I talked about some of my productivity tools and some of my writing tools but something I haven't talked about this month is things that are helping me with life in general. Being a writer doesn't suddenly mean that the floors don't need to be vacuumed and meals don't need to be cooked. Sometimes it's really hard to manage the daily to-do tasks when I'm trying to meet a deadline or even just trying to get enough brain space to finish a project. So here are a few of the things that are really helping me right now.
1. My Roomba
I never thought I would be the kind person who would love a robot vacuum but I absolutely adore my little iRobot; his name is Alfred. It's really handy to be able to just schedule a time when the vacuum is going to run. I have two cats that track litter all over the place and it used to be that every morning while getting dressed I would get litter all over my feet and then have it stuck in my shoe for the day.
Since I started running Alfred every day that's completely gone away. It's great to be able to just schedule a time for it to run and not even have to think about when I'm going to make time to vacuum the floors. It also helps keep me motivated to keep my floors clear so Alfred has a clean path around the room.
2. Frozen meals
I actually like cooking but I've been having a hard time with actually doing it. I promise myself that I will make a nice dinner with soon as I get home from work but inevitably as soon as I get home, I'm exhausted and Pizza Hut delivery it is. What I found is that if I keep the fridge of healthy-ish meals then I don't order delivery.
If it's something I can pop in the microwave or the oven and under less than 20 minutes then I'm golden. It's not the healthiest option but it does provide portion control and minimizes the impact on my budget. On the days when I'm having a really hard time, knowing that there is some frozen ravioli that will take me 10 minutes to make is a huge relief.
For a while I felt really lazy about doing this but honestly it's one less thing to beat myself up for when I just don't have the energy to cook.
3. Themed days
Breaking my days into a theme has helped me do more and forget less. For instance, Tuesday is the day that I work on my podcast. Whether that's by updating the website, editing in episode, or recording a new episode, that's what I plan to do every Tuesday.
Friday is for laundry and Monday is for blog posts. By keeping that kind of consistent calendar I worry a lot less about what I'm forgetting to do and it's honestly free up a lot of brain space.
4, Brain dumps
One of the things I have been doing for almost a year now is what I call a brain dump. It usually happens once every other week, but there are sometimes it happens every week. All a brain dump is, is sitting down, taking about 20 minutes, and writing out every single thing bouncing around in your brain.
I can write down the bigger projects like writing a new novel or the really mundane stuff like doing the dishes. For me, getting it all out of my head and onto paper helps me see what all it is that I need to do and start prioritizing. Doing the dishes won't take that long, but writing a novel, that will take a while. Seeing it on the page in front of me helps me better visualize the amount of time and the size of the project. It also helps me to see if something is just falling from week to week and staying on the brain dump page that I either need to just bite the bullet and do it or I need to evaluate if it needs to be done.
So those are the things that are helping me right now and just like everything else that I talked about this month, it varies from month-to-month and from project to project. What works for me might not work for you but that's okay. The important thing is to learn how to listen to yourself and to do what fits your life, not to lie some productivity girly want you to have or even the life that I have. Going out there, experiment, find what works, and take care of yourself.