Happy first day of spring! With this changing weather from the cold winter to the warm weather of spring, it is time to take some time to reflect on to changes you want to apply to your life. Do you want to sleep more? Do you want to eat healthier? Cut back on sugar? Exercise more? I could go on and on and on.
But the trick is to get the changes that we make last, as that is the point. We want to figure out ways that can the changes that we work so hard to plan and implement actually last a bit longer than a couple of weeks. So, there are some things to look at that I have found that have really helped me with keeping the changes and working them into my daily routine.
Welcome to the modern age! It’s hard to separate ourselves from our phones and tech and this can often turn into hours of falling down the rabbit hole of YouTube and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. But they are some apps out there I have used, and I have found that they can keep me on task and organized. So here are my top three apps.
I am the type of person that once I start something and get on the roll I often neglect the rest of my to-do list which often means that I might have the cleanest kitchen but have completely ignored my homework or which is more often the case I have focused so much on my homework that my house looks like a small hurricane has happened and has managed to use all the spoons and plates in the house. That’s where this app has really helped me out. You start by making your to-do list, setting time limits for each task and them ordering them based on the sequence that you want to do them in. then when you ready to start the task press play and the time starts, and it will remind you when its time to move to the next task. You can add or subtract time if you feel like you need more or less time on a task as it progresses, or you can repeat the task by moving around your list.
For example, I here’s my morning routine. I have ordered the task based on what I want to do while still near my bed, brushing my teeth before making and having breakfast, and fitting in a meditation to start my morning with a grounded and clear state of mind.
If you’re like me your house is just covered with to-do lists, goals, habits, and daily activities that you want to fit into your day. And if you’re like me you find them months later and still have things on them that you know you never got to. It’s one of the limitations of having post-its all over your house. I have also struggled with separating habits to develop and things that just need to be done once or twice. Well, that was until I found Habitica. This take on a role-playing game not only makes my little inner nerd very happy it also makes my structure side very happy. They have separated habits (positive and negative), daily tasks and to-do list into three tabs. As you complete tasks or perform habits your experience points go up and if you complete enough you level up your character and gain rewards. But let’s say you have a negative habit that you want to stop, well that’s where you can add a negative habit which means that every time you perform that negative habit you lose health points. If you lose all your health points before earning enough experience points you fail that level and return to zero experience points and the second time you lose some of your rewards.
I have found that this app has motivated me to become way more productive, keep my apartment a bit cleaner and I don’t forget about tasks the I might have otherwise had forgotten all about.
This app is a bit ironic, in the sense that its an app on your phone that rewards you for staying off your phone. I found this really useful when I was struggling to focus on a task and all I want to do is to mindlessly scroll through social media. You may ask, how is this app supposed to keep you off your phone while using the app and really it is kind of simple. You set a timer and it starts to grow a virtual seed if you leave the app you stop your seed from growing. If you leave for too long you kill the sprout and you have to start again. The reward might not seem motivational, but you can add more incentives by setting a payment that is taken away from you if you fail to stay off your phone. The money that they raise goes towards planting trees worldwide. On the home page, you can see the virtual forest that can grow with regular use of the app. It also tracts your focused time (while using the app). You can still use background apps like Spotify or other music apps. So if you like to listen to music while focusing you can but once you set it and start the time you can run the risk of killing your sprout if you play with your music too much. So create a good playlist going into your study time so you don’t have to be playing with your music. That is the whole purpose behind this app to keep you focused and on task.
For me, my phone can be very distracting when I really don’t want to do something but know I need to do it. I’m a skilled procrastinator, and although some moderate procrastination can be good for pondering new and creative ideas and problem solving. Sometimes, you really just need to focus on the task at hand and get it done.
The biggest excuse for not making the changes like cooking healthy meals, meditating and exercising regularly is often because we don’t think or feel like we have the time to fit them into our lives. Yet we often manage to binge watch entire seasons of Netflix shows without thinking about it. I am talking from experience. It’s one of the reasons I avoid watching series during my semester at university. But I have been recently tracking my time and I mean every half hour. Yes, I have missed a couple of days, but it has been really helpful in keeping me focused on my tasks and aware of how much time I have left in the day.
I do mine by hand, but I welcome you to find a system that works for you. I start with a notebook where I write the date on the top of the page and while eating breakfast or the night before I list out everything that I want to accomplish that day, it’s my to-do list. Then underneath my to-do list, I list out my every half hour from about 6 am until 1 am the following night. I picked this time range as it often aims to wake up around 7 am and as a true night owl I often don’t get to bed until 12-1am. Then periodically throughout the day, I fill in the activities that did. At the end of the week, you can look back and see where you might be able to cut back on things or common things that you pushed off or skipped. It’s a physical record of your time and you can study it and see where you spend the most time and determine if it is something that is really important to you. The Netflix series can wait until after you go for a run.
Its spring time so let’s welcome the improving weather and get clear on our time. That way we can get the most out of our days. What is something that you want to do if you could get a couple more hours in the day? Comment below and make it happen!