviors — how to start them and keep them going. Small habits have been a recurring theme (see Tiny Habits with BJ Fogg). With more structure from school schedules, I’ll be adding new habits for both me and my kids.
Me: my morning ritual on days I don’t exercise will be:
Turn on computer
Turn on coffee
Meditate (while coffee going)
Sit at my desk and look at to-do
Write/work until kids get up
I will start with after school habits with my kids such as cleaning out their backpack, putting their lunch away, and getting settled for a snack. In addition to homework, they will have chores they need to do before any screen time or play with neighbors. There will be other habits related to number 4 below. We will ease into this in small steps.
2. Streamline My Work Flow
My second behavior-related podcast was focused on procrastination with Dr. Pychyl. He made me realize that I need to pinpoint all the things I want to accomplish and prioritize them. In the podcast, he mentions David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. I have been following Allen’s recommendations for getting all the stuff you want to do off your mind, and in some kind of system (doesn’t matter if it’s digital or paper). This way, your mind is clear to do creative work instead of being crowded with to-do’s popping in your head. He has a great methodology (called GTD Methodology) for processing all (I mean ALL) your to-do’s in a way that feels simple and intuitive.
I will help Big A do something similar now that she’s in 5th grade. When she has projects due in the future it really stresses her out. Having it all down in one place and being able to review it should help a lot.
3. Motivate with Value Statements
My third episode in the series with Dr. Segar is about sustainable behavior change. Incorporating small habits is one thing but other more complex behaviors require more motivation. Segar talks about changing your relationship with the behavior you are trying to establish. The goal is to turn it from a negative to a positive.
One example is my goal to surf the web/check email less during work so I’m more focused and productive. I could say to myself “you really shouldn’t check Facebook/email all the time” but that is negative right? So instead I’m going to have a sticky on my computer to remind me why I’m doing this in the first place “Produce quality work during work hours and relax later.”
I also plan to structure technology/email and walk for breaks. And checking email at the beginning and the end of the day, not throughout. And when I check it, I want to answer emails instead of letting them sit until later. This will allow me to relax later and feel good about my productive day. That’s when I can surf the web, catch up on news and check Facebook. And most of all spend time with family without distractions or trying to get what I didn’t get done earlier.
4. Get Kids Helping
My goal is always to get my kids to do more, whether it’s packing snacks or lunches or helping with dinner. Once the school routine is settled we will start with snacks. And I think it makes more sense to have Big A pack the night before. That’s because she sleeps in now and I hate to wake her. Little D is still up early!
We are also working on some new lunch ideas. I found a book at the library named Kids Cook 1-2-3 and all the meals have three ingredients. We are focusing on lunches first and then will move to other meals and snacks. It’s also good for adults (I love simplicity in the kitchen!)
5. Bring Food Day Back
Awhile back I planned a food day where I prepped and planned for the week. This kind of fell to the way side with starting a new school last year and lots of volunteering. I often prep on Sundays but I feel I need a day to really focus on food. If I don’t, I do more work every day versus one more intense cooking day.
Instead of picking the same day each week, I’ll look at the calendar and choose one on a weekly basis. If we don’t have many plans for the weekend, I’ll do it Sunday. If the weekend is busy, I’ll pick a day during the week. And it doesn’t need to be the whole day. I will have my list and try to get it all done as quickly as possible. It’s a great time to listen to podcasts or audio books. I think my value statement will be “have good tasting, quality food on hand to make the week run smoothly”
Well, that’s it. I’m sure it will all change as the reality of school and volunteering come into play. I’ll be sure to update you in my rotation posts.
What are your goals for the school year?
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