My morning routine

I make my son’s breakfast followed by my morning coffee. I take it decaf with rice milk and a small a mount of Stevia. I am a pescetarian, ovo-lacto vegetarian. So I will eat a fried egg for breakfast, on a slice of toasted wholemeal and whole grain bread spread with avocado, salsa and siracha sauce. I have a glass of water with berry flavoured Metamucil. After which I wash the dishes, sweep the floor in the kitchen, playroom, laundry and loungeroom. I then sit down and plan my day out on paper.

I use the Eisenhower Matrix to work out which tasks are important and/or urgent and transfer it onto a post it note. I use a refillable notebook I picked up from the art shop in Newtown. It’s basically an empty, black folder with a metal insert running down the centre spine that allows you to fill it with A4 size sheets of paper. It holds 50 sheets of size A4 paper, giving you a total of 100 sheets of B5 size paper to write on. If you count both sides then you have 200 sheets. I use paper that I would of otherwise thrown out, and write on the blank side of the sheet.

Foldable notebook

While I’m waiting on my son to go to school, I sit down with a book or my phone and read. I am currently reading Managing your Mind, Indistractable, Transform your Self Talk. On my phone I look at my feed and pick any interesting article that stands out to me. After my son goes to school I get started on my day.

I use the Pomodoro technique to structure my day. I run a 25:5 cycle. 25 minutes of focused work followed by 5 minutes walking on my treadmill. Sometimes, if I have a lot to do, I do a variation of this technique. I first learned it over 10 years a ago but never bothered to remember what it was called or to save a copy of the article. It goes like this:

The method with 4 tasks

Phase One. you pick the number of tasks you have to complete (let’s say 4) and set a timer for 5 munutes. You start on task number one and start the timer. After 5 minutes you stop doing that task, reset the timer and move onto task number two. You repeat for the remainder of your tasks (in our example that’s two more times). In our example we have worked for a total of 20 minutes (4 x 5 minutes = 20minutes).

Phase Two. Then, set your timer for 10 minutes and go back to your first task and start working. You keep resetting the timer back to 10 minutes and keep moving through the remainder 3 tasks in the same order as before. At the end you will have worked for 40 minutes (4 x 10 minutes = 40 minutes) + The 20 minutes from phase one = 60 minutes.

Phase Three. Set your timer for 15 minutes and again work through your four tasks in the same order but this time for the allocated 15 minutes. At the end you will have worked for 60 minutes (4 x 15 minutes = 60 minutes) + Phase One = 20 minutes + Phase Two = 40 minutes for a total of 120 minutes/2 hours.

Keep setting your timer increasing the increments by 5 minutes and working through your number of tasks in the same order. If you manage to complete any number of tasks on your list, just continue to work on your remainder tasks for the allocated time. You may eventually end up with only one task not completed on your list. You can now continue to work on that task exclusively for as long as you like, resting in the knowledge that all other tasks are now completed.

You can also pick excercise as one of your tasks on your list. Say you have three tasks to do, then excercise becomes task number four. You can also include chores/housework. In fact, this method works well to get through your cleaning/laundry routine. A bit of advice: write out on a piece of paper your list of tasks and the set timer time next to it so you can keep track of where you are up to in the system. It can get busy in the beginning, especially if you have more than four tasks.

I always like to do three to four tasks, with excercise/chores as one of them. So I set the first tasks as “excercise” (I like to work out before I study), the second and third as my “work” and the forth as my “chores”. I take a break for a snack at the 15 minute mark, for lunch when I get to the 30 minute mark and to tend to my son at the 60 minute mark. I stop excercising after the 30 minute mark and drop that task.

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