Starting the new year with a plan

One of the catalysts for deciding to change the work that I did and more importantly the way that I worked was to give myself some flexibility with my days. I used to dream about not having to get up at 5.45am to get my exercise done before work, and when we arrived here in the Barossa almost 6 months ago, I made the most of that. Getting up in time to get everyone to school, going to the gym, grabbing a coffee and then getting home. It was nice for a time, but then I realised I was slipping further and further behind.

I have started this new school year afresh. I’ve decided that if I want to get everything done, I do need to get up early and get my exercise out of the way. This morning, for the first day back at school, I was up at 5.40am, at the gym by 6am and back at 7.15am in time to get the boys ready and get to school and pre-school. Apart from not worrying about fitting in my workout all day, I have realised that if I exercise first thing, I’m more energised and most importantly, I tend to go to bed earlier and sleep better.

Admittedly setting up a new home, making new friends and settling the boys into school was a priority for our first 6 months, and took up a fair bit of time. But I’d also fallen in to the trap of feeling like there were hours between school drop off and pick-up, and so I rarely had a plan for my days, despite the fact I was studying and had a house to run.

While part of a career change was flexibility, I have realised that this doesn’t mean not having a plan. My career change was also because there were other things I wanted to do apart from work – like exercise, cooking, sewing and being involved in the community – which altogether add up to a full time job. And at some point in the near future, I hope to add work into that list, so I have decided to start the new (school) year with more of a plan.

On the school front this is going to mean spending an extra 30 minutes or so each night to get organsied for the day ahead – setting out clothes and getting lunches packed. I’m also going to spend time at the weekends cooking food for lunchboxes, as I’ve also decided we need to be buying less stuff that comes in a packet. A friend referred me to The Organised Housewife and 50 freezer friendly lunchbox ideas which was great inspiration for a day of baking yesterday.

I’m also going back to a proper to do list and have been putting my stash of Kikki K stationery to good use – with a master to do list of everything that needs to get done, and then weekly list – where I select about 5 tasks to do each day. I’m going back to my old habit of finishing the day by writing the list for the next day – so I don’t spend the first hour at my desk writing a pretty list while checking Facebook. On that note, I’ve also been looking at some social media blocking software which I may install if I can’t be disciplined enough to manage my time on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram and Pinterest.

Finally, I’ve realised that our housekeeper from Vietnam isn’t going to magically appear, and with my husband looking to increase the hours he is working, I need to come up with a better plan to deal with the housework. It’s a bit easier keeping the house clean when the boys are at school, but I also find that housework becomes a distraction from study and writing. I’ve decided that apart from a lot more cleaning up as we go, I’m going to set up a weekly plan to tackle the big things like bathrooms, changing sheets and towels and floors. Not exactly exciting, but it has to be done.

In reality, it probably was good to have six months “off” to find my feet, but with big plans for the year ahead, putting some plans in place to get the most out of my days seems like a smart move. While I am also going to try and set aside a few hours each day to study and write, I can still be flexible if something else comes up, particularly if I can see what I had planned to get done on that day. I’m also hoping that by having a plan for my week, I will actually end up with more time to make the most of my spare time, rather than constantly feeling guilty about things that need to be done and playing catch-up.

How do you plan your days?

What are your best tips for getting tasks done?


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I started this blog almost 3 years ago when we first arrived in the Barossa Valley. I've always wanted to write and I wanted to share my experience of my career change, our move to this beautiful wine region and discovering my next adventure. After 15 years as a public servant working in Canberra, Beijing, China and Hanoi, Vietnam, I decided it was time for a career change and more importantly, a lifestyle change. In 2014, we left Hanoi and headed to the Barossa Valley in South Australia with a dream of a more fulfilling lifestyle in one of Australia's premier food and wine regions. My husband and I both work in the wine industry - where my job could be described as anything but making the wine. In 2017, I decided to wind-up the consulting business I established in 2015 and focus on learning as much as I could about the wine industry and writing - both on this blog and a memoir of our time in Vietnam. This blog is an opportunity for me to share my writing - about everything from motherhood, to career change, fitness, travel and our vine-change/career change experience.

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