AmeriCorps members (and let’s be honest, AmeriCorps program staff) are uniquely suited to being overwhelmed and overcommitted. Having a hyperactive yes response is almost a prerequisite to joining AmeriCorps. What we share in common is our design to take action, to be part of something, and to get involved. It is what makes AmeriCorps members great. It can also be our Achilles heal as we fall victim to doing too much and not being able to do everything we want to do well.
This is why we are teaching a virtual workshop, Time Management, Setting Boundaries, and Developing Healthy Habits on January 25th for AmeriCorps members. It is everything that I wish I knew when I served. We hope that we can reach AmeriCorps members and help them learn these valuable life skills before they quit service or let themselves down when they can’t juggle everything.
Here is a preview of some of the lessons we’ll be sharing during the workshop:
Number One Tip – If you do nothing else, do this!
Start each morning or even the night before with writing down 1-3 key tasks for the day which are essential to moving yourself forward. I write these three things at the top of a list and then write my other tasks for the day under “other” below the essentials. When choosing these 1-3 key tasks it is important to not just think about what feels urgent, but what is actually going to make a difference in your work or your life. For example, sometimes my list includes exercise or quality time with my partner. Other times I may put writing a blog post on the list. Creating new content never feels as urgent as answering emails and responding to calls and requests for help, but it is essential to actually moving my work forward.
What is essential for you to make progress?
What one thing could you do today?
If you struggle with prioritizing or figuring out what is most essential, I strongly recommend the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown.
My Analog Morning Routine
This morning was a perfect example of how a self-aware morning routine can be a great way to save your sanity. As a seasonal affective disorder sufferer, I often wake up on winter mornings with a desire to turn off the alarm and go right back to bed. I have no motivation. I have no energy. If I let myself, I can spiral right off the bat with everything that could go wrong and why I shouldn’t get out of bed.
What I’ve finally learned to do instead is to follow a structured routine in the morning. It has turned into a habit, so I can tell myself, don’t think, just do.
Here’s what my routine looks like:
- Get coffee for my partner and I and sit together petting the cat and drinking coffee
- Read one chapter of a physical book
- Write one page, longhand, in a notebook on a writing prompt of my choice
- Sit for 5 minutes doing nothing (my basic form of meditation)
- Cook and eat a real breakfast at a table (I love a spinach and egg taco!)
After all of this is done I allow myself to check email. If and when I do every step of this routine, I feel very grounded and ready to take on the day. My most productive days happen after an hour of the analog morning routine.
What could you do in the morning that would set you up for success the rest of the day?
Is there any habit you have that isn’t serving you that you can replace?
Now what to do with the rest of the day and week?
For the last year I have used Steph Crowder’s 15-minute planner method to plan out my weeks. She does a great job of explaining how to sort out your workload into rocks, pebbles and sand. The rocks are time-bound commitments that you have made, pebbles are growth-based actions, and sand is all the other stuff that you just have to get done.
I will not spend more time on it here, since Steph can explain it better. However, I can attest that using a system to plan out my week has been very successful for me to get more done. More importantly, I am getting the most essential stuff done instead of just reaching inbox zero with nothing to show for my efforts.
Interested to learn more? We would love to see you at the workshop on January 25th. This workshop is designed for AmeriCorps members, but others are welcome to join if you think it would be relevant to you.