“What If” – Brainstorming Rules For Myself That Would Improve My Day

I would like to open this (you’ll see why) by saying that I know what’s for dinner. Yellow rice & black beans with broccoli and stuffed sweet potato with balsamic date glaze. BECAUSE – I just got my copy of The How Not to Die Cookbook in the mail, which made meal planning extra exciting.


That’s settled.

Now I’d like to do a little brainstorming.

A few years ago, I saw Abby Glassenberg speak and one topic I found particularly helpful was about making your own set of rules for yourself in order to get more done. You can read her blog post on the topic here, and I recommend that you do.

I started thinking about adding some rules recently. I had just wandered around the house collecting dirty laundry for what felt like the hundredth time this week, then caught up on e-mails until 6 p.m. and realized it was dinnertime and I had zero plan for dinner. (This happens more frequently than it should to all of us, I suspect.)

Here are some potential rules I’ve been thinking about lately that could help smooth out my life.

What if…

I didn’t sit down in front of the computer until I had a plan for dinner.

I stopped picking the kids’ socks and laundry up off the floor.

I actually enforced the last activity being picked up and any homework done before I let the kids have screen time.

I didn’t go to bed until I knew what I was packing the kids for lunch the next day and whether they needed to bring back library books.

I didn’t serve afternoon snack until the kids unpacked their backpacks.

Doesn’t this all sound magical?

Running rules 

One house rule Greg and I used to joke about (but pretty much followed) was always that if you’re too sick or tired to run, no beer for you.

Another good one from one half marathon cycle was that I would always put on my gear first thing in the morning if I was supposed to run (instead of going downstairs in pajamas- put warm gear on over the running stuff if needed). It’s much harder if you have to set that cup of coffee down and go change out of your flannels.

Some of these rules take little effort and are about choosing the optimal time for a task rather than adding to my workload. But the impact is big. I love knowing what’s for dinner or what I’m packing in tomorrow’s lunchbox ahead of time.

Do you have rules for yourself?


1 comment

  1. When my kids were little, I had two rules – “if you’re too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to watch TV” and “if Mom is taking a nap, DO NOT wake her up.”

    Now the only rule I have relates to running – “never deviate from the route. ” This is in case someone comes looking for me and in case I’m tempted to cut it short. : )

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