Everyone's definition of what success looks like will be different, but in this context I really just mean making life easier for myself. Keeping my day free of obstacles so I can do everything I want without too much effort. To complete as much of my to do list as possible. To eat food that we have cooked at home rather than getting takeaway. To not spend money on unnecessary things. For me, that makes for a happier, more successful life. So, here's what I do to set myself up for that...
1. I Write a To Do List
You can't get everything done on your to do list if you don't know what's actually on the list. I don't have a great system for lists - I've tried TeuxDeux and ToDoist but neither has replaced my love of a simple pen and paper list, and the satisfaction I get from crossing things off. I really want a planner (I love Get to Work Book but just can't justify the shipping costs right now) so I can keep them all in one place, but for now I just have notebooks upon notebooks, which works okay. The important part is getting things out of your brain and onto a list so you can stop worrying about *what* you need to do, and just get on with, you know, doing it.
2. I Ask For Help
In our household, there is too much to do for just one person. Factor in things like blogging and podcasting, and I'd be run ragged if I did it all. So, I ask for help. Paul obviously has things he needs to do, too, but when I know there are bigger tasks to do in the house or I need a little bit of time to write blog posts, I make sure to ask for a bit of help. No man is an island, and all that.
3. I Meal Plan
A hangry Amy is not a successful Amy. And a hangry Amy also doesn't make good or financially astute decisions about what to eat. So meal planning, as boring and arduous as it is, is essential. It means I know what's for dinner before I start the day and I can prepare accordingly. I plan meals that work with what's on the calendar - so quick, easy dinners or pre-prepared food for busy days and slightly more time consuming things on quiet days. Ultimately, we're all happier if we eat well and so this one task definitely helps reduce a lot of stress.
4. I Avoid Overbooking Myself
There have been times in my life when I was out three or four nights a week and then had something planned at the weekend, too. And that was fantastic and fun, and maybe something that will happen again, but right now? It's just not possible. Which is actually a blessing in disguise, because it's created more time and space in my life. It means I can get better sleep (as far as I can with a baby in tow) and get little things done in the evenings so my days are freed up.
5. I Prepare for Tomorrow Today
This sounds like a cheesy self-help quote, but what it really means things like prepping meals ahead of time, if needed, or packing Ben's bag for nursery the night before. We keep a fairly organised Google Calendar situation so we always know what's coming up at home and at work. I try and write and schedule blog posts ahead of time, and have a little bank of photos for Instagram, too. That way, if I have a busy day or something unexpected happens, it doesn't throw absolutely everything off for the rest of the week.
How do you set yourself up for success?