So often when I am preparing for the day ahead, either the night before or early in the morning, I feel heavy. Like I have to show up fully in so many different arenas from home to work to community. It can be overwhelming and inspire me to crawl back in bed. But mostly I don’t.
I spend a lot of time in the Optimize.me platform which I reference often. One of the concepts that has helped me tremendously is that we don’t have to see a full day, as one unit. But rather we can break it into “blocks” and plan recovery time in between them.
I tried applying this strategy a few months ago. After the December holiday dust settled in early January, I realized, yes, we are in 2021 and yes, we are still operating in COVID precautions I felt overwhelmed by the constraints of my time, knowing that in the current environment I have very little of it. So I took this concept and went from theory to practice by breaking my day into four quadrants:
QI: The previous night’s rest (duration and quality of sleep.)
QII: AM Protocol (my morning routine of moving, mediation, prayer and writing)
QIII: Work Day (my “day” job)
QIV: Evening (mostly with Zach)
By doing this, I can manage the intimidation the upcoming day might bring. I unpack the day into segments and only focus on the one I am in. When I wake up (if I have been kind to myself) I can already take credit for rocking QI: A good night of sleep. This earns me a star in the upper left of four quadrants.
When I am planning my day, I don’t see it as a full on “marathon” which starts at 5:30am and ends at 9:30pm. It is too much to think about and can drive me right into analysis paralysis (the tendency to analyze rather than take action.). Instead, I think about the current, or next quadrant only.
Unpacking the days events/demands this way not only makes them seem more manageable but magically, when I fall short in any quadrant it does not ruin a full day, only part of it. I still have 3/4 quadrants to rock.
For example, a tough work day, does not have to lead into my time with Zach in the evenings. When I experience high stress during the work day, I can acknowledge it, and let it go while I transition into the next quadrant.
Simply saying to myself “Well, that sucked…but I can rock my time with Zach” during the mental transition helps me leave the negative energy in one part of my day, without having to let it take over what’s left.
Similarly, if unable to actually get a good night’s rest, I know paying extra attention to my AM protocol (aka rocking QII) can positively shift the energetic trajectory of my day, even though I may not have recovered fully from the day before by getting sufficient sleep.
Ultimately, approaching the day in segments allows me to experience less extreme “ups and downs.” Oscillating this way prevents my mind to going full bore into a “what a terrible day“ (which can lead into a terrible couple of days, a week, etc.). By unpacking each segment, I need only show up for the one I am in, and give it my best, which is (nearly) always enough.