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Just like the title reads, my life has changed for the better + has improved immensely ever since I sat down and decided to make a schedule. Why? Because with knowing who I am and the kind of person that I am, I knew I would crash + burn (again) if I didn’t sit down and map out my day.
“If you talk about it, it’s a dream. If you envision it, it’s possible. If you schedule it, it’s real.”
Up until college, my schedule was always set for me. I would wake up at around 6/6:30 and arrive at school by 7:30/8. And while I forgot the actual times that I used to have to wake up for school, I remember that I never had any issues, seeing as my body had become programmed to wake up at ____am and go to school and get home at _____pm and do this and that. The cycle repeated Monday through Friday and the weekends always consisted of me hanging with friends and family. So, simply put — scheduling was never any issues, much less a concern of mine.
At college, I quickly came to learn that I could make any schedule I wanted and that I could be as free as I wanted to be. Didn’t wanna have a class onFriday? No problem. Wanted to stay out late on the weekends with friends? You bet, just make sure to not have classes on Monday and if you do, make sure they’re later on in the day! Didn’t want to wake up early any day of the week? Cool, just make your schedule so that the earliest you get up is 11 am. THAT was how my freshman year went. The once structured life I was used to (and actually liked) having was officially out the window and had been replaced with a schedule fit for someone who quite frankly wanted to put in minimal effort.
I began losing sight of who I was and who I wanted to be. I was losing not only my identity, but also my energy + motivation.
I soon became depressed. And while there are numerous reasons as to why I can truthfully admit that being given the responsibility of making my own schedule and navigating life on my own completely caught me off guard. I imagined college as being the perfect opportunity to get away from my parents and finally live a life that I had wanted t live for years. And for a lot of people, that works out perfectly fine for them. But for me, it didn’t. My demise was slow at first, but it soon came to be an everyday thing. Next thing I know is that I was completely isolated —
- no roommate
- only 1 friend
- incomplete (+ sometimes untouched) homework assignments
- the desire (+ need) to be left alone
- barely eating
- sleeping ALL day
- staying in my dorm room and having little motivation to leave
- if I ate, which was rare, I ate unhealthily
- my once adorable dorm room quickly looked like a wreck
- I barely took care of myself
I had gotten so comfortable with being at rock bottom that I honestly did not care what was happening to me, much less what was going on around me
And while all of that was occurring, I was lying to my parents and telling them that I was doing well, having a great time, and loving the college that I was at. All of those things were false, considering I absolutely hated where I was in life, physically and emotionally and mentally. I was so eager to go off to college and be alone that I took no time to prepare myself for the maturity needed to be a mentally healthy + successful student at a huge university hours away from all of what I knew.
Luckily I ended up getting the help I needed and was able to temporarily hit the reset buttoj and finish off the year. But I knew that I would not (+ could not) retirn back to that place. It just was not for me.
I wish I could say that summer vacation fixed everything and that I had gone back to the happy Shirley that I was prior to starting college. But unfortunately, that was not the case. And since I started this blog with the intention of connecting to + with, empowering, and inspiring people, I will only ever be completely honest. With that being said, my summer vacation confirmed to my family and me that my mental health and my mental state were not in good condition, whatsoever. I was completely lost and had little, if any, sense of who I was.
In fact, I was deeper than rock bottom, which I never knew was possible.
And while I will always be honest, this post isn’t about the downfall I experienced that led to me finding and redefining who I am. No. I will talk about that on this blog, but this post is about how one thing, in particular, has helped me so much. And that is scheduling. A concept so simple can do so much. At least it did in my case. Because I decided to start scheduling my life, I was able to —
- most importantly regain control of my life and know + accept that my life is in my hands (and nobody else’s)
- go back to being responsible + professional
- make adequate time for the things that matter to me; my priorities
- maintain a healthy balance between certain things; boundary setting
- discover the importance of making time for myself + my mental health
- prevent myself from feeling as though my head is barely above water
- actually get things done + feel like I am a contributing member of society
- see the value in the everyday things
But, scheduling is not always as easy as it sounds! Trust me…
It’s easy to say, “Okay, I am going to do this from this time to that time and then do this…blah, blah, blah.” It’s so easy to tell ourselves that we are going to start doing something or stop doing something. But, it’s hard to always actually follow through. That’s why so many people struggle to work out, stop smoking, start eating better, etc., because things are easier said than done. And I can 100% attest to that. Habits are hard to start and they’re are hard to stop. In fact, according to James Clear at jamesclear.com:
“On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.”
66 days is not a short amount of time. And because I am a human being, I make mistakes, get bored, become lazy, etc. And to make a habit, you have to be consistent and I am still working on that. However, my mood has improved immensely and I am so much more organized and collected than I was before. To get to this point, though, took a lot of courage and discipline in ALL aspects of my life — mind, body, + spirit.
the mind + body + spirit make you who you are and they need to ALL be cared for and noiurished. If not, you will always feel empty in some way.
To accomplish meeting + satisfying those three parts of me, I had to re-teach myself structure and reinvent myself (more on that coming soon). So, how did I go about that? What did I do first?
- I used my Kate Spade Strawberries Notebook to write down a complete list of all of my priorities + goals
- I wrote down what I want to get done this month, the next few months, and the year
- I wrote down where I want to be by the end of 2019
- I wrote down what I wanted to change about myself (more on that coming soon!)
Also, there is an excellent book called, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg and I highly it to everybody. It truly is a great book and you can get it here!
