Changing my rout(ine)

In Week 25 of The Great Wake-Up we were challenged to change our usual daily route - quite a challenge!

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This week's challenge was a tricky one given my daily route is about ten steps across the landing to my office, so once again it was time to think laterally. And, once again, Chris has given me just the right challenge at just the right time.

I came into self-employment with a utopian dream of merging my work into my life, making time for my passions and for being kind to myself. And, to a degree, I have succeeded. Most mornings I roll out of bed, pull on my boots and walk three or four miles along the river, after which I park myself at my computer and crack on (business is good...)

But that's not really living the dream.

So this week I decided to mix it up, and I used one of my favourite tools to help me - my diary. (Side note, I have a stationary fetish - pens, notebooks, post-its, I just can't get enough of them, and it plays right into my love of organisation and design.) Hands up, I colour-code my diary, so I can see each week spread over the two A3 page and get an instant look at the mix of activities: dark blue is work, light blue is networking (work...), green is health (walking...) and red and pink are supposedly for creativity and fun respectively. Other than my weekly Wake-Up blog, my diary has been resolutely at the cool end of the colour spectrum for a long time.

Time to inject some heat! Monday I started the day with a big pink block of wake up slow - yep book and tea in bed while I "should" have been working. I also added a tweak to my weekly yoga class - parking in a different place that, although it was further away, meant no tricky crossing of a busy road. Ha, proper change of route and it was lovely to walk past our beautiful cathedral on the way to and from class.

Tuesday I couldn't avoid the blue-wash of a day of phone calls, so I started the day with a walk along a different route down to a hidden green. This did mean doing circuits of the green to get a good walk, but the compensation was no traffic, just birdsong (there is a road all along my river route - not a busy one, but still...) I also pulled out my iPod during my lunch-break for twenty minutes of (pink) dancing like no one was watching - great energiser for the afternoon.

Wednesday I was really proud of myself; I added some red with garden photos (and thought I'd share one) and again managed a change of route by choosing one car park in town for my afternoon appointments and walking to them all from there (big change for me, but one I'm going to adopt!) Then, to cap it all off, I had dinner with a friend (pink, pink, pink cocktails) and didn't get home until 11pm. This is a major routine change that only my self-employment makes possible!

I thought I'd have a lie-in again Thursday, but it turns out the energy of fun lasts overnight, so I actually woke up early and started the day with an extra-long walk and then, as part of my lunch-break, I did some yoga for a change of pace and then, naughtily, gave myself the afternoon off to read and goof off. So today, I'm sitting here looking pack at a proper, full-spectrum, week with more energy than usual for the weekend and all of my work still done (including some creative solutions that mysteriously occurred to me while I was goofing off). What a timely reminder to look up from rut!


cat lover, wife, designer, analyst (the spreadsheet kind...), friend, sister, daughter, writer, consultant, lover of beauty...


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
The photo is superb and I like the way you adapted the challenge, very clever how you did that. And it seems you got a lot out of it.
Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
Oh Vanessa I so wish I had this level of flexibility. You absolutely live it to the the full!
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Jacqui, it is fab (if kind of scary...) to be self-employed, and a big driver for me is remembering to be grateful for how lucky I am! I can still remember the 10-14 hour days (plus commute...) five (or even seven) days a week that for so long felt normal. I think that's why I forget to mix it up now. But the biggest lesson in the change has been learning to set my boundaries and, looking back, there are some I could have set even in my corporate life. The best advice I ever got was to think about the things you love most and apply your imagination with no holds barred to building more of them into your life. I didn't land where I expected, and I think I'm still travelling, but it's been freeing to move into the driver's seat.
Go to the profile of Sarah-Kate Goodwin
over 5 years ago
Vanessa I absolutely LOVED this post! Needless to say I am in complete lust for your lifestyle and am in awe of your ability to set boundaries and stick to them!Self employment is a dream for so many, but a difficult one as it requires so much self discipline so hats off to you for taking the plunge. You have inspired me 100per cent to mix up my day with a healthy balance of work, health and COCKTAILS! Thank you for this motivating post! Im off to the shops to buy me some highlighters and a new diary!(I thought I was the only one with a stationary fetish). I loved how creative you got with the whole changing your route(ing), another wee reminder to think outside the box and use our
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Ha! More brilliant Vanessa creativity. Spot on, great post. Thanks C x
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
Love this too :) must get out my highlighters too thank you for the top tip and lovely shot of the garden x
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Sarah-Kate and Fi, I am sooooo happy to share my stationary fetish!