There is the saying: I got out of the wrong side of the bed today.
A rather silly saying, but used to mean, “I didn’t get the day started off properly” and once things started off in the wrong direction, well…down the hill it went, like Jack and Jill, and no one could quite get it back the rest of the day.
Sometimes, a bad start to the day is as simple as a spill of milk or running out of coffee. Other times though, the alarm goes off and you don’t get up. You roll over, skip the workout, talk yourself out of your morning routine and then it’s a rush to get into traffic, a rush to sit in it and a rush to get out. Life is no fun and worse, we grumble about it and make it no fun for everyone around us. We know this isn’t good for us. We know we feel better when we stick to our routines, do our workout, eat healthy, take a shower and throw in that laundry before we are sniffing the undies in hope that they are clean, so why oh why do we let ourselves get into the mess of life in the last-minute lane?
It’s because we are living a reactive life rather than a proactive one. It’s a matter of making sure the garden is full of beautiful flowers that has no room for weeds to grow, or letting things slide so far that all you have now is a big weed garden and all you do is pull weeds and have no fun.
I want my home to be a pretty place with a cheery welcoming front door, with an organized life behind that door, pretty flowers and a peaceful, fun atmosphere. I want my body to be healthy and trim, exercised and well nourished, my family fed and in shape as well. I want our business to be successful and flourishing. I want to explore my creativity, challenge my comfort zones and expand my horizons while maintaining my identities as a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend.
However, I also enjoy being a published writer, coach and an artist. I want to paint more. I want to do more with my photography. I love many aspects of creativity and my creative playground is a place where I could hang out for hours, writing and painting, playing my guitar, my drums, hanging out in my garden, or I could get lost in the world of reading books….and not come back to the real world for hours.
Of course, there is the wonderland rabbit hole of the Internet. Read just one post and leave a comment. Then notice another interesting title. Click on it. Follow down the rabbit-hole to somewhere interesting…read…leave a comment…notice one of your favorite “Friends” put up a new post…click…follow..read..comment..repeat…funny-how-the-day-went away.
If any single one of these things creative fun things are the first item on the day’s list, nothing else at all could get done.
No exercise, no work, no laundry, no dinner for the family, no grocery shopping, no return phone calls to whoever was on the TO DO list. Then the next day piles up, and the next and soon life turns in to a big catch up game. The house isn’t clean. I don’t know what is for dinner. I feel more sluggish because the exercise didn’t happen. And oh, by the way, now the muse has left me because the muse thinks I should go get my dang housework done too!
First things first.
In author, Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Very Successful People, his third habit is one that has really resonated with me. It’s the habit of Putting First Things First. I won’t go into detail about his explanation but I highly recommend the book and particularly this habit really has been a life-changing habit for me.
In order for my life to work, things have to be done in a certain order. I need to get up in the morning and have my meditation time. That is the most important first for me. The time of the day to get centered and focus on gratitude and love and priorities. Miss that one, and I have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed. Then I have to check that list of things to do. Then the kitchen, the daily chores, and laundry. Then the family all settled and then exercise. EVERY DAY. Then and only then can I turn on the Creative Juice. If I do it backward and let the juices flow first, they spill all over and get things soggy. Now, the added advantage is the Muse will most often come and visit while I am in the routine of the ordinary. When I am doing the little ordinary things where the brain can switch off, then my mind can wander off to play with the muse and go visiting off to *wonderland* that beautiful little world of “I wonder this and I wonder that”, which is a very creative place for a writer’s brain to be.
This isn’t to say that I always get this right. This is to say, in fact, that I start to get it right…stumble…fall…get back up and start again. But I do know how to do it right when I’m not distracted. When I focus on putting first things first. When I start my day right side up. Sunny side up.
How about you? What is your routine? How do you manage to be a creative person and keep it all together? Do you do the same things every day in the same way? Do you have a first things first list? An order to your madness? Please share!