Productivity and Self-Care
One aspect of using time as desired means figuring out where it's all going first. I tracked my time in color coded 30 minute blocks for a month. I focused only on my working hours, but I'm practicing this exercise again for all aspects of my day (mostly to help alleviate feelings of guilt when I want to sit back and watch a movie. More on guilty pleasures later).
I make and track goals on all levels. Anything from one year goals to lifetime ultimates, then I break down those goals into reasonable chunks, and again slice those into smaller bits until I have quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and even daily goals. I don't always achieve them, as life often has chaos I can't account for, but I know I'm making progress.
My next big step is learning how to reflect on my achievements. Knowing and celebrating your wins is just as important as gaining them. Without taking time to reinforce in our brains that this is a good, dopamine infused event, it's all too easy to get swamped by the ever-growing list of to-dos.
To track on a micro level I use various planner systems (allowing myself flexibility if one system isn't working as I'd like any more) and plan out my days to include all my adult requirements, my day job, and my writing necessities.
I implemented many systems based on Heart Breathings, which is a a great resource for learning how to use a planner to track time, projects, and tasks.
Tracking time and staying on task is always a challenge, so be open to new approaches and be kind!
Self-care is a individual journey to find what refills your creativity, excitement, wonder, and lust for life. I'm still learning what restores me back to factory settings, so don't be alarmed if self-care seems impossible at times.
I like to draw mandalas of my favorite films/fandoms and even have a couple tattooed on my thigh. These allow me a single point of focus where my mind shuts off and I experience the lines. Quieting the mind is common in meditation and mandalas are used as tools for exactly that.
I find mindless, repetitive (yet pretty) tasks to be restful. Crochet/painting/crafting in general has been a long term part of my wellness.
Although it's no surprise, yoga is another part. Having an instructor guide a room of students means I don't have to think about anything other than how my body feels and what my breath is doing. I'm also a yoga instructor, so getting my brain to shut up is a little harder in class than it used to be.
GUILTY PLEASURES! Nothing guilty about it. That book series I love? Yes, I'm going to reread it for the 8th time because it makes me smile. That TV show I can't stop bingeing? You better believe I'm going to make time for it. That actor/actress I'm crushing on? Um yes, I'm totally going to follow them on every social media platform and live vicariously in their life to get me outside of mine for a few days. Those rice krispie treats I made? I'm going to arrange my diet so they fit in, because food has a huge connection to my happiness.
I believe self-care is a balanced trifecta of sorts: movement, mindlessness, and motivation. Do something you love, and if you can't remember what that is (because depression is weird like that) then find another life to live for a bit, let it encourage you to return to reality. Feel the strength in your body as you move and revel in your unique beauty. Get outside of your head and simply be without expectations of what mindfullness is and instead let your mind be blank for a while. It's okay to let go.
But don't forget the most basic self-care there is: lean on your tribe. Let them lift you up when the world is too heavy.