The Secret to Fabulous Days

R outines may sound old fashioned. Routines may sound stiff and inflexible. They are neither. Routines are simply about managing your energy effectively so that you can channel it towards your real desires and purpose. Routines fuel your day and nourish your spirit.

I ’ve discovered the secret to having a fabulous and productive day.  It involves salad, coffee, dishes, sheets and meditation.

Now, before you grab a pen and begin to jot down my list so you can theorize about how these seemingly small details can make the difference between a fabulous and productive day instead of a crappy and chaotic day, let me explain:  I choose to make my day fabulous by giving myself the gift of extraordinary routines, because I have learned that every action I take creates my life.

Routines may sound old fashioned.  Routines may sound stiff and inflexible.  They are neither.  Routines are simply about managing your energy effectively so that you can channel it towards your real desires and purpose.  Routines fuel your day and nourish your spirit.

Every night before I go to bed, in addition to my self-care routine of face washing and teeth brushing, I make the bulk of JB’s lunch (the salad) and set-up the coffee pot (the coffee).  These two small nightly tasks make my mornings run 100% smoother.  When I get up, coffee starts perking at the click of a button, and making JB a nutritious and delicious lunch to take to work involves mere moments of gathering pre-staged Tupperware containers.

This may seem miniscule to some of you, and on the surface it is.  Underneath the surface, though, you will see that I am setting up my morning for success with five minutes of preparation.  When you spend a few moments of your evening staging and streamlining, you are allowing yourself to start the day with slow, deliberate actions instead of a flurry of rushing around.  I’m able to stay calm and focus on my intention for the day instead of madly chopping vegetables at 6 AM.

When JB heads out the door to go to work, I send him off with feelings of love and appreciation for our relationship.  I sip my first cup of coffee with a peaceful heart.

I’ve also discovered two key activities to a day of productive writing and coaching:  unloading the dishwasher (the dishes) and making the bed (the sheets).  Seriously.  If I fail to do either of these activities before I begin my work, every time I leave my office, I feel unsettled.

Working from home can be a challenge to anyone, but if you leave areas of the house in a state of undoneness and chaos, it will affect the way you feel.  Unloading the dishwasher means that my kitchen is a space of support for me.  After I finish my cup of coffee, I can put the cup in my dishwasher, instead of the sink.  Breakfast and lunch dishes have a place to go as well.  The five minutes it takes to unload the dishwasher sets up an environment of order. 

Providing yourself with an environment of order is critical to productivity.  By having a quick and handy place for items to go, you are able to do easy tasks, like dishes, without having to strategize or think.  This leaves your energy for creating and strategizing where it belongs: on your work!

By making my bed before I begin to work, I am blessed with the gift of completion.  When I pass the bedroom, I am greeted with a space that is neat and tidy.  I don’t suddenly find myself feeling guilty for the things I should be doing (like cleaning house) and reducing distractions to work.  Don’t underestimate the power of making your bed.  It’s a way of closing out the last day and reminding you that you have a fresh slate in front of you.  Adding small rituals of opening and closure to your day gives tremendous value to your mind and soul.

When I sit down to my desk each morning, I close my eyes and meditate for two to five minutes.  This morning mediation isn’t about a particular pose or a way of breathing; it’s the act of stilling my mind and checking in with my heart.   Mediation certainly deserves a more in-depth discussion, but let me ask this:  If you don’t check in with your heart, how do you determine your intention for the day?  How do you know what activities in your work day will allow you to end your work day with a feeling of productivity?

Living life in the zone is a choice you make.  You get to define the zone for yourself by choosing how you want to feel and by following your desires.  Giving yourself the gift of routines allows you to operate on auto-pilot and still get outstanding results.  It allows you to complete necessary tasks with a minimum of energy expenditure – leaving the important parts of your life to get the lion’s share of your precious attention and energy.

What about you?  What preparations can you make to allow a slow and deliberate start to your day?  Where you can set up an environment of order?  What small acts of completion can you take to open and close your day?

(Art is:  “Untitled” by Gil Elgren)

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

15 Responses to “The Secret to Fabulous Days” Subscribe

  1. Becca September 15, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I always thought I was a wee bit OCD about my morning routine which includes all th e things you’ve mentioned. Thank you for proving that I’m smarter than I thought about getting my day off to the right start!

    This is a great post!

    • Debra September 30, 2011 at 9:54 am #

      I used to think I was a touch OCD as well, Becca. But I just found that being proactive in my environment led to a heck of alot more productivity – and less writer’s block!

  2. Susan September 15, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Yes! The lunch prep is key for me. Every Sunday I take the kids out to the grocery store. They have a list…must have protein, veggie, fruit, grain, (and snack of some kind is the incentive!)

    Each boy shops…I meet them at the check-out. They know that when they get home, they prepare their lunches for the week and place them in the fridge.

    When we wake up…lunches are grabbed from the fridge and placed into lunch boxes!

    Healthy, made with love….and a snack;)
    Thanks for asking!
    Susan

    • Debra September 30, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Doing these small gestures actually helps prep them to be productive – and thoughtful – as they grow up, too!

  3. Kirsten Kreiling September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Someone else suggested the making the bed routine to me and I thought ya right – but it really DOES make a big difference. It sets the tone from the get go that my day will be one of completing tasks, no matter how small. Another wonderful blog Deb!

  4. Robinsunne September 16, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    This all sounds so simple. I aspire to this simplicity.

    • Debra September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      Simplicity is the beauty of extraordinary routines. Its when we try to make things complex that it doesn’t work long term.

  5. Natalie September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Lovely, Debra. I find that routines like these help to give me my bearings…they set up a flow. Sometimes in the morning I get up, make the bed (Check!), go downstairs, then stand in the kitchen and think ‘Where was I?’. And then after a few seconds I remember: ah yes, empty the dish rack. And all the other things flow from there. I can make my lunch and put my dishes in the dishrack without getting water on the dry dishes from last night. Then I go upstairs to my lovely little soul-room, I put on whatever music I feel like, and I dance one, two, three songs. Then I do some gentle yoga, followed by centering and prayer for the day. There. Now my bedroom and kitchen are clear, my body is warmed up, and so is my soul!

    • Debra September 30, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks, Natalie. Isn’t it funny how the very simple things we do make life so much more soulful?

  6. Angela October 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Thanks so much for the image! I love you post and totally agree about morning routines. My fabulous days start with a little meditation, scripture study, intense 1 hour exercise, and a delightful shower. Amen!

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