Making time for proactive activities and self-care

As you may know, I’m a natural planner and I enjoy spending time planning activities and figuring out the best way to get things done. I love learning new tips and tricks to improve my focus and help me be more productive. However, over the last few years I’ve relaxed my approach a lot as I realised I was becoming a slave to my to-do list. Pretty much everything I was doing was reactive (things I was being asked to do, rather than things *I* wanted to do), and the list of reactive things didn’t tend to get much shorter. I also wasn’t making much time for things for me, and I knew that was something I wanted to change.

So, much in the way I started scheduling in times to be spontaneous to bring more spontaneity to my life (I know, it seems counter-intuitive, but it worked!) I’ve used my natural preferences to start planning proactive and self-care activities. To do this, I’ve adapted my bullet journal (a system I adore because it is so flexible and adaptable).

Proactive activities

At the end of every month I review my month and choose what to focus on for the following month. These cover all areas of my life. Once I’ve narrowed down my areas of focus, I write them in my bullet journal. I use stars to denote these, and as some are continuous tasks rather than discrete tasks, I colour in part of the star once I’ve done something towards it.

Monthly focus list in my Bullet Journal

Having these at the beginning of my monthly section in my bullet journal was helpful, but I didn’t always remember to check it frequently. So, I adapted my daily process so that I review these more regularly and am consciously working towards them.

Now, as I set my daily tasks (either the at the end of the previous day or the start of the day), I check my focus list and I add one starred task to the start of my daily tasks. This starred task will be something that I will commit to doing that day that will help me towards one of the areas I have in my monthly focus list.

By doing this, I can make progress towards some of the bigger goals and make sure I’m spending some time on the things I really want to focus time and energy on rather than just reacting to other requests.

Self-care activities

As this method was working so well, I decided to use a similar technique to add self-care tasks into my day. I’ve realised recently the importance of being kind to myself and have started to ensure I add little things into each day – they’re usually things like exercise, painting my nails, doing a face mask, reading, treating myself to something nice to eat, or socialising.

In a similar way to the starred tasks, as I plan each day I add a self-care task to the list, this time using a heart symbol. It feels so satisfying to add them to my daily list and focus some energy on things that are important to me that I do primarily for me. Sometimes they might only take a minute or two but they make the world of difference 🙂

Here’s what it looks like in my daily list in my bullet journal:

Star and heart tasks in my bullet journal daily list

Using what you know about yourself to make changes

Whilst part of the reason for me sharing this post is in case it is a valuable method that other people can adopt or adapt, the main reason is to encourage you to think about what already works really well for you, and consider how you could use that knowledge to help you in other areas in your life.

I know that lists work well for me, and my bullet journal is a method that works, so even though it initially seemed overkill to add things like this to my task list, it’s working really well and it’s helping me building healthy habits.

What works well for you?

Maybe it’s something you do independently, or a commitment you make with others.

What can you adapt next time you want to make a positive change to your life?

If you would find it useful to talk things through to find out more about how you can make sustainable changes to your life and would like a free coaching consultation please complete the form on my coaching page.