Earlier this month, I wrote an email about how I have been boosting my productivity lately. This also happens to be one of my favorite things to talk about, aside from food and dogs and also food. You can read the email here if you missed it.
To be completely honest with you, I have become a little obsessed with productivity. I like to push myself and see how much I can actually do during a typical work day. I feel like if I wrote 20 pages yesterday, I should be able to write 21 today. That seems logical, right? I don’t seem to have a firm grasp on how time works and that you don’t just get more of it as long as you’re motivated 😉
I have also discovered that I am a glutenous person. I always have to have more, more, more. I need to do more and earn more and write more. While it can be frustrating sometimes, it definitely keeps me on track (mostly).
Did I have a point? Yes. My morning routine.
As I mentioned in that email, I have started a new morning routine. I originally did it completely on a whim because I heard someone talk about The Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod. I love me a good self-help book and almost never do what they tell me, so I figured why not continue the tradition?
I don’t do everything he tells you to do – which is basically to start a new morning routine for happiness, success, etc. I’m so good at book reviews, you guys. But it did encourage me to try some new things in the morning.
It used to take me forever to just get going in the morning. While I can technically work any time of day, I do best in the morning. I have somehow turned into a complete morning person where I’m awake and alert immediately, even before coffee.
I know. Freak.
So, to get the most done, I have figured out I need to start working pretty much immediately after taking the dogs out. This is what my current morning routine (for productivity) looks like:
The dogs wake me up at roughly 4am. Yeah. No, you read it right. FOUR in the morning. I take them out, then climb back into bed. This is where I used to go back to sleep until 8-ish, but now I stay up. And this is where my morning routine really starts.
I have 10 minutes of meditation. When I say ‘meditation’, I mean, ‘sitting quietly with my eyes closed, while focusing hard on not focusing on anything and threatening myself to stop thinking about work for 5 damn minutes’. It’s a work in progress.
Does it help? I don’t know. I still do it though. Plus, this combined with breathing exercises are supposed to help with my anxiety.
Next up is journaling. I love journaling. I love writing about it. I love doing it. I love starting new journals, getting about 1/3 of the way through them, then throwing them in a box so I can start a new one. That must be how sports people feel when they get new sports things. I clearly know a lot about sports.
I don’t set a specific time for this. It basically has become my ‘brain dump’, as one of my lovely subscribers put it (thank you!). Anything that is on my mind, good or bad, stressful or not, I write down. Some mornings I complain to my journal and force it to listen to my petulant whining. Other days, I start the day feeling hopeful and excited about work, so it’s all about what my next steps are in my business.
This is probably one of the best things I do that helps get me ready for the day.
Then I work on my to-do list for the day. Sometimes I combine this with my journal, but not always. I might talk about what I want to do for the day in the journal, but I need a more structured list to get everything done. DO IT. Seriously. If you don’t currently work off a to-do list, how in the world do you get anything done?!
If I could be best friends with things that aren’t people, it would be journals and to-do lists. Put it together however you want. Use pen and paper, write it in your planner, use Evernote or just a notepad on your computer. I am personally a fan of OneNote, because I can access it anywhere I have Microsoft Office.
Here is a sneak peak at my Saturday to-do list:
I put X in place of some of the titles of work I’m doing since it’s not all for my store (I still do ghostwriting on occasion), but you get an idea of what a typical weekend to-do list looks like for me.
*Note: I usually have a separate list for daily stuff like workouts, errands, etc. This is just my work to-do list.
Lastly, I do my morning workout. The final part of my morning routine is my workout, since after that I will take a shower, grab another cup of coffee, and then start work for the day. Depending on the day, it might be a short, 10-minute yoga workout, going to the harbor for a 3-mile walk, or just some bodyweight exercises when I’m pressed for time (planks, lunges, squats, burpees).
It’s hard to get my ass up and do the actual workout, but I always feel better afterward. It gives me energy for the day, plus if I get super lazy in the afternoon, I know I at least did something good for my body that day. And if it raises my metabolism, then cool. I love bonus health.
How long does it take? From start to finish, my morning routine can range from 1-2 hours. There are a lot of factors involved, like how long it takes me to actually get out of bed, how long my workout is, and whether or not I accidentally fell asleep during meditation (it happens often).
I started doing this just to get a better routine and schedule going, but in the process, I figured out it does wonders for my productivity. As you can see from my to-do list, I work a lot. And that’s a weekend list. I do more during the week. If what you’re doing right now isn’t working for you, why are you still doing it?! I ask myself that question often, usually when I’m crying about being fat with a donut in my mouth, but that’s beside the point.
I hope this helped. And if it didn’t, were you at least moderately entertained?