Build A Better Day with Lindsay Cameron Wilson
Lindsay Cameron Wilson is a writer, food stylist, and podcaster based in Halifax, Canada with her husband and children and I was so excited to find out more about how she builds her days to work best for her. Lindsay hosts The Food Podcast, a monthly podcast where personal stories are shared through the lens of food, and I just love her simple and intentional approach to work and life.
How do you love to spend the first hour of your day?
I have a split life. Three days a week I hear the alarm and fumble for my workout clothes I've laid out beside my bed. I put them on in the dark, sometimes backwards, brush my teeth then drive to the gym for a session with a group of women. When I'm back I feel energized, so much so that I pack kid lunches and unload the dishwasher at lightening speed so I can sit down and sip my coffee quietly before the rest of the day begins. It's a race to relax. On the other mornings the coffee part comes first, often made by my husband. Sometimes I write as I sit sipping, sometimes I read. The 'quiet' is that part I hold on to. It takes practice finding quiet with people around, but I've figured it out.
How do you love to spend the last hour of your day?
I make sure my bed is made. I know this is silly, it's the end of the day, but getting into a made bed is so much better. So I tidy up my bed. Then it's teeth and face washing, usually with a child in the bathroom with me because I tend to go to bed when they do, around 9pm. I tuck kids in, then crawl into that made bed, and I read. ( I would like to say this process takes an hour, but really, it's more like 42 minutes, because I usually fall asleep after a few pages!)
What is a habit or ritual that has radically improved your daily life?
Years ago I was hired to write a book on juicing. I wasn’t a passionate juicer at the time, but I accepted the mission and dove in. For a time my skin glowed, my hair was fuller, and I felt bionic after every bright green infusion. But then I stopped. Perhaps it was the washing of the juicer, or the distraction of motherhood. Who knows. But I held on to that juicer and about 6 months ago, I dusted it off. Now juicing shapes my day because the habitual act of organizing my produce allows many meals to flow. This is how: when I get home from the market I wash all my greens, wrap them in a tea towel and store them in a container in the fridge. I fill the fruit bowl with apples, pears and lemons. I cut celery and store that too. This way, when the kids have left for school and it’s just me, all I have to do is reach for ingredients, plough them through the juicer, and voila! A tall glass of goodness, just for me. It's my time alone with my thoughts and my orderly fridge. It's more than just juicing...
What boundaries are essential for you to have a good day?
'Discipline and order creates a space for creativity’ has been a concept I had heard of, but never enforced for myself… until recently. I work from home freelance writing, podcast script writing and testing and photographing recipes. When I step outside the house for groceries and appointments, my tendency is to say, ‘while I’m out, I may as well pop into to that store, or go and see that person…’. It’s never quick. So I’ve learned to boomerang myself back home and get back at it, and say NO to commitments that take me away during the day.
You’re having a terrible day where it feels like everything is going wrong; what do you do to turn it around?
I go for a walk without earbuds in my ears. Just me and the city. This is when I sort things out, brainstorm, and clear my head. I always come back happier than when I left. I never regret a walk. A little dark chocolate in the afternoon also helps!
What has been your biggest challenge to building a better day and how have you overcome it?
'Building a better day’ was never my priority. My focus was macro - I wanted my work to resonate, inspire and someday align me with the people I learned from and admired. Being monetized would surely help with that, along with churning out content. More podcast episodes. Learning how to turn my art into paid work. Speaking at workshops. Taking workshops. Teaching workshops... anything to grow. But somewhere within the process of building, I lost what had always driven me - celebrating the everyday through story. How could I celebrate the everyday if my days were overstuffed, rushed, and overshadowed by a sense of inadequacy? So I paired back and began saying no to things that didn’t serve me or my family. I suppose the biggest challenge was shifting my perspective from a goal driven life to a goal driven day. And then, protecting that day. But the more I protect my days, the more I find to celebrate.
What tools, apps, or items are essential in supporting you to have a joyful and productive day?
There's so much in my phone that supports productivity, from Canva, a free graphic design app, to Instagram, where I share my work and connect with others, to email. But paying attention to TIME, that's what supports me the most. When I'm realistic about how much time I need for each chapter of the day, and try to stick to that (with phone away, this is critical!), I am the most productive. And then, joy will follow...
Is there anything you’re struggling with in your daily life right now that you want to improve? If so, how are you hoping to make a change?
Learning to pivot throughout the day can be a struggle when you're a parent who works from home. Yesterday my son called me from football practice; he had dislocated his shoulder. Today I received an email that read: 'school closed due to a power outage, please come and collect your children.' Some days are traumatic, some are chaotic, others are quiet and creative. I am learning to flow with the unplanned and surrender to missed deadlines. But each and every day I have to remind myself that the unexpected becomes fodder for often the best stories.
If someone was hoping to build a better daily life for themselves, how would you encourage them to start?
I understand that everyone has different needs for their daily life, from financial to emotional to physical. But irrespective of these specifics, I think we all have to ask ourselves, what makes me happy? When we're happy, we radiate, others lean into it, and clarity (and creativity) tends to thrive in this environment. Try to pinpoint what creates that feeling, and try to work in into your everyday. Juicing? Walking? Drawing? Dark chocolate at 3pm? It doesn't have to be large. Just pay attention and follow that thread.
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