My Very Simple Schedule

This became so easy once I knew what I really wanted.

I quit my day job at the end of December (after 19 years in the same career) in order to focus on growing my business and on writing novels.

Suddenly, I was free! I could do what I wanted all day! But apparently, doing what I "wanted" all day just wasn't that easy. I was behind on rest, needed a full-body detox, had a lot of organizing to do after moving, was behind on personal business tasks, and had some family emergencies arise in February that needed my full attention.

Also, I am a person who can't seem to just relax and go do what I want until all the stuff I need to get done is done. It drives me nuts to write or work among heaps of clutter and un-finished tasks I need to do all piled up around me. It's distracting and suffocating.

So I made daily schedule after schedule, to do lists, weekly schedules, and monthly plans. I tried organizing my day every which way. I read books and blog posts about it and tried everyone else's methods and ideas. Some things worked kind of okay for a day or two, but I couldn't seem to stick to any daily schedule I made--not complicated ones, not simple ones, not in-between ones.

My various (failed) attempts to organize my day and week.

Then, I had the epiphany of  How to Live Like a Millionaire in a hotel room in San Diego a couple weeks ago. With my core dream-life goals suddenly obvious (see that post for details,) I was able to make a very simple daily/weekly schedule that I actually want to follow. Key word: WANT. Now that I want to do what's on my schedule, I have no trouble following it.



How I Made My Very Simple Schedule

First, I discovered and embraced my true, basic daily dream-life goals (yoga at a studio + writing/working in coffee shops.)

Second, I checked the local yoga studio's class schedule and chose a block of time around my most desired classes (9:00 - 11:00,) and then the rest of my VSS (Very Simple Schedule) fell into place:
  • 7-9 House
  • 9-11 Yoga at studio
  • 11 - 4 Write in coffee shops
  • 4-6 House
I would do this sequence 4 days per week, I decided. That would be enough to feel I was getting plenty of yoga at the studio as well as several hours of coffee shop writing. I would also have two daily blocks of time in the "House" to either relax or take care of House Things like filing my taxes and mopping the kitchen floor. Then, the other 3 days of the week would be used for other necessities and goals:

  • 1 day = appointments (dentist, etc.) and errands
  • 1 day = work on building my business
  • 1 day = off
This gave me a 7 day week that meets all my objectives. I can move the days around as needed, and I can use the day off for whatever needs to happen that week that might be unexpected or unaccounted for in the schedule already.

How's That Very Simple Schedule/Millionaire Life Working Out?

Well, last week was my first week back home to try out the Very Simple Schedule. It was my birthday week, so I spent my "day off" with my mom. I'm in the middle of painting my kitchen walls and cabinets, so I spent my "building my business" day plus one yoga/writing day painting. And painting. And painting.

BUT.

Monday and Wednesday, my days at the yoga studio + coffee shop writing, were perfect. I started the day with an hour and a half of gentle yet challenging movement, in the company of an excellent teacher and a roomful of peaceful yogi souls. I discovered a new coffee shop near the yoga studio that had free parking, wasn't jam-packed, and didn't play loud music. I also found an organic juice bar and superfoods cafe I didn't know existed in my town, not far from the coffee place. My mind and body whispered thank you a jillion times throughout those two days. I lived in the moment. I was exuberant. I was free.

It completely reinforced the whole idea of Living Like a Millionaire being all about experiences, not things.

Let's Make YOUR Schedule.

Step 1: Figure out your dream life. What are the life experiences you're craving? What would YOU do if you had a million dollars? DO, not be or have. What's your dream life in terms of experiences and activities? How can you block out your time and days, simply, and in such a way that you make time for those activities? (Even if the dream activity is, as Peter in Office Space told his neighbor Lawrence, "Nothing." Fine! Schedule in a block of Nothing. I think that sounds awesome.) Ponder these questions a little. Ask in a journal, then sleep on it. Get the journal out the next morning and write down the first answers that come to mind. It may not come to you in the form of a neat little schedule just yet, and that's okay.

Step 2: Create a realistic, simple schedule that incorporates those experiences at least two or three times a week, for a significant chunk of time. I'm saying 2 hours a day. If you do something you absolutely love for two hours at a time at least twice a week, you're going to feel awesome.

You might say to me, but Jayla, I just don't have time to squeeze anything else in. I have a full-time job that I can't just up and quit like you did. I hate you.

Okay, I get it. I hate me too. :) But if I couldn't afford to quit and live off savings until I built my business, I would do two things: 1) get a different full time job that didn't suck my lifeblood from me like a thirsty vampire, and 2) organize my dream life schedule around that job, making a VSS (Very Simple Schedule) that looks something like this:
  • 6-8 Yoga at a studio, at least 2 days a week. The other days, maybe quick home workout, or just have an easy, slow morning with tea, journaling, and peacefulness.
  • 8-5 Work at a low-stress job that pays the bills and that I don't loathe
  • 5-7 House stuff 2 days per week, coffee shop writing 3 days per week
  • Saturdays - Yoga, then coffee shop writing, errands on the way home
  • Sundays - off/light housework if need be/bulk cooking so I have more time during the week

"But My Situation is Different."

You might say to me (as my cousin-twin Torie did,) but Jayla, what I would do if I had a million dollars is build a Scandinavian-style cottage on some rolling hills somewhere. You can't just schedule that in unless you really have the money to do it.

Okay, fine. What is the experience you're seeking by having that home? Minimalism? Beauty in your surroundings? Peace and quiet? How can you bring those things into your current home? How can you seek peace and quiet in the midst of your daily chaos? If you want to live in a clean, minimalist home, that's easy. Purge your belongings unmercifully and donate them, then put everything else away in drawers, cabinets, and closets. Deep clean your house, take down all the crap on the walls, paint them a soothing shade of white, and put one healthy green plant in each room. :)

If you crave peace and quiet, go out in nature. Or if you're a city dweller, find a quiet corner or room at the local library. The point is, how can you bring the experiences you most desire into your life now, without a million dollars? Brainstorm that out, and be open to any and all new ideas. Get outside of the box. Be daring and unconventional in solving this riddle.

You might say to me, but Jayla, what I would do if I had a million dollars is get a BMW.

Okay, I get it. I want a BMW too. But what is the experience you're seeking in having an expensive "status" car? Going on pleasurable drives, while looking cool and getting respect? What's your REAL need or desire here? How can you meet that need right now in your current vehicle and with your current life? Get your car detailed, or do it yourself, spruce it up and fix any mechanical issues. Conduct yourself like a mature adult who owns up to their mistakes, takes care of their responsibilities, and treats others with compassion and respect, and I guarantee you'll look cool and get all the respect you ever wanted.

And you don't need a million dollars for that.

What's your VSS? If you truly scheduled in your top 2 dream-life goals as if they were your part-time job, how would you incorporate them into your day and week? Let me know! And it had better fit onto one sticky note! (Pics welcome. :))

He's the emperor of Nandala, but sadly, not a millionaire.


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