Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Elle Blog

A blog post from the writer of Elle Decorations blog. It's worth a read, as it is very true and a great life changer! One hour extra in the morning makes you feel like you've achieved plenty before the household wakes up.

May: Rise and shine

Posted: March 28th, 2013
By the time you read this, I will have completed my 90-day mission to change my life. And the result? The basement has been streamlined, with large boxes of assorted objets sold to a friend who runs a market stall in Brighton, and my email inbox is routinely processed to empty. Thus I’m better organised, and therefore happier and more energetic, as I’m no longer constantly overwhelmed by the information influx that seems to impact me on a daily basis. I’m even healthier and fitter! So how did I do it? Simple. I trained myself to get up earlier.
Let me explain. I used to rise with enough time to sort the household, get washed, dressed and walk out the door. Breakfast would be bypassed or eaten on the hoof, so rarely healthy or nutritious. Once ensconced on the train, I’d begin to attack emails, but plagued by intermittent reception, many would remain unanswered as I couldn’t download, check links or otherwise deal with them fully. Thus, on arrival at the office, my first task would be to re-scan the dreaded inbox, picking off the most urgent emails to action before the scheduled day overtook my best intentions. Lunch from wherever, and so it went on until the day’s end, when the morning routine was repeated in reverse. Day after day, this left no room to breathe, be creative, think outside the box or dream, all essential for one’s wellbeing, especially when you’re responsible for others. And yet this is what a huge proportion of us find ourselves doing, until the desire for a holiday becomes a desperate need and we have to take time off simply to catch up with ourselves.
But no more! By inching the alarm clock hands back just five minutes a week over three months, I’m painlessly waking an hour earlier than before. I’ve created time! And with those extra me-moments, I can consider how to start my day and decide my priorities. I spend precisely 20 land-locked minutes, ie. with consistent wi-fi, devoted to concentrated email clearance following a strict mantra of do, dump, delegate or file (file folders being ‘action’, ‘pending’ and ‘archive’). I make a proper breakfast and prepare lunch to go. Travel time is devoted to writing, reading or, shock horror, thinking! Weather permitting, it’s then a 15-minute Boris bike ride or a 25-minute walk to the office. On arrival, I immediately do my previously prioritised tasks before assessing the ‘action’ folder. The day can then fall as it will, because I’ve started by sustaining myself and so feel ready for anything.
The key, though, has been maintaining the schedule at the weekend, a real killer at first. But this is when either all those irritating outstanding household tasks get finished, such as sorting the basement, or I finally have time to flick through a magazine, paint my nails or luxuriate properly in an indulgent bubble bath. And all done before anyone else is awake, with the whole day still in play!
We are, each of us, our own best assets, so it pays dividends to be this kind of selfish. Think of it as a gift to yourself. Besides, happiness is contagious, so by sorting yourself, you affect everyone around you too. And yes, I’m still tweaking that alarm clock. After all, what could I achieve with another spare 30 minutes?

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