What advice have you given your children, when they have had to say goodbye to one of their best pals? I had this moment last year when my 5 year old understood that this goodbye was going to be for a while:
“Mummy when will I get to see Lloydie again”
“My darling, its not quite as simple anymore, we have to get on a plane to see him. Which will take a bit more planning than we are used too. However you can always FaceTime him, and have virtual playdates.”
Lloyd's mummy happens to be my best friend, and so this was a hard goodbye for us both. We decided that this relationship wasn't one we wanted to drift into staying in touch via Facebook updates, but rather one where we stayed involved in one another lives.
This involved planning and scheduling.
Each Friday morning I have a quick facetime chat with my best friend, and the kids often have "virtual playdates". Showing each other what they had done at school, their new room/ house / toys. Its very cute, and to them perfectly normal.
There are lots of goodbyes associated with expat life, but if you plan and prioritise you can continue to have strong relationships with people all over the world. You just need to create a strong weekly routine that makes time and space for those relationships.
We believe one of the first things you should do when moving to a new country is to start to create a weekly routine. It helps to give you the certainty and structure you crave. Our formula for a successful life abroad is as simple as:
Quarterly Goals + Monthly Actions + Weekly Routines + Daily Habits = Successful Life Abroad!
5 Steps to Creating your New Weekly Routine
1. Review your Week
Create a time at the start / end of the week where you reflect on how you have got on during the week previously (using our FREE weekly worksheet). Then brain-dump everything you need to remember and accomplish in the following week. I now do this on a Friday morning, but many do it on Sunday evening, or first thing Monday morning (over a lovely cup of coffee )
2. Link into a bigger picture
Your weekly routine and daily habits help bring you closer to experiencing the life you want to create. Make time to figure out what your passions and principles are. Click the button below for our post on how to uncover your personal brand, working out what are the principles you would like to live by whilst abroad.
Or for an overview of my annual review click here
3. Time Block
Have an ideal week mapped out, so you have themed days, giving you variety and focus for each day. Where possible batch tasks together, shopping / cooking for the week, admin morning - emails / phone calls. When putting together your ideal week dont forget to put in time for the following:
- Exercise / self care - what do you need to do for yourself
- What do you need to do for those closest to you (family /
- What do you need to do for personal growth (books/
- How can you allocate your time better to maximise your resources (energy / money /
- What do you need to do for work (marketing / product development / admin/ meetings)
- Down Time
- Meal planning / Shopping
- Exploring new parts of town / Experiences new hobbies or activities
- date night / family night
- Kids homework / transport
- Admin (renew passports / accounts / emails / medical expenses)
- Facetime - time to call home, or write email to old friend
- Work schedule (try to put some boundaries into when and where you work)
4. Be Realistic
The advice from the 12 Week Year, is to focus not so much on which tasks you do or don’t achieve, but rather the percentage of tasks you manage to complete. Don’t get drawn into the details, just try to give yourself the right amount of structure that ensures you have had purpose to your day. Leave some white space for the unexpected, for that quick phone call to an old friend, or coffee with someone new in town, or you are feeling brave enough to venture off somewhere new. Ensure that you are making time to enjoy your time abroad.
5. Keep it flexible
If your life is anything like mine there are never really two weeks the same. My husband travels for work quite a bit, and then we have friends and family come stay. So the week is always changing. I therefore have a weekly routine A B and C, it keeps on changing and adapting. But the main principles that its planned / and structured around my own values and bigger picture hopefully stays the same.