Sometimes life knocks us around a bit. When that happens, often the life-giving routines and disciplines that normally feature in our days and weeks get a bit off-track, and we can look around one day and realise – we need a bit of a reboot.
Enter – the Reboot List.
My reboot list comes out when I realise that things just feel a bit off, and I need to reorient around some key points of reference – around the things that I know set me up for the best kind of week, and life.
Here’s what’s on my reboot list:
Prioritize sleep –
Years ago, I was struck by a HBR article that said that only 2.5% of people can function properly on less than seven hours of sleep, yet the vast majority of people think they are part of that tiny minority.
In his book ‘Sleep Smarter’, Shawn Stevenson writes that –
“Evidence shows that people in Western countries are sleeping on average 1½ to 2 full hours per night less than we did just a century ago. It has become a chronic issue that somehow we have ‘forgotten’ how to do something that should come completely naturally to us as human beings.”
If it is humanly possible (ie – unless you are the parent of a small child), prioritising sleep should be on your reboot list.
I work strange hours across timezones as part of an international team, and I travel quite a bit and fight the accompanying jet lag, but I know that when I am successful in prioritising getting enough sleep, everything is different. Everything is better. That’s why it’s right at the top of my Reboot List.
Get moving –
I am what you might call absolutely terrible at sports. I once broke both my arms simultaneously playing indoor netball. That takes a very particular set of skills. Or rather, a very particular lack of them.
At a certain point I began to realise that exercise didn’t have to involve a ball, a competition, or other people. That’s when things started to look up for me and movement.
I know that when I’m fitting regular movement into my schedule, it’s better for my health, but also for my well-being in general.
Prioritize nutrition –
When you’re really under pressure, food can shift from beneficial fuel, to functional necessity. For me, part of my reboot process is getting back to basics on planning my meals around high nutritional value.
This can be a particular challenge when travelling, due to the lack of control over available options. However, as much as it’s possible, it’s still always worth looking for the most nutritious options.
I know not everyone believes in vitamins. I do.
Many years of experience have taught me that the right supplements make a huge difference to my health and wellbeing. However, in the busyness of life and travel, sometimes I get out of the habit. That’s why they feature on my reboot list.
I have four key vitamins/supplements that I’ve found make the biggest contribution to my health, and I always feel better when they I’m taking them daily.
In this context, systems means the organisational frameworks of my life. When these are running smoothly, I feel so much more calm, focused and empowered. I’ve included two key systems on my Reboot List – the physical and digital. This section on your list might also include things like financial systems such as budgets, or family routine systems that ensure quality time together.
Physical environment –
Since I work from home when not travelling, how my physical environment makes me feel is particularly important. If my most-used spaces feel bright, organised and under control, I mentally feel so much calmer and more focused. My reboot list reminds me to tune up those little daily habits to keep things at their best in my physical environment.
Digital environment –
Keeping my digital environment under control is something I’m pretty deliberate about. I have a spreadsheet which details the things I need to do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly to manage my digital workflow, filing, banking, media, syncing, etc.
Why am I so specific about keeping this organised? Firstly, because it is an absolute nightmare to try to get back on top off once it gets out of control. Secondly, because I do my best work when all these ‘loops’ are organised, and I know I’m regularly checking in on them.
When things get busy, though, these routines can get a bit haphazard, so I make sure I review and get back on track with them as part of my Reboot List.
3. Life-giving Activities
Of course, life isn’t just about those things we must do or should do. It’s also about what helps us live fully alive, able to bring to the world those unique contributions we’re designed for. A reboot list should also include those things that are life-giving for our souls.
Devotional life –
Prioritising time spent in prayer, journalling and reading the Bible is an important part of my reboot list. My faith is central to my life, and this time is one of the most significant investments I can make to be deliberate about crafting a life that honours what I value most.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably know I’m a big reader. Usually, I average about a book a week. So one of the tell-tale signs that I’m really overloaded and have too much going on in the back of my mind is when my reading drops off.
Reading is on my reboot list not because I feel obligated to do it, but because I know that it’s life-giving for me. I know that accessing new, interesting and important ideas through reading is stimulus that helps me feel like my most creative self, and helps me make mental connections that inform my work and writing.
As you would also know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, writing outside of my work commitments is one of the things that can fall away when life gets too full. When I buckle down and commit to do it regularly, however, I feel lighter and more inspired in general, which in turn spills over into other areas of life like work.
Encouraging others –
One of my core values is that I want to be someone who encourages, celebrates and champions others. I love doing it, and I love having done it. Sometimes purely through busyness, however, this doesn’t always translate from intention into action.
Putting this on my reboot list reminds me to make sure I’m taking concrete steps to turn these thoughts into action, and be a life-giving influence for others as well as myself.
Why You Should Create A Reboot List
The thing about a Reboot List is that it’s intended for when you feel a bit overwhelmed and out of your normal routines. That’s exactly the time when you need something already written down and defined by you as high-impact activities – an external point of reference to work from, not something you’re figuring out moment to moment in your too-full days.
Try listing the most important routines and activities that help you feel like you’re on track and set up to win at your priorities. Consider if you’ve included items in each of the three categories above, or if there are other major categories for your list.
To help you create your own Reboot List, you can download a PDF worksheet here – Creating a Reboot List