By now you have a short list of things you want to bring into your day (What's in your day? Part 1) and activities you feel are taking up too much of your time (What's in your day? Part 2). So, what tools will help you transition from doing what you're doing now to accomplishing what you want?
Activity Specific Tools: In part 1, you chose one or two activities you want to add into your life. What do you need to do it and where will you put these items?
If you want to go to your Zumba® class after work, can you get your jazzy outfit and sneakers together in a bag by the front door the night before, ready to grab on the way out no matter how rushed you are in the morning?
If you want to journal every morning, do you have your journal, pens, and a comfy spot to go to? What do you need and where will you put it so it's ready when you are?
Alarm: Use the alarms on your cell phone to remind you to start your chosen activity.
If you want to go walking in the morning, set your alarm.
If you want to do your meal planning on Tuesday nights, set your alarm.
If you want to leave the office on time so you can make your yoga class, set your alarm.
I often set two alarms to help me transition from one activity to the next. The first is a reminder to wrap up and the second is to get going. Will you use an alarm to remind you to start?
Timer: Timers can keep you focused and get you started.
Use a timer to help get you started by giving yourself permission to 'just do 15 minutes'.
Use a timer to limit the time you spend on the activities you identified in part 2 (activities in your day that shouldn't be).
I also use a timer to make progress on a project I've put off doing. I give myself 23 minutes of work and 23 minutes of play and repeat until the project is done. Will a timer help you?
Planner / Calendar / Schedule: You will never find the time to do what you want, so you need to make the time, make it a priority and schedule it first.
You want to meditate or exercise? When will you do it? Put it on your schedule.
If you want to do meal planning each week, when will you do it? Block out that time in your planner.
I have to admit all the books tell you if you want to exercise schedule it. Treat it like any other appointment you've made. But I still find myself slipping the activity to "later" or to "tomorrow". So, though the advice is sound, I can't tell you how to keep the appointment with yourself; it's an area I'm still working on myself. However, by putting it on my calendar I am more likely to plan my day and have a better chance of doing it. Of course, if I've scheduled that activity with a buddy, I rarely cancel. Will you put yourself on your own priority list? Can you schedule an appointment with you? With a buddy?
Tracking Tools: Tracking can be as simple as a piece of paper and pen by the TV remote control marking hours of screen time. Tracking can be colorful stickers on a calendar showing the days you got your walk in. In can also be a computer/smartphone app that sends you reminders and kudos as you track your progress.
What you focus on expands, continues and supports your desired change.
That's all that tracking is - a tool to help you focus. By the way, tracking should be a tool not an activity in itself, so keep it as simple as you can to keep you coming back. If you'd like a copy of my Dhucks' Daily Time Tracking Sheet Click Here to go to my dhuckuments page.
Acceptance: Acceptance is a tool, a skill, and an invaluable asset to your health and happiness. Acceptance that change takes time, that new behaviors and activities take effort, and that less-than-perfect adherence to your plan is still progress towards where you want to go. Keep going!