It will come as no surprise to those who know me well that a large proportion of the accounts filling my Instagram feed are focused on the topics of organisation, productivity and well-being. (The rest are accounts about plants…obviously.) Over recent months I have invested a lot of time curating my feed so that it only features things that I find motivating, inspiring or rejuvenating – looking at how to enhance and refine aspects of my life is something I very much enjoy and learn from.
A couple of years ago I remember finding a community of people on Instagram singing the praises of the “reset” – something I had done for years but had never acknowledged as a “thing”. Finding accounts like this has slowly introduced me to accounts which look at all aspect of home life and whilst so many of the concepts are in many ways obvious, they are things which are taken for granted or glossed over. They are things which, when given a name, earn the focus and respect they deserve as key factors of one’s life. Here of some of things themes I have been enjoying recently.
Seasons – This is a term that has become really popular for referring to the current stage of one’s life. When I first heard people talking about their current “season” I thought it sounded a bit corny, for want of a better word. But it’s a term that has grown on me because the state of one’s life changes in a very organic just like the move between seasons. Plus, it always gives me a very obvious reminder that I cannot compare my life to someone who is in a different situation to me. Much like comparing my garden in winter to someone sharing photos of their summer growth in the southern hemisphere, comparing what I can do to someone who has older kids or who is a full-time homemaker is futile. Different demands + different priorities = a very personal way of spending one’s time.
Routines vs Rhythms – So, routines are pretty self-explanatory: a sequence of things done in particular order at a particular time. At a high-level I am a massive fan of routines; my weekly cleaning-schedule is a routine which I diligently stick to with the majority of tasks taking place on the same days of the week and at similar times. But there has always been something about the term routine which didn’t sit well with me because I operate to 3/4 different “types” of day (1. Non-working school day; 2. Working school day; 3a. Weekend day, no cycling; 3b. Weekend day, cycling). Enter the the concept of “rhythms” from one of my more recent favourite Instagram accounts, House of Eilers (and her website).
The concept of rhythms really struck a chord with me. Rather than a strict routine, rhythms focus more of a set of activities or events that one aims to do but not at a fixed time or in a strict order. Whats more, if certain items don’t get ticked off the list then it’s no big drama. Amy from ‘House of Eilers’ explains the whole premise of rhythms really well in her blog post on the topic. Ultimately the slightly less rigid nature of rhythms meshes well with me. For example, in the earlier part of the morning I like to make all the beds, wipe down the sinks after getting ready, ensure everything from breakfast is washed-up and tidied away and I also have a cup of tea. But the order flexes depending on day. At the weekends I make the beds later after breakfast whereas on work days I make them as soon as I get up. On weekend days I always wash-up immediately after breakfast; on non-working schools days I usually wash-up once we get home from drop-off (pandemic homeschooling days aside).
Rituals – The concept of a ritual is something which I only recently thought about after I saw it in a post on one of my favourite Instagram accounts, An Organised Life. To quote Lauren, who wrote the aforementioned post:
The rituals WITHIN the routines is where you can find a deeper purpose and connection to the things you’re doing.Lauren Tucker, https://www.anorganizedlife.info/
Thinking that way is still a new shift for me but it’s encouraging me to see some of my daily activities in a new light. Much like practicing gratitude, viewing some of the things I do daily as ‘rituals’ is making them feel more special. These include my post-dinner cup of tea where I really savour the warmth in the quiet of our home; washing my face and applying my facial oil in the morning and the evening to care for my skin; updating my bullet journal and gratitude journals in the evening; cuddling both my girls in the same way each night as part of their bedtime routine; taking the time to care for each of my plants. The term ‘ritual’ really acts as a reminder that there are so many beautiful moments in each and every day.
Habits – This was less of a “new” phrase and more a reminder that habits, in my view, are the back bone to what we accomplish. A good habit can see laundry always folded and away, toys quickly tidied at the end of a play session and exercise sessions being accomplished. Bad habits can quickly lead to 30 mins of wasted Instagram scrolling (guilty as charged on that one in the recent past) or a stack of dirty dishes in the evening. I have just finished reading the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear and it was an excellent view into how the human brain works with regards to forming and breaking. I am starting to use some of his techniques, such as habit stacking, to build in new habits I know I need. For me, capturing a daily habit tracker in my bullet journal is also a sure-fire way to make sure I get things done as it riles me to leave something not ticked-off every night!
Habits have always really helped me succeed in getting things done so I am feel really excited about additional changes I can make using the techniques in the book. I am a long-standing fan of tools such as the oldie but goodie: “If you can do it in less than two minutes then do it now.”. Also making use of waiting time to tick-off little jobs is also a brilliant trick. Last week, Amy from ‘House of Eilers’ referred to her “Cup of tea” challenge where she sets the water to boil and then sees how much she can get done before the water is ready. That made me smile – it was like finding a kindred spirit!