Feeling Pulled in a Million Directions? Try Zones

Do you ever feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions? There’s a lot to do in a given week, isn’t there? 

We have our work, our personal life, our social life, family, and the household. Laundry needs to be done, groceries bought, house cleaned, plants watered, gardens tended to, lightbulbs replaced, and let’s not forget that we ourselves, need to be somewhat groomed and fit for public viewing. 

Oh, and kids. A lot of you have kids. Apparently, they come with a whole slew of responsibilities as well.

How does one stay on top of it all? 

Last week we talked about time-blocking, which is how I divide my schedule up to make sure I get my work done, without being too boring and anti-social. 

This week I want to dive even further into my methods, and I want to talk about Zones. 

 

There is ALWAYS something that needs to be done.
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

 

I first heard about the concept of zones in a gardening context. My favorite garden YouTuber, Laura from Garden Answer, was explaining how she manages to keep her (very) large property and multiple garden areas looking great all the time. 

She said that she divided the property into 5 zones, and every morning, M-F, she would head to that day’s zone and prune, dead-head, plant–and basically clean it up. Larger infrastructure or planting jobs were added to an ongoing list for afternoon and weekend projects. But by using zones, she knew that every area would be tended to at least once a week. 

I started with the obvious–doing the same with my garden. My land isn’t nearly as extensive, but I do have multiple garden areas. I don’t have a ton of time to devote to the gardens during the week, but if I wait until the weekends, there’s just too much to do. 

So, Mondays I go down to the front terraces. Tuesdays I tackle the back garden, Wednesdays are my houseplants day, Thursdays I do the front of the house and the verandah, and Fridays I deal with the succulent garden. I’m in and out in 20-30 minutes max, between walking Tango and having my breakfast, and it worked like a dream! 

 

Dividing my weekly chores into daily zones helps me stay on top of things.

 

In fact, It worked so well, I decided to divide other parts of my life into zones as well. The next one was household chores. Mondays, I do a clean sweep (pun intended) After 2 days of my husband being in the house over the weekend, well, let’s just say he’s not a firm believer in the concept of “putting anything back” 30 minutes later, the clothes are picked up, the dishes, 100’s of cups of half-drunk tea, and various books, papers, tools, and pretty much anything you can think of has been dealt with. 

Tuesdays I clean out the fridge. Buh-bye leftovers that didn’t get eaten, tubs of sour cream that are starting to turn *interesting* colors, the last of the lettuce that will spend it’s final days in my compost bin. Wednesdays the housekeeper comes every other week, but on the weeks she doesn’t come, I change the sheets and clean the stove and the microwave and do a quick wipedown of the bathrooms. Thursdays I do laundry, and Fridays I try to get to the fish guy and the grocery store. 

I found that there is no end to what you can divide into zones. From grooming: Monday hair washing and Friday manicures (and everything in between happening on T, W, Th) to zoning my social media: Check out my feed and you’ll see a clear M-Th posting design. It’s all about the zones. 

The final frontier for me was to zone my work tasks: Mondays I have discovery calls, do some basic admin work for the week, and trainings for my Creatives Leadership Academy program, Tuesdays and Thursdays I see coaching clients all day, Wednesdays I do writing tasks, and Fridays I do my money things–contracts and invoices, proposals, stats, banking, and a general tying up of loose ends. 

 

There isn’t much you Can’t break up into zones.
Photo by Brooke Lark by Unsplash.com

 

But friends, you can zone anything! 

 

  • Practicing? You can put a different focus on every day: Vibrato, Left Hand, Right hand, shifts, intonation, speed, memorization, sight reading, and repertoire exploration. 
  • Cooking? You can assign a broad “kind” of food for each night. Soup night, pasta night, fish night, etc. 
  • Workouts? Keeping in touch with friends/family? What you wear? Anything. 

 

I’m obsessed. Here are my top 5 takeaways:

 

1. It ensures that I can cover everything in a 7-day period

Nothing gets neglected for too long. 

 

2. It keeps decision fatigue at bay

No more: What should I take care of today? When everything needs doing, we tend to shut down and do nothing at all. 

 

3. It all becomes much more efficient

Since I’m only focusing on one thing, and that same thing every week, the choreography of it sticks. On Tuesday mornings, I walk to the fridge and get to it. It’s fast, it’s easy, and because I do it every week, it really doesn’t take very long. 

 

4. It’s easy to switch around if you need to.

Rain on Tuesday? I can water and clean up my houseplants that day instead, and do the back vegetable beds on Wednesday when it’s cleared up. 

 

5. I have a deeper understanding of each task

Cleaning out the refrigerator each week keeps me aware of what we have, what we’re running low on, what needs to be used up in the coming days, etc. Far more so than if I did it as a part of a whole kitchen blitz. I’d be speeding through it, trying to get through it and on to the next. When you do one thing each day, it sticks with you. 

Okay–what about you? What can you divide into zones this week? Keep me posted!

Have a great week! 

Cheers, 

Kate

P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post and want more insider info on how to thrive as a creative, be sure you get on the list to receive my Friday “Weekend List.” Each one is loaded up with additional tips, tricks, and things to think about, including a new curated list of articles, books, podcasts, and things that I think you’d enjoy.  Click Here to Get the Weekend List! 

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