For all those who are regular readers, or just happened to pop by Caffeine Addled Ramblings in time for my New Year’s post, you’re already aware of the fact that I’m a believer in Chinese astrology. With the Chinese New Year finally upon us and that darned shenanigan-focused Monkey finally out of our orbit, it’s time to concentrate on the settling effects of the Rooster instead.

The Rooster is predicted to benefit those who stick to practical, well planned paths this year as opposed to those more riskier ventures. So, what better time to discuss routine, scheduling and, most importantly, the self.

ROUTINE

Although I acknowledge how difficult it is, I cannot emphasise enough how important having a routine is. We humans are creatures of habit. Without a routine, we’re likely to end up ridiculously stressed, running on nothing but will power and caffeine, wasting time because we must double and triple check everything.

With a routine, however, we can increase efficiency, build momentum and save valuable time and energy that can be spent on things we’d rather be doing (such as curling up in bed with Netflix or going out with friends). That means that you’re less stressed, procrastination won’t be your best friend anymore and you’ll even sleep better!

SCHEDULING

Now that you’ve thought about routine, it’s time to think about scheduling to help you set up a work-life balance. Scheduling helps you set goals – what do you want to achieve this day? This week? This month? This year? It’s a good idea to add time into your weekly routine to schedule what you’re doing for the next seven days so that you’re using your ‘need to work’ time more effectively.

As part of your scheduling, write up a to do list and label their priorities. What needs to be done right now? What can wait a few days? Arrange these for the times of day when you’re most productive — Is it a morning task or an evening task? Schedule in some contingency time in case something comes up and you’re not able to do it right then and there. Try implementing these three things for a week and see how you feel.

THE SELF

Making time for yourself if perhaps the most important thing you can think of while setting up your routine and organising your schedule. This is time where you’re not thinking about work or about things that need to be done. You’re simply being.

It’s important that this time be filled with things and people that you love — it’ll keep you positive and boost your energy and confidence. Take the time to pursue a hobby that you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe try a yoga class or something of the like. Get out and go for a walk or catch a movie at your local cinema. Goof around and don’t scared of being selfish for a little while, thinking about yourself instead of your client(s) or boss.

Recently, I’ve been a mess: staying up until 4 or 5am working and then not waking up until it’s almost noon, barely spending more than an hour away from my screen because I must hit this word count or make that deadline – but that’s what’s so wonderful.

Now you know what my inner circle knows, I’m in the exact same place as everyone else. I’m not some guidance wizard that has it all sorted, I’m telling you exactly what it is that I plan to do and am invited you to come and join me.

So, as we welcome in this fresh chapter of our book, at the start of the Chinese New Year, come join in me create the most productive, efficient, healthier and happier month yet.