This month I’m hosting a series on Instagram called January R+R: 31 Days of Cultivating Life Rhythms and Routines. Each day, I’m posting a quick life rhythm or routine that helps me focus on the things that really matter. I invite you to join me, and feel free to focus on any of them that really speak to you. This is a weekly digest of the post for the week. Click for Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.
January R+R Day 22: The Daily Delete
I did not coin this term, and there’s a ton of ways to use it. Personally, I use this reminder each day to cull my photos and my emails. For photos, I delete the ones that will not go into my family yearbook, and I also make sure to look at my Dropbox (where I backup my photos in the cloud) to make sure that extra, unnecessary photos are not being backed up and taking up space. I also use this daily reminder to delete extra emails if I haven’t done so already. I try to operate under the “zero inbox” rule of thumb most of the time, but I do keep important emails (such as tracking numbers) in my inbox until whatever the email is referring to has been completed. I’m not always so good at this… I currently have over 150 emails in my Inbox. Yikes!
Focus prompt: Consider using a daily reminder in your phone to alert you to do your “Daily Delete.” I set mine for 9:30 because it is a time when I’m usually just hanging out reading or watching TV. What time works best in your schedule?
Day 23: Saying Yes/No
I used to think that a full and colorful day planner was the sign of a productive person. And while I still love my day planner (and use stickers and washi tape to make it fun), I’ve learned the joy of seeing white space on those pages. Knowing your own limits and boundaries is important for mental and emotional well-being, so this is your friendly reminder to say no to things that you don’t have time or capacity for. Everything that you say yes to is usually saying no to something else, which means that we must be judicious with our time and say yes to the things that really matter to us. If you are still identifying the things that really matter to you, I hope these rhythms and routines this month have helped you with some systems to help you make those most important decisions.
Focus prompt: Is there anything in my life right now is something I want to be saying No to? What about things I want to say Yes to? What practical steps do I need to take in order to be able to create white space in my planner?
Day 24: Document the journey
This is a routine that might not be for everyone, but it is something that I find life in, and I know that it helps me to leave a legacy for my children and future generations. Every week, I complete a digital scrapbook page that documents not only our photos for the week, but also life events. These pages are then compiled into a Family Yearbook at the end of the year. Our 2020 Yearbook arrived last week, and each family member took time to page through it, reliving the good and the bad from last year. Maybe you aren’t a scrapbooker, but you can also document your journey, either through journaling, or graphic art, or blogging. Whatever you choose, I encourage you to find some way to document your journey. You never know what future generations might want to know about you.
Day 25: Home refresh
I mentioned in the Cozy Spaces post that I’ve been reading Welcome Home by Myquillyn Smith. She talks in her book about the idea of “quieting” your home before decorating for the next season, and I love this idea. I’ve been putting it into practice for a long time, I just didn’t know how to name it. After each season, I look carefully at my current decor and put things away that don’t feel quiet. When I’m ready to decorate for the next season, sometimes those things will come back out, or be replaced by something else. I like to move things around, too, in order to refresh the decor and change things up. I try not to buy a lot of new things, but rather to shop what I already have.
Focus prompt: If you find yourself feeling bored with your space, try moving things around, or putting things away. Starting with a cleaner slate will help inspire you!
Day 26: Remember
My practice of remembering is different than documenting or reflection. It’s not something I do every day, or even every month, but it’s part of the fabric of who I am. And because I am also a documenter, I find many ways of remembering. One of my favorite ways of remembering is to scroll back through my Instagram posts. I’m almost always filled with love, warmth, and gratitude for this life that I live. I also like to look back through old journals and writing. This is a great way to see ways that I have grown, things that I have learned, or things I am still learning. It’s part of the practice of reflection, but it’s also different. Looking back at family pictures and scrapbooks also helps me remember that I am connected to something that is bigger than me, and hopefully I take that legacy with me as I go through my own life.
Focus prompt: When is the last time you took some time to remember? Take some time today to remind yourself of your blessings.
Day 27: Gratitude
My practice of remembering that I posted about yesterday almost always leads me into today’s practice: a practice of gratitude. I keep a gratitude list, similar to the idea in 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and it helps me name daily the blessings in my life. Finding joy in everyday things and practicing gratitude for my blessings keeps my eyes open to the wonder around me, and keeps me looking for the positive things, even when things are hard.
Focus prompt: Do you keep a gratitude list? Consider starting one today.
Day 28: Look ahead
Looking ahead includes everything from looking ahead to the practicalities of life that are on my calendar, to looking ahead to ideas and dreams for what I hope each new season of life might bring. Each month, I look at my calendar and make a list of what needs to be done (appointments, taxes, bills, etc.), what I am concerned about, and what I am hopeful for. Focusing my thoughts in this way helps me manage the practical side of things without being overwhelmed, and it helps me name the things that are worrying me. Naming those worrisome things helps me find practical solutions, and finding the things I am hopeful for keeps me working toward those goals.
Focus prompt: What’s coming on my calendar that I can take a step toward? Are there other things that can wait until later? What am I looking forward to in the coming season?
Thanks for joining me for week 4 of January R+R! We’ll finish up this series next week! If you enjoy these posts and know someone who would also like them, please share this post with them. I also have a monthly newsletter where I share more about my own life rhythms and routines and exclusive content like recipes and creative sharing and reflection to help you and encourage you on your journey toward leaving a legacy that matters. Click here to subscribe.
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