A New Work Routine For A Super Productive Day
Something I'm sure that we all strive for when it comes to our work day is making them productive as possible. And we all know the frustration and annoyance of sitting at our desks all day and seemingly still not getting anything done, I've had that happen far too many times. So when I came back to work after taking some time off something I made sure to do was to work on getting my day to day routine a little better rather than going back to what I was doing, which was far from healthy nor was it productive. When you're self-employed and don't have a traditional work structure, bad habits are all too easy to slip into and it's so easy to forget why you became self-employed in the first place. So this is what my current routine looks like and it's helping me be not only productive but allowing time in my routine for other things, which is exactly what I wanted.
THE THINGS I AM DOING
A FREE MORNING
Probably one of the worst habits that I ever slipped into was getting up at 5am or even earlier and opening my laptop and starting work as soon as I opened my eyes. And it worked for a short time but I soon started to burn out and it tainted my relationship with what I was doing. Of course, there will be the rare occasion that I will need to do this if I have a really busy day but it's definitely not something I need to do every day. Now when I wake up for the day I don't reach for my laptop, I let myself enjoy my morning, I have breakfast, get ready whilst listening to a podcast and take Josie out and wait until I'm home to get stuck into my work. I've found this not only helps me start my day off better but it helps me stay productive throughout the day rather than lagging at around 2-3. Which is usually when I'd find myself falling to sleep with Josie on the sofa and as nice as that is it's not something I should be doing on a daily basis.
NOT THE 9-5
Something I know that most people who run their own business struggle with is knowing when they should or shouldn't start their day. There is so much pressure to look like you're constantly hustling and succeeding and something that I've learnt is that when your job isn't a 9-5 it's absolutely pointless to work those hours if they don't work for you. And you don't have to work 8 hours either, this is a conversation that I've seen come up more and more lately and I'm so happy to see it being spoken about and a positive discussion surrounding the topic. Sometimes you might work 4-5 hours but in those hours you've been so productive that you've got everything you needed to get done completed. Then there are other days where you might work 10 hours and that's also ok, the ebbs and flows of owning your own business are so important to recognize and go with rather than trying to battle against them constantly.
MAKING EACH DAY DIFFERENT
Another really bad habit I fell into was trying to keep so much structure in my work life that I thought I needed to make each day the same in order to be productive. I thrive from a good routine but that routine needs to have some wiggle room. And of course, keeping things the same got really boring and frustrating quickly. So this is how I'm currently letting my weeks flow [these days aren't set in stone, just for the purpose of this post].
- Monday: admin, e-mail catch up and editing copy.
- Tuesday: photographing and editing images.
- Wednesday: writing.
- Thursday: admin and brainstorming new content.
- Friday: photographing and editing.
- Weekend: free to work on whatever needs doing or what I want to work on.
By doing this I don't find myself getting stuck into so many ruts with my day and getting frustrated as each day I'm doing something that challenges my brain in a different way.
THE THINGS I'M NOT DOING
All work & no play
When I took a step back from work one of the biggest reasons I needed to was that I'd just worked and not properly enjoyed the other things that life had to offer because I was so riddled with guilt for needing time off. There were rare days here and there that I took but nothing properly for years. Working for yourself is, of course, an honor and privilege but it doesn't come without its own problems and drawbacks, which so easy to forget. Especially when we're so desperate to prove a point to everybody else that we do work hard, which is a pointless thing to do as we never need to prove ourselves to anybody else but ourselves. Work is important, we all have to be able to afford to live but so is enjoying other things too. When you take a step back and do something else it makes you far better in what you're doing as your brain has room to breathe.
WATCHING THINGS IN THE BACKGROUND
I defy anybody to tell me that they've never had the tv on in the background whilst they work if they work from home. Which can be absolutely fine every so often but when it's all day it's a really bad habit to get into. And it was something I certainly found myself doing a little too often but I've put myself on a screen ban unless I'm taking a break or I'm working late. Now I just let myself work to music or podcasts during the day and to no-ones surprise, I'm way more productive.
NOT MAKING SLEEP A PRIORITY
I love sleep, I really, really love sleep but when I get busy or burnt out my then my sleep pattern goes out the window and I don't put going to bed at a reasonable hour very high on my to-do list. Something I'm really working hard on is making sure that I'm getting enough sleep so I can properly function at work rather than feeling like I need to have a nap at 9am when the day has barely begun. I never understand why we think we can push sleep to the bottom of our to-do list, there isn't enough caffeine in the world to keep you going long term and unless you're a robot then you need to go to bed at a reasonable hour and not think oh I'll just power through. I've said it before and I'll say it again but we're not robots, we need so many things to keep us functioning properly.
FEELING GUILTY AND SCARED TO SAY NO
I'm not quite sure what it is or why it is but something I feel a lot when it comes to work is guilt and I used to really struggle to say no to people. The guilt of taking time off or saying that you're tired or stressed when you seemingly have a dream job can be intense. No-one likes to look they're ungrateful or entitled but there is also no point lying to yourself to appease others. It doesn't matter how much you love your job it can still have it's downsides and isn't always the dream. And saying no to people, well we are a nation of people pleasers so from birth we're taught to always be mindful of others. Which is important and we should always be considerate but making yourself miserable for the sake of others is not ok. It does feel uncomfortable to say no but once you've done it a few times then it certainly feels easier and more natural. If somebody really cares for you and has your best interest at heart then they will understand why sometimes you need to say no.