Evening Routine: When Things Get Overwhelming

For the past two weeks, I have been quite busy. As a matter of fact, it’s overwhelming. It’s been 3 months of low activity, and all of a sudden, I have to accomplish an enormous amount of work in the shortest possible time. I am yet to get used to this kind of pressure again.

Our resort is re-opening soon since social gathering and domestic travel restrictions have relaxed. So, we are currently putting things in place in preparation for the re-opening. Aside from that, I’ve started with a business venture. I am also learning how to optimize my blog, and I need to sort out my personal issues. 

As I do my journaling at night, I have assessed that I have not been performing at my best. I tend to procrastinate resulting in a lot of backlogs. I’m taking time performing tasks that I normally finish within seconds, I keep forgetting things, I get cranky over small concerns and I have become less engaging towards other people. 

I’m a little obsessed in organizing, maximizing productivity and achieving goals, so having these challenges are a big deal to me.  

I know that it will cost me a lot if I’m not able to manage my affairs well, ASAP.

Since last week, I have been focusing on building my evening routine. My goal is to ensure that I effectively and efficiently address my work and personal concerns.

I set an alarm at 6:30 PM for my evening routine. I start off by working on my blog and online business. Once I’m done, I clean my room, then take my shower. After that, I spend time listening to audiobooks or podcasts. Then, I enter what I like to call “self-preservation state”. Here, I do my journaling, do yoga and meditate. To conclude, I spend time reflecting on philosophical and religious teachings.

When I was curating this routine, I wrote down the activities that are important to me. I want to allocate time for my blog, my business and my work. At the same time, I want to still have time to preserve my mental state and be able to enrich my knowledge.

I also wrote down the duration I’m willing to spend for each task. I find that writing down reasons for developing the habit and routine cues are helpful.

To build discipline, I adapt these practices:

1. Pomodoro technique

I encounter this technique though listening to The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo at Blinkist (Click here to download). It is a time management method that uses a timer to breakdown work intervals. To do this, set a timer for 25 minutes, and focus on performing one task. Then once the timer rings, take a 5-minute break. You may allocate multiple pomodori  (plural form of pomodoro) to an activity. After about four pomodori , you can take a longer break for about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Removing distractions

I’m a habitual multitasker. It is my instinct to do two or more things at a time. It is actually ironic since I am a sucker for maximizing productivity. 

I am constantly battling toward correcting this, so what I do is I remove all distractions before I perform a given task. I activate downtime on my phone and put my phone on do not disturb. I also listen to what my body tells me. If I am hungry or sleepy, I address those issues first before moving forward with my task.

3. Daily evaluation and reflection

My routines adapt to my current requirements. It has to work for me, not the other way around. So every night, I evaluate how I did and what I feel while performing each activity. I modify my routines if deemed necessary. 

4. Self-awareness and forgiveness

We tend to be hard on ourselves when we’re not able to achieve our set targets. Self-forgiveness requires practice. It took me years before I’m able to accept that sometimes, things don’t go according to plan, and that’s ok.

Whenever pressure is high, I get overwhelmed. Instead of being motivated, I tend to procrastinate. 

What I do is, I let things sink in first, without pressuring myself, then I plan what to do next. If it takes two days for me to process and assimilate what is happening, I will forgive myself for procrastinating for two days. 

I’m able to do this because I have been observing my habit patterns. Whenever I force myself to do something, and I am not in the correct state, nothing goes right. But as soon as I’m ready, I execute things better.

I’m not going to pretend that I have been rigidly following this routine, especially the order of the activities. As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog post at 11:00pm. However, with this guide, I’ve become more aware of my responsibilities. I am consciously working towards sticking to this regimen.

To Summarize:

For the past weeks, I have been overwhelming with tasks from work, blog, business and my personal affairs. To combat this, I have curated an evening routine to address my work-life balance concerns.

These are the points I considered when creating my evening routine

  1. My purpose in doing this routine.
  2. Which activities I want to integrate into my routine.
  3. How long am I willing to spend in each activity.
  4. What are my reasons for doing the activity?
  5. What are my cues to remind me of the habit?

To be successful in performing this routine, I practice the following:

  1. Pomodoro technique – I spend 25 minutes performing one task. Once the timer goes off, I take a 5-minute break. After four pomodori I take longer breaks, about 15 to 20 minutes before carrying on with the next task.
  2. Removing distractions – I remove all distractions so I could efficiently enter the state of flow.
  3. Daily evaluation and reflection – before I go to bed, I assess my performance and what I felt as I was doing the task.
  4. Self awareness and forgiveness – I take note of my habit patters and forgive myself every time I failed to accomplish my targets.

Share your routines with me! What do you when you feel overwhelmed?

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