• Tara

Everything in its right place

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Feeling unmotivated to workout at home? Having a difficult time focusing on work? Inconsistent routines causing the days to feel a bit more chaotic? Sleep pattern disrupted? I know I've been struggling with these, but I have a solution that's been helping and it's very easy to implement.

Dedicate a space to a specific activity, and only do that activity in that particular space.

For example, I was feeling like my home workouts were half assed until I found an ideal space to start doing them. When I tried to workout in the living room, the boys would take my equipment, or I'd be tempted to dick around. This is because the living room is where we hangout and play games. It's where we watch tv and relax. It's not a location my brain associates with physical activity, instead, my brain associates it with sitting or laying down. So, I went outside in the backyard. But, again, I couldn't quite find the ideal spot. Then I found a space that I don't associate with anything. Now, as I keep practicing the same habit over and over, eventually the neural pathway will be formed and I will autopilot myself to that space when it's time to workout.

My habit used to be dropping Caleb off at school, and heading straight to the gym with Camryn. After dropping him off at kids club, I would put my head phones on. I did the same habit over and over for months. I wouldn't put my headphones on until it was time to workout. Eventually, I would put my headphones on and I would automatically be ready to workout. Instead of hoping my motivation would find me, I created a structure to attract it.

Creating this same type of structure is really important in the bedroom. One of the things I learned to really respect is how stimuli can affect quality sleep. Dedicating your bed as a place for sleep and pleasure means you train yourself to only attach those habits with that location. If you're working in your bed, watching tv in bed, or eating in bed, all of those habits will affect your sleep. Your brain will become confused, and look for stimuli in bed instead of relaxation. A great way to avoid getting in these bad habits is to never bring your electronics into the bedroom. Charge your phone in another room. Keep your computer out of your bedroom. If you have a tv in your room, dedicate a specific time you're allowed to watch tv in bed (maybe Friday nights only?). I think of it as respecting the space for its intended use. You don't sleep at the office, don't work in your bed. You don't need to see anymore social media feeds to help you dream. There is nothing so riveting on tv that it's worth compromising the quality of your sleep.

I set up my computer at the dining table, even though I have office space in Ryan's office. Since I started out sitting at the dining table months before I ever got a desk, it just feels like my space to work. We don't eat at the dining table unless we have company, so it was an underutilized space for us anyways. The only problem I have is I tend to feel more snacky sitting at the table doing work. I want to eat while I work, and since I'm so close to the kitchen, it's a slippery slope. Setting up my stuff at a chair I never eat in, helps me associate the space with a specific function, working. This is also why creating your home office is so important, you have to pick a space, and only do that activity in that space. Don't scroll social media in that space. Don't dick around on the internet in that space. Work there. If you want to scroll, go to the bathroom, since that's likely what you associate with that space anyways. Dedicate your work space to being a space of productivity. It's ok if you don't have a ton of space, just pick a space, even if it's in the corner of the room. It just needs to be specifically associated with the activity you plan to do there.

Inconsistent routines are the nemesis of a good day for me. Starting my morning with the same habit of making the beds, brushing teeth, changing clothes, and telling myself "Today is going to be a great day!" is the goal for me. On the days when I switch things up and decide I'll change after I have coffee, or that I'll brush my teeth after coffee when I come back to change, it just never plays out well. This is why I created the routine in the first place. I noticed a pattern of what wasn't working and kept trying to correct it. Eventually I found that if we were ready to start the day before we left the bedroom, then being downstairs became a place of energy, instead of being a place I associated with still waking up.

Also, don't underestimate the power of switching your morning self talk from "I'm tired" to "I'm excited for today" or "I'm grateful to be alive." For years I struggled with chronic fatigue. It was awful. Although, I genuinely felt tired, it was my own perpetual self talk reminding myself how tired I felt that kept me there. One day Ryan told me I should stop saying "I'm tired." I couldn't even pick something else to replace it, because I had been programming myself for so long. So, I just simply said I wasn't going to say it. If I felt like saying, "I'm tired," I had to squash it immediately and say something else. I started saying, "I'm waking up." Now, even if I'm tired, I refused to give it power and it doesn't nearly affect me as bad.

Become an observer of your life. See what's working for you and what isn't. Be willing to move around the puzzle pieces of your life to make them work for you. Train yourself by sticking to your habits and routines.

Stay well.

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