I then took all of that information and created a very strict schedule. Not only that, but I printed the schedule out and had it taped to my wall for over a week so that I could get used to seeing it every day since I’m a visual learner. I also had my iPhone’s alarms meticulously set, so that I would be on track for everything and have zero excuses as to why I couldn’t complete a specific task I had wanted to do. And, I also had the first few weeks in my Erin Condren Life Planner filled out hourly, as well. But, sh*t happens and there have been days when I have just decided that I want to just chill and be lazy. Every once in a while is ok. Habitual laziness, however, is not good. So even though I have a set time in my schedule where I allow myself to just stop, breath, collect myself, + relax, I also allow myself to sometimes take a day or a half day off and just be present.
Here is exactly what my phone alarms are set at + what I use and do to schedule my day (well, my life, actually) effectively and orderly:
my first alarm goes off so that my body knows I am going to be waking up (very) soon.
my second alarm goes off and this time I have to get up. Though I want to press snooze like 100 times, I force myself to open my eyes, turn off my alarm, and sit up in bed. Sitting up is crucial, because it tells your body, once again, that sleep time is over.
since I am up now, I do a few things before my third alarm goes off. Here is what I do:
- get out of bed
- go downstairs and take my morning pills + vitamins (I highly recommend getting those, btw)
- go back upstairs and brush my teeth, wash my face, brush my hair, put on deodorant, put on a little perfume + get dressed
- make a smoothie, in which I use (and I don’t measure anything, sorry!) —
- frozen organic strawberries
- frozen organic blueberries
- a small amount of frozen organic peaches
- a banana* if we have them
- lots of water
- blend till smoothe – hence the reason why it’s called a smoothie 😉
my third alarm goes off telling me to get my gym bag (which is literally one of my Louis Vuitton bags, because I have yet to get one from Lululemon) and head to the gym, which is only about 5 minutes away. My alarm is telling me this, so that I get there a little before 11, so that I can make sure I stay on schedule and begin my workout right at 11am.
it’s now time for my 1 hour workout. During this time I use the elliptical and the treadmill. I will make a way more in-depth post about this at a later date, I promise.
this alarm tells me that in five minutes my hour workout will be over and that I need to give myself five minutes to cool off. So, to do this, I simply tone down my workout and get my heart beating at its normal pace.
the workout is o-v-e-r! I grab my bag and go. I have 10 minutes to make it home, which is not an issue, whatsoever. But, I do this to keep myself on track.
I make it home sooner than 12:10, but this is the time that I have set on my schedule for freshening up —
- shower + wash off while brushing my teeth again
- wash my face again
- exfoliate my skin
- shave (if I really need to)
- dry off + moisturize my whole body
- get dressed (usually Lululemon leggings and a tee)
this timeslot is dedicated to my daily reflection + meditation time. I made a whole post about my meditation + reflection time here + focused mostly on how I came to the decision to start meditating on a regular daily basis and about what I used to make my calm + peaceful meditation area.
I also highly recommend downloading the app Calm — it provides calming music and also guided meditations!
now that my at least 15 minute (sometimes I rush my shower so that I have a longer time to meditate and reflect, especially if I have anxieties or stresses that I want to face and work out) mediation and reflection time is complete, I go sit at my desk and dedicate 4 hours to my blog. Now, I am not going to lie, sometimes (actually a lot of the time..) work a bit longer than I should. But, hey, at least I’m working, right? 🙂
4 hours later (a lot of times I go (way) over the 4 hour mark, but oh well) I save all of the work I have done and I stop working.
I grab whatever book I am currently reading and read for 45 minutes. I make sure to read every day because when I was younger I was such an avid reader and as I have gotten older and have taken on more responsibilities since I am now an adult, I wasn’t able to make reading a priority like I used to. And I missed that. So, when making my schedule, I made sure that I made time to read and I am so glad that I did, because it’s so relaxing!
Here are some books I totally recommend reading:
- tampa | here + please read the description of the book before reading it, consider yourself warned (somewhat, lol)
- before the fall | here
- the couple next door | here
- michelle obama book | here + I mention the book in this post, too
- when life gives you lululemons | here
- the power of habit | here
- where’d you go, bernadette? | here + fyi they’re making this book into a movie and it’s coming to theatres on August 9, 2019!
I close the book and stop reading! My family and I eat dinner together every night at around 6/6:30, so until dinner is ready, I just check + respond to emails, look at my news apps, and work on my blog for whatever time I have until we eat! My family eats really healthy and about 5 years ago, we decided to start eating all organic + non-gmo foods. That said, for dinner, I eat —
- grilled or baked chicken or salmon
- steamed broccoli
- wild brown rice
I go back to my personal altar/sacred space and I grab my bible and I read 1 chapter while annotating all of what I read. I will be honest and say that this is more of an every other day thing, especially since I made sure to make time for meditation + reflection at 14:45pm.
after I read a chapter of the Bible, I do whatever I want until 9pm, which is when I take my nighttime pills, wash my face, and brush my teeth. Afterward, I usually go lay in my bed and watch some Netflix while I work on my blog (yes, I do both at the same time on the same laptop, lol), or listen to a podcast while I work on my blog. Either way, I am almost always in bed with a hot cup of tea and working on my blog!
I try to get to bed at 11pm, but that usually doesn’t work. Regardless, the lights are all now off, which force me to accept the fact that working on my blog is not gonna be happening anymore. So, I play a show on Netflix or just listen to a podcast. The background noise helps me sleep, so I can usually manage to fall asleep in a short amount of time. But if I can’t, I get out of bed, turn lights on, and go work at my desk until I start feeling tired again. Sometimes I stay up way later to work on my blog or making graphics or mess around on my Pinterest. However, I really do try to stick to my schedule and sleep when my alarm tells me to!
so there you have it guys, that’s my daily schedule!
I am working on my Shop My Products page, so that whenever I mention a product, it will go immediately to my shop. So, that all will get done soon. Until then, go check it out and look at the awesome products I already have up!
Thanks for reading + love to you all.