I am a summer girl through and through. I love everything about summer and when we have the final drive home from our summer cottage on Labor Day Weekend it always brings tears to my eyes. So dramatic, but so true.
To change my focus from what is behind me, I try to focus on what is ahead.
Even though I haven’t been to “school” in years there is a certain exciting feeling you get in September around the new “school year”. It’s the beginning of a new chapter, a new season, and a new opportunity to start on the right foot.
This time of the year always makes me reminisce and think about the things that my parents would make me and my siblings do once we started the new school year.
In the summer we were wild kids, running around outside all day at camps or with family members, doing whatever we please. Aka – whatever our babysitter or camp counselor had planned for us that day.
Then the school year hit, and we had a rhythm and rules that my parents enforced daily to make sure that the day ran as smoothly as it could with 3 crazy active kids. We had habits, daily practices and tasks we HAD to do every day, and I truly believe we were all successful because of it.
It’s funny because when you grow up and start working or go to college, the habits and routines you were first taught when you were young easily fall to the wayside because no one is telling you that you HAVE to do this anymore. You make your own decisions and live your own life. Sometimes those decisions might not be the best for us. Eating out for lunch every day for convenience, staying up late to watch Netflix or staying out at a happy hour a little later than we should be. Of course, this is fine every once in a while, but probably not the best nightly or weekly routine.
I believe that having a nightly and weekly routine and creating healthy, helpful and productive habits for yourself gets you started on the right foot every day.
Today I wanted to take it back to those simple routines our parents taught us when we were in school, and I challenge you to apply them to your adult life. I have a feeling they will make you feel more prepared, awake and less stressed going into your work day…
Back to school habits that you can apply to your job!
Make your lunch the night before
So simple, but this small amount of prep goes a long way. I have written a couple of blogs about meal prep, Meal Prep 101 and Meal Prep 102 What’s Inside, that break down why you should meal prep and some healthy foods you can make.
I personally meal prep my whole week’s worth of lunches on Saturday or Sunday, but that is because I don’t have enough time to do it the night before. You can easily prep your lunch the night before work if that is easier for you, the food is fresher that way too. It’s an easy 10-15 minute task that gives you more time in the morning to sleep, work out, or just get into work faster. It helps me sleep better at night knowing I just have to wake up,, and that everything is ready to just grab and go.
Not only does meal prepping give you back time in the morning, but it also saves you $5-15 dollars for not buying lunch out. Even on the low end, $5 every day a week, every week for a whole year is $1,300 and that’s only for a $5 meal. My meals are typically way more expensive than that. Just something to think about next time you decide to watch Netflix over making yourself a salad or sandwich for lunch.
Layout your clothes the night before
I’m pretty sure my mom made my sister and I do this because it took us FOREVER to pick out an outfit. We would literally take 30 minutes to an hour to pick out the ‘perfect’ outfit, that always ended up being a t-shirt and jeans… Still, this was a habit I got into in high school and it really stuck through college and into the working world.
Every night I lay out my clothes for work and pack my clothes to work out in for the afternoon. If I am working out in the morning, I lay out my work out clothes so they are ready for me to just throw on and go get that work out in.
Having one less thing to think about such as what I am going to wear saves me 5-10 minutes in the morning. It also keeps me in that grab and go vibration.
Give yourself a bedtime
We all can remember that awful time as a kid when your parents declared it was time for bed. Every time was the worst time and you would beg and plead not to have to go to bed. Then when you were a teenager and college student you would rebel and stay up “past your bedtime” and then be exhausted pretty much your entire young adult life.
There is a reason our parents gave us bedtime and experts in any field tell you to “get a good night’s sleep” before a big event. It’s because the #1 productivity killer is a lack of sleep.
Today the tables have turned for me, and as soon as I wake up some mornings I count down the hours until I get to go back to sleep. Then when that final moment comes and the day is over and I can get back to bed, I don’t actually want to go to bed anymore. I’ve been running all day and just want to relax, unwind and watch Netflix for a little, which sometimes ends up turning into a long time and then I go to bed later than I promised myself I would. It’s a vicious cycle, and I would bet I am not the only one who gets stuck in it.
Sleep is incredibly important not just for your productivity but for your overall health, so it really is crucial you set yourself a bedtime and then stick to it! You will be happy you did when Thursday and Friday come along and you are not totally exhausted from the week.
Set aside time to “study”
As kids, the first thing we had to do once we got home from school was to “do your homework”. Then once we finished we could play, watch TV or do whatever, as long as our homework was done.
As adults, sometimes we do have “homework”. Whether it’s work we couldn’t finish during the day that we need ready for tomorrow, or you may be studying for a certification or degree.
But I do find that is not the case for the majority of people. They go home and relax, be with their kids or significant other, maybe workout, but they don’t ever make time to “study”.
Now when I say study, I mean learn something new. It could be about your job and how to get better at it, or it could be learning more about the field of work you are in, or even learning more about experts in the space and how they got to where they are today. It doesn’t have to be miserable and not fun like homework was as a kid. ‘Studying’ could be as fun and simple just reading or listening to something related to your field to know more about your industry and practice.
When I first started working, this was absolutely the first thing that I stopped doing. I stopped giving myself a “study” time. I didn’t try to learn more about the field I was in or try to get better at it. I just went to work, did what I had to do and then came home. It wasn’t fulfilling work, it was just a job.
Then when I switched careers and at that time I had to start “studying” again because I was so bad at recruiting. In time I noticed that the extra study time I gave myself really catapulted me forward and made me not only really good at what I did, but also really interested in what I did.
To me, there is a huge difference between a job and a career. Putting in study time, and trying to improve and grow to become the best that you can in your role, that is what makes a job a career. Having a career, and a line of work is so much more fulfilling than punching in and out of a job every day.
Set new goals
This was something my parents asked us to do once we were a little older, like in high school or end of middle school. They would ask us what we were striving towards that year, and without realizing it, we were setting goals.
For example, we would respond “This year I want to make the National Honor Society.”, or “This year I want to make the varsity football team”, or “This year I want to win the Dance Scholarship.” Just by talking about what we were striving towards, we naturally started to think about what we had to do to get there. Goal setting 101.
I think the coolest part is that we didn’t even know what our parents were having us do.
Fast forward to adulthood, goal setting is typically saved for the new year. When the new year starts, that’s when we set goals or work towards the next big thing.
If you are the type that likes to use the calendar year, January to December, as your own “school year”, go back now to those goals you set for yourself in January. Once you look at those goals see how far you have come, or how far you have left to go, and then think about what kind of push can you give for yourself in the next 90 days.
What goals can you set for yourself in the last leg of your “school year”? What adjustments can you make to get closer to hitting that big goal in the next 90 days? You still have three whole months to make a major dent and impact on whatever is left of that big goal.
If you push and give it all you got for the next 90 days I guarantee you will be shocked at what you accomplish.
For more about goal setting check out my blog, “New Year, New You – Goal Setting”.
They say that we learn some of the greatest lessons during our childhood, like “say please and thank you”, “be kind”, “share”. The habits our parents forced us into during the school year were incredible habits that were and are some of those ‘greatest lessons’ that we learned growing up. They were habits that brought us success as kids and will continue to bring us success as adults.
This new “school year” try to revert back to some of those habits. Start slowly implementing them back to your day to day and weekly life. I guarantee that you will feel more refreshed, enthusiastic, and less stressed on a day to day basis.
Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!
Love, Em 😊
P.s. Hope you enjoyed the picture of baby Emily and her first day of Kindergarten!