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Take an Inventory of Your Routines and Habits

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

This is part 3 in my series, “Focus on Where You Want to Go.”

Part 1: What Do I Want to Do With The Rest of My Life?
Part 2: How to Replace Negative Self-Talk With Affirmations

During this series, you have been discovering more about yourself so you can make the changes you want and need. You can expand your thoughts about what you want to do with your life by taking an in-depth inventory.

Here we go:

For one week, write down the time of day and what you do during that time. Include times when you do frivolous things, such as playing games on your phone.

At the end of the week, do a review.

  1. What were your routines and habits? Are there habits that need replacing?
  2. How and when did you use your time most productively?
  3. What did you accomplish?
  4. What did you avoid doing?
  5. What did you do that you wish you hadn’t?

Is your to-do list overflowing?

“To do” things gradually accumulate and before we realize it, we are struggling to fit everything in.

Perhaps you agreed to teach a Sunday School class or volunteered at your child’s school, or couldn’t refuse to take on the responsibility for organizing this year’s office party. While these and many other things are important, reality demands that these be checked against an otherwise full calendar.

What can be eliminated from your calendar?

How can you replace unproductive habits?

  • Does it involve better time management, delegation, or cooperation from others?
  • Does it include designated recreation or downtime?

If you remain overloaded, something will suffer – you, your family, and/or your health.

Go back over the inventory you made and examine all the things you routinely do each week. Include work, family time, obligations, and extracurricular activities.

⭐ Put a star beside all those things that are necessary:  work, meals, chores, exercise, etc.

❓ Put a question mark beside all those things that may be seasonal or jobs that involve short periods of time. How important are these to you and your family? Which ones can be eliminated?

Sometimes we need to take a sharp scalpel approach to eliminate things that have value but are not absolutely necessary.

What’s left on your list?

Strikethrough all the things you can eliminate. Remember to inform others if your decision involves them.

It is okay to say “no,” not only when originally asked but later, when you continue doing something that isn’t right for you. Your responsibility is to you and your loved ones.

If any of the items on your list are work-related, consider sitting down with your employer or co-workers and discussing ways to modify or lighten your load. If that isn’t an option, reflect on ways you can become more efficient in your work habits.

Review your list one last time.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make my life more productive?

  • Can I organize my time better?
  • Have I put daily routines in place that eliminate last-minute decisions and stress?
  • What can I delegate to others?
  • What chores can be shared?
  • Have I scheduled specific downtimes that I honor as highly as my work schedule?

When we are stressed and overworked, we are no good to anyone – even ourselves. Taking charge of our lives begins by putting the brakes on a life of constant upheaval and chaos and thoughtfully determining what we want and need.

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