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Prepare what you need in advance

boundaries habits lifestyle preparation routines Feb 04, 2023

Author: Alicia Wade (Co-Founder 5 Minute Career Hack)

Let’s get one thing out of the way - I am a self-proclaimed bag lady. For years I have struggled with the fear of not having everything I need. If you are a fan of early 2000’s R&B you instantly started humming Erykah Badu’s, Bag lady. Maybe you even recall a line or two...“pack light, bag lady you can’t hurry up, you have too much stuff.”

Humbly, I have to admit the lines between perfectionism and preparation are often blurred, can you relate?

It wasn’t until 2021 when a dear friend blessed me with the notion that you just gotta do it ugly. This really changed the game for me. I found the right balance to push myself to action in many areas. This mindset shift started a green light season. First, the conversation was with me, then I could let go of some unrealistic expectations and found trust in my experience/s, education, and intuition.

This month let’s talk - Preparation.

How do you know that you are?

Let’s start small with daily habits that help us have successful days. For example - I am not a morning person, so I try to optimize all tasks to ensure my brain fog doesn’t impact the day. So I try to lay my clothes out the night before, I know it gives the first day of school vibes but there is nothing worse than being late because the pants you thought you would wear have a stain or don’t quite fit like you remembered. Another best practice is ensuring my workout bag is packed, in my car or workout is bookmarked in my Peloton app and time carved out on my calendar. These are pretty simple routines and require low effort but deliver a very high return daily.

You are probably thinking these are low stakes, what about high-stakes goals? Those goals that if you don’t find the sweet spot of preparation there is much more to lose. How do you prepare for these assignments? Well, my suggestion would be :

  1. Do not take on an all-or-nothing approach - If you drop the ball, don’t quit just restart immediately. Like who would know but you, push through and train your mind to be resilient and embrace failure as a part of the journey.
  2. Reverse engineer or start with the end in mind - this will keep you focused on your why and quickly help you spot non-critical steps and busy work you may be attached to.
  3. Set boundaries - for yourself and others and keep this simple, don’t overcomplicate this piece of the equation.
  4. Set milestones - you won’t get there quickly, so measure progress and celebrate you. It will feel weird but if you don’t clap for yourself, don’t expect others to.
  5. Recommit - our commitment is usually not what needs to be evaluated but our recommitment. So dust it off daily, rinse, and repeat. 

Whether you need help with keeping small or large commitments with yourself, it starts with preparation. You make room for both with small daily habits, repeated often.

Here are some suggestions to add to your preparation toolkit, to ensure you avoid burnout and frustration:

  • commit to at least 8 hours of sleep daily,
  • create white space,
  • take a break every day,
  • take time to journal, be quiet, and sit with your thoughts,
  • designate a no-kid zone in your house,
  • set time to connect with friends and family,
  • find routines that refuel not just fuel the work.

In closing, I want to end where we started with Bag Lady, by Erykah Badu. I hope this line inspires you to find what you need more or less of, “Dragging all those bags, I guess no one ever told you, all you have to hold onto is - you.”

My hope is, you keep you in mind and tend to who you are becoming. Prepare in advance.

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