3 things that are working for me these days

(and by these days I mean January!)

This list could change next month but this is what’s working for me at the moment. I’m fully back at work – this month we’re in the office two out of five days a week, the kids have both had their first week at high school (and were exhausted!), we are adjusting to them having phones and we are dealing with constant (stage 4 – 6) loadshedding.

1. Getting inspiration for meals by actually walking around the supermarket
I go through periods of severe non-inspiration where I cannot even think what I’d like to eat, let alone cook. I am also someone who needs lots of variety in their meals. Add to that the fact that I don’t do the food shopping and Dion online shops all the time.  

I read a book last year, Creative You, which talks about creativity and your MBTI type. I get creative energy as an ESTJ by experiencing the world around me by touching, seeing, smelling, etc. I need to remember this and schedule food shopping dates maybe once a month. I’ve been hot (we have had weather in the 30s C) and with loadshedding, I just have felt so uninspired. The book is excellent for many other reasons and I highly recommend it!

Yesterday though we went for a quick vegetable shop and just strolling around the supermarket (in the blessed aircon!) for 20 minutes inspired me so. I returned home and made a menu plan. It felt so easy!

2. Having a weekly 30-minute power hour to update my lists
I used to schedule a weekly planning session and somehow that has fallen by the way sometime during the last two or so years.

But I’m bringing it back (I might do 23 minutes just to be whimsical). This block of time is to update any books I’ve read in my book bullet journal, update my diary, check on my goals, and update my line-a-day journal.

I find Sunday afternoons work best for this, just before the supper/ getting ready for the week rush, because after supper, I want to peacefully read.

3. Accountability for exercise
I’d got out of the habit of going to my Wednesday evening Zumba class around September/ October. I didn’t enjoy the class as much as I used to and then I was too busy to look for another one.

Well, there’s one thing loadshedding’s good for – my gym opened up memberships to all clubs even if your membership is only at a specific location.

When I found out, I contacted my old Zumba instructor, checked logistics, and told her I’d be in her class on Wednesday evening, and I was.

It was so good and afterwards, I told her that I’d be there every Wednesday as long as this loadshedding lasts.

What’s working for you these days?

{time} Let’s talk about morning routines… and a peek into my own

Let’s start by talking about my morning routine and then we’ll talk about what you might want in a morning routine.


Why should we even have a morning routine?

A morning routine sets you up for the day ahead to ensure a successful day. Depending on your day, your morning routine might vary but I’d suggest that you’d need clothes, food and stuff for the day as the three components, no matter what you have on the agenda.

But let’s talk about my morning routine:

Work at office days

I wake up, shower, dress, grab my things and travel to work 🙂

Work from home day

This one is a little slower, by design.

I wake, play on my phone, read, and then shower, dress and go to work which is about 15 steps from my bedroom.

Work life

Weekend days

Saturdays – I roll out of bed, put on my gym clothes, brush my teeth and put on lipstick (always with the lipstick!), and go to gym.

Sundays – look exactly the same as the work at office days, except… I go to church

You’ll notice that there’s very little I do in the morning and that is very intentional; it’s because I’m not a morning person so I set up my life such that I don’t have to think very much in the morning.

If I had my way, no one would even talk to me much before 9 am.

I can do this because all my preparation happens in the evening.

work prep

What might you include in your morning routine?

  • Choosing clothes for yourself and your kids (your husband can choose his own clothes!)
  • Making lunch for yourself if you work outside the home (this might even be a good idea if you work from home so you eat a planned meal and don’t just grab something when you’re hungry)
  • Setting out anything that has to go with you (running errands on the way to or from work)
  • Setting out gym bag (if you exercise on the way to or from work)
  • Popping food in the slow cooker or defrosting meat

What is included in your morning routine that I haven’t even considered? Do you have a minimal routine like me because you’re also not a morning person?

My end-of-workweek routines

My end-of-work-week routine is encouraging, motivating, intentional and lets me completely unwind every week.

Interested? Keep reading.

I’ve been doing this same routine for about 18 months now and it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

  1. Make a ta-da list for the week that’s just ended

I first heard of the concept of the Ta Da list on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. I tried it that week, it was fabulous but it took me a few weeks to make it a habit.

I have a job with lots of constantly moving parts which can make it feel like nothing is ever done. As a high J on Myers Briggs, I love the feeling of completion.

