In one week, I begin classes at IIN with the end-goal of becoming a Nutrition, Health, and Wellness Coach for pregnant and postpartum women. I am so excited to get started with this journey and I’m looking forward to what the next year hold in store for me.
One of the things I know that will be coming with going back to school is a lot of hard work and dedication. I already work a (slightly more than) full time job, we have two very young girls, and adding school to the mix will have its challenges. Through completing the IIN precourse work, I have been preparing for the challenge ahead with two main tools: capturing and clearly defining my purpose for this course and managing my time efficiently.
Defining my purpose has been a fun and insightful practice for me. I enjoyed spending the time brainstorming and dreaming about what I really want to achieve with this course. It was relatively easy for me to explain the main part of my “Why” (it’s up on the About Me page if you’d like to check it out), but there was another less defined part to this. Not only do I have a passion for helping new moms that comes from my own experience as one, but I also wanted a “better life” for me and my family. But how do you define better? Is it more (time, money, things, joy, etc) or is it LESS (stress, stuff, commuting)? It took a while but I finally was able to define what I am searching for:
I want a life that I don’t need to take a vacation from.
So over the next year, when things get hard (and I know that at times they will be hard), I have this phrase to come back to. I am building a life from which I will not need a vacation.
The second tool I have been working with is effective time management. I can be relatively good with this for a few days or weeks, but eventually I slip back into old procrastination habits. (I’m sure many of you can relate to that!). Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about time a lot. There is a IIN pre-course class on time management and organization, I’ve been seeing “inspirational” quotes online about it, I’ve had seemingly random discussions at work about it, it’s everywhere. (Hey, this is synchronicity in action!) Through all of this discussion, I’ve created a three-pronged approached to slay the “too busy” demon and make space in my life for my new pursuit. This is centered around the big rocks method, the SRS, and Saying No.
The big rocks method is based on this story/example and is discussed in IINs precourse. The premise is that you determine what are the most important things for your life (like family time, study time, and work for example) and you schedule those before everything else. After this, you determine your next tier of important items (exercise, time with friends, cooking) and schedule those in. The remaining tasks are the “sand” that fills the jar (I’m looking at you errands, laundry, and housework).
For me, the real benefit of the big rocks method is that it forces you to sit down at the beginning and define what is truly important to you. It relates back to defining my “why” which was also helpful.
Once you know exactly which rocks are your big rocks, you can move on to figuring out what are the pebbles and what is the sand. Pebbles are things that still need to get done, even if you don’t enjoy them. The sand is stuff that you actually don’t have to do (yes, the is stuff in your schedule that you genuinely don’t have to do!). You handle the pebbles with the SRS and the sand with Saying No.
The SRS (sucky rotation schedule) was invented by a friend of mine (read about how to do it on her blog here) and is a great way to manage your pebbles. Whenever you need to devote extra time to a big rock, you choose a couple of things on the pebbles list that aren’t going to happen, so that you free additional time for the big rock. It’s ok to let these things slide for a week, because you rotate which things you let slide. This week, I’m not doing laundry. Next week, I’ll do the laundry but I won’t go grocery shopping. And you continue this cycle until you can rebalance and not need the extra time for the big rock. Over the next year, I’ll be using the SRS to free up the time I need to devote to IIN. Rebalancing occurs later (I’ll make a post about elimination pebbles in the future).
The last (and my favorite) method for handling your time is Saying No. This is how you deal with the sand from the big rocks example. You just don’t do it. You stop. This is a scary step to take for so many people (and me too sometimes) because you think “OMG, if I don’t make pinterest worthy decorations for my kids party, THE WORLD WILL END!” It won’t, really, I promise. In fact, no one is going to notice that you made the cute little deviled eggs that look like owls for your two year olds’ owl themed party (Did I do this once? Yes, yes I did.). I promise, no one will notice. Sand looks different for everyone, so take a few minutes to define what it is for you. If deep down, you are doing some task because of the expectations of others instead of your own, it may be sand.
So here I am, ready to tackle the next year with my purpose and my time management plan. I’m excited and can’t wait to start next week!
I’m building a life from which I won’t need a vacation.