If you always do what you’ve always done…

…you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

We use this a little bit with the students at school. They’re old enough to understand what a growth mindset is, and learning to rethink, reposition and move forward is a really important skill to learn when you’re young. Being reflective is no less important when you are 20, 30, 40 either, and with that in mind I’ve been making some tweaks to my daily routines (I’d say life hacks, but really, it’s nothing groundbreaking) to get the results that I wanted. Most of them, for me, are about using the time that I have wisely.

I turned off (most of) the app badges in my phone

I don’t know about Android users, but iOS has this feature where you get little round red circles at the top of each app icon letting you know how many notifications you have missed. And I can’t STAND them being there. At work, I leave my phone in my office when I go to teach and I check it at break times to see if there is anything important to deal with. But the moment that I open to my main screen, I want to eliminate or “deal with” all those little red dots. Which leads me to opening apps, which leads me to inane scrolling and wasting time that could more productively be spent somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, I love scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, or checking out funny messages from friends on Snapchat. But on a busy day, it’s not something I need to be snapping me out of my focus. Urgent messages come through in calls and texts, and those are still badged on my phone. I’ve left banners on at this stage so I can see if I get a notification from a particular person that I want to check. But everything else can wait until I have the time to actually enjoy it. I wish I wasn’t so obsessive about eliminating those red dots, but seeing I’m not, this is working for me.

I batch-cook every Sunday

Sunday night is my batch-cooking night. I love a good sandwich but in the depths of winter, it really doesn’t seem to cut it. I’m colder this winter than ever before (arguably because I’m lighter this winter than I have been in the last four years) and I like a warm/hot lunch at work. It also gets me out of the sandwich rut with CJ, although I’m pretty sure that he would eat peanut butter sandwiches every day for the rest of his life. So I make sure that I make at least one batch of cooking each Sunday for each of us of something that freezes well – it might be my magic mince (ideal for nachos, wedges, burritos, by itself), corn fritters, quiches (him, not me, man I wish I liked egg), even pikelets. So much less faffing around on weeknights trying to sort what is for the following day’s lunches. Sunday seems to work well because it  feels like just a normal part of getting ready for the week ahead.

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I have a planner “date” each week

A few times this year I’ve found myself so caught up in the doing (whether at work or in my personal life) that I’ve not really had any time to think about whether I’m even doing it  in the best order or in the best way. It’s all well and good rushing around like a mad chook to get things done, but with a lot of balls currently up in the air it is worth checking that I’m actually juggling right. On Monday I have one hour at work that I’m not teaching. Historically it’s not a productive session for me to attempt any marking or resource creation because my head just doesn’t feel completely there yet, so it’s become my planner date with myself. I sit down with my work planner and my personal planner, my computer (just in case I have any urgent queries that come in, or I want to check any details) and a massive cup of coffee and I basically nut out life, work and everything that entails for that week and beyond.  It’s an hour well spent. This is my newest tweak but it’s amazing how much of a difference it has in the way it makes me feel. There’s something luxurious in telling myself that I have the time to do this, yet it makes me feel really productive and on top of things for the rest of the week.

Do you have any tweaks or hacks that you are currently loving? I’d love to hear about them!

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2 thoughts on “If you always do what you’ve always done…

  1. The planner date is brilliant!! I’m going to steal this idea from you as I’ll need to be quite organised over the next month or so … and I’ll get Sunday evenings back as no driving to Auckland!

    • Oh I’m glad that it’s helpful! I sometimes hesitate about posting this sort of thing because I’m no better than anyone else, but it really does work for me and puts me in such a good headspace for the week. And yay for no travel!

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