Writing this list makes me feel accomplished because I’m focussing on what did get done instead of what’s still up in the air.

2. Write down my goals for the week

This part helps me be intentional about what I want to get done in the week ahead.

We all know that you can get swept away by all the emails and requests from other people. This is not wrong; however, as an upholder, I also want to accomplish things that I decide are important.

Writing down goals for the week helps me keep the big picture in mind and keep moving on those important, but not necessarily urgent things. In time management literature, it’s the Quadrant 2 items.

3. Write Monday’s to-do list

Remember the Eat the Frog list?

This is typically a shorter list than my weekly goals because I’m focussing on the things that have to get done on that Monday.

I like to write this list after I’ve consulted my calendar for the day so that I can also prepare for any upcoming meetings.

The best thing about this list is that once I make it, I can completely unwind over the weekend and forget about work, knowing that I know exactly what I need to do once I flip open my notebook.

Which weekly systems have you put in place to help you with your work?

{Time management} A new rhythm to my days


I remember before I had kids people would say things like, “just wait until you have kids. Your sleep patterns change and they never go back to the way they were before”.

I’m here to tell you… HOGWASH.

I’ve always been a night owl and for the most part, the only reason I go to bed at a “decent” hour is because I have to get up early the next day.

With me being at home this month, within days I’ve reverted back to my preferred night owl tendencies.

It’s not necessarily all good but let’s just say there’s a different rhythm to my days.


The night owl-ness has been FANTASTIC for my writing. I’m proving that my brain kicks into gear at around 8 pm and I’m really getting a lot done at night.

I do make sure my to-do list for the next day is done before I go to bed.

So I sleep in in the mornings.

A slow wakening, some reading with breakfast, book/blogs, and then I turn off my feedly and get to my Eat the Frog items.

I still have too much on my lists. I just looked back at three days’ lists and there were 10 things on each of those days. On average, I get through 6 – 7 and keep carrying over (which is exactly what I said in the article).

I use the morning for eating the frog, fetch the kids at lunch time and have lunch with them. The kids only get collected at 1:15 and the later lunch works perfectly for me.

While they nap/ rest, I do another session of work and then I give up til they go to bed. During the rest of the day, I’ll cook, clean, organise, play with kids, take photos, etc.

I’ve found that I can focus really well for about 1 hour 20 minutes (I know – weird – but I’ve been tracking my time) and then I need a break. If I get at least 3 of those sessions in during a day, I consider that extreme success. I do aim for at least 2 focussed sessions of “moving me towards my goals” work, not answering emails.


I really enjoy having a different type of activity to do interspersed with computer work, like driving to fetch the kids, house stuff, gym/ dancing, etc. and I think now that I have the flexibility to do that, it’s helping me be more productive.

Are you happy with the rhythms to your days?

End-of-workday routines

I really like to have 30 minutes at the end of the work day to wind down and prepare for the next day.

It doesn’t always happen but my days always go smoother if I have that bridge time.


During that time (and it doesn’t take 30 minutes), I

  1. quickly check if I have any emails in drafts I need to quickly finish off and SEND (I get interrupted a lot in my job)
  2. make sure people aren’t waiting for something I’m ready to send but just haven’t got around to yet
  3. take cups/ glasses to the pause area
  4. make my * eat the frog list for the next day
  5. if I didn’t have such a love for tossing paper, I’d clear my desk during this time of any extra paper too 🙂

* What’s the eat the frog list, you say?

It’s my 5 most important things to get done the next day list.

Again, those 5 don’t always happen either but I do get at least two big things done daily.

Making that list is the best way for me to clear my mind from the current day, remind myself that I did get some things done (a day full of meetings often feels like nothing got done) and prepare mentally for the next day.

Do you have an end-of-workday routine (other than just grabbing your bag and going)?

Please share what’s on your list.

What are your Sunday night rituals?

Sunday night has always been a transition for me – an easing out of weekend and easing into the work week.

Some things I typically do is:

  1. plan the week ahead – make sure all appointments are in my paper diary and allocate time for my weekly tasks
  2. plan our menus for the week
  3. plan the babies’ food for the week
  4. pack my work bag (I use a fun handbag on the weekends)
  5. pack my lunch for Monday

What are some of your Sunday night rituals?

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