Creating a habit

Having a child threw me. I couldn’t get back into the swing of things. I couldn’t get into a routine.

I didn’t know how to when i was at the beck and call of every cry and nappy change. One minute, I’m on maternity leave. The the next I’m back at work. There’s never been a dull minute for me – juggling family and work.

The oldest is nine now. Two more came along after him. The appearance of each one would change whatever routine I had started to get used to and turn my world upside down. Why would it not. It’s a child, for chrissakes, I hear you say.

With three of them, I found it hardest to get back on track. One of them would ALWAYS be calling for me. As soon as I sit down to check my emails, the call of “MUUU-UUMM!” would ring out. No time for emails or lazy Sundays.

Now that no.3 is just over one year old, it’s time to carve out a routine. One that involves regular reading, writing, exercise and cleaning (Yucks. But somebody’s got to do it).

After some experimentation, Seinfeld’s productivity method appears to be the most effective. It’s where you get a calendar and cross off the date when you’ve achieved the goal you’ve set for yourself. I’ve improvised and written down the things i want to get into a habit of doing and drawn little squares next to each one so I can check them off. Consecutive checks for a month is the aim.

I’ll keep at it for 30 days and the idea is that at the end of it, it should become a habit. I’m starting with two goals: in 30 days, i will be cleaning like i was born to clean and I’ll be polishing off a book every two weeks.

How to get into the habit

1) Start small with 1-3 goals. Identify them. Make sure you are passionate about them. Because on the bad days, you’ll be running on more than empty and it will be the passion that keeps you going. As I’ve discovered with choosing cleaning as a goal, there are days when it’s such a bugger I wish I never bothered in the first place.

2) Be realistic with how much time you can devote everyday to each task. I don’t get home till late so I’m just going to give each task 15 minutes.

3) It’s a little like going for a long run. Celebrate every mental milestone you set for yourself. At the end of the day, when you check off the habits you’ve committed to, enjoy the satisfaction.

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