Katie Forrest

Writing About Creativity, Special Needs Parenting, Time Management & Life Dispatches.

Productivity & Life Hacks: Personal Rules

As we head towards what promises to be the third calendar year impacted by the COVID pandemic, it’s fair to say that the changes we made in response to the start of lockdown just aren’t cutting it any more.

As I like to say, a crisis is unexpected and short term.

We’re now officially in a long term situation that most of us have never imagined the likes of, never mind experienced before.

How do we manage when or basic freedoms are stripped away from us, at intervals we can’t predict or control, for our own safety?

How do we maintain and grow careers when the schools might close for another 10 days without a moment’s warning?

For example…

How do we stay positive and engaged when access to our support circles is affected, when our work day has become a 12-hour Zoom fest, when we’ve lost people we love, realities we took for granted, and so much of ourselves as well?

I believe that personal rules can make a difference. You can also call these boundaries or ‘make it once’ decisions.

Whatever you call them. they’re incredibly helpful when our bandwidth is exhausted.


Because the personal rule makes decisions for you. You don’t have to actively make every decision when you have a personal rule in place.


For example, I have a personal rule that I don’t eat after 9pm. I’ve had this rule for years, and it serves me well. There’s no reason I need to eat food at that time, so close to my bed time, and so if I’ve ever not had dinner and it’s approaching 8pm or 8.30pm, I know I need to grab something super quick, or just not have dinner.

You can create a personal rule for all areas of life – your childcare, your working hours, your social media use, your diet, your gift buying, etc.

Take a moment to consider an area of life that is causing you some stress or worry right now. And then brainstorm five personal rules you can consider implementing.


  • I only do one kids’ activity each week night
  • I don’t do any kids’ activities on Saturdays (if the swim meets are on Saturdays, your kids aren’t joining swim club – and don’t blame you, blame the personal rule!)
  • I don’t have other kids over for tea without 24 hours’ notice
  • Thursday is ‘eat out of the freezer’ night – don’t ask for anything else
  • I don’t stay up after _____PM, because I know that my body needs to rest
  • I don’t allow squeaky dog toys into the house (this is one of my real rules, much to my sister’s annoyance. She even tested it once by buying the dog a squeaky toy for Christmas… let’s just say the charity shop got a new squeaky toy drop off!)
  • I don’t buy for my husband’s relatives. He gets to enjoy doing that himself, just like I enjoy doing it for my side of the family.

Do you use personal rules? You probably already have some, maybe ones you’ve created without realising. Adding some more to the list can be a great little life hack.


Stay safe, and take care,



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