Tag: freelancing

My Morning Routine for Better Productivity | Health & Wellness PLR

 

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?

Jenn

 

 

My 10 Rules For Better Productivity

 

 

This blog post originally started as an email about productivity, but then suddenly I was looking at 1,350 words and not entirely sure how I managed to pull it off without watching 7 YouTube videos, posting on Twitter 4 times, reading emails I don’t care about, looking to see what is on Hulu today, and playing a 4-hour round of fetch with my dogs.

But guess what? I mastered productivity.. most days. There are definitely days when I find myself staring at a blank document for 3 hours, not sure where the time went.

Well.. if we’re being honest, I know where it went. I was using my phone at the time, watching YouTube videos that started innocently enough, but somehow got me into the video rabbit hole where I went from a tutorial on making images with Canva, to a dog that knows how to surf.

It happens.

But I do try. Most days I succeed, even if I have checked Pinterest one too many times that day and don’t finish my writing goals until an hour before I was supposed to be waking up the next day.

That happens too.

So far, I am really selling myself on these tips! But seriously, they DO help. I have been ghostwriting and content writing and whatever-writing for about 10 years, so I have learned through trial and error. I know how to write an article in 6-8 minutes by the methods I have picked up, and I can tell when it is going to be a day where I really need to remind myself of these rules just to get it all done.

These are not rules I live by every single day, but they are more like.. suggestions. Things I try my best to follow as often as I can in order to get everything done.

1. Close the Browser Completely While You Write. I have gone back and forth on this, but I have learned that having any access to the internet is just not helpful. It’s too tempting. “Just checking Facebook real quick” always turns into anywhere between 10 minutes and 7 hours. So, I get all my brainstorming and research done, outline my articles/blog posts/reports, then close the browser completely. I have an old POS computer, so opening up a browser just to check my email is way too much trouble. Sometimes you have to trick yourself.

2. Turn On a Timer For 1-3 Hour Blocks. This isn’t some magical tool or a big mystery. A lot of people do it, especially freelancers and business owners who don’t have a boss walking behind their cubicle every 30 minutes, pretending they are picking up yet another fax (but is probably just a blank piece of paper they faxed to themself), but really are just reminding you to get back to work.

The reason I don’t go over 3 hours at a time is because I need to give my hands a break, and my dogs don’t hold their pee as well as I do.

So i set my timer, and during that block of time, I am not allowed to do anything else but write. There is some kind of weird voodoo witch magic that happens when you know you’re being timed. It is really hard not to work.

3. Take a Break At Least Every 3 Hours. This is how my day goes: I do all my brainstorming, to-do lists, researching, and outlining during the first hour or so of my day. Then when it is “writing time”, I set the timer, close the browser, and write. Every time the timer goes off, I stop working, take the dogs out, and grab a snack.  Sure, let’s say it’s a healthy snack and definitely not a pint of ice cream.

4. Time Your Breaks. I have learned this the hard way. I have had many days where my first block of writing went great, I took my break, innocently turned on Netflix, then suddenly I have watched the entire first season of Westworld.

Oops. That was a LONG break. So I now time my breaks as well. I typically turn on a timer on my phone for 10-15 minutes per break. But only after my dog’s potty break. It’s not my fault if they don’t like that grass or that one or that one.

*Fun fact: They rarely choose the grass, but find the sidewalk to be oddly satisfying.

5. I Said No Internet. Turn Off Your Damn Phone. Okay, so I’m not perfect. I know how to trick myself into doing something I know I shouldn’t do, but can still get away with. Sure, my browser is off and I’m totally not checking the internet. But you didn’t say anything about your phone, me. I sometimes have to catch myself and not just turn the phone on vibrate, but put it on silent, and place it face-down inside the washing machine because I have no self control.

6. Write it Down, Then Move On. I have this problem where my brain can’t seem to focus on just one thing. It may look like I am writing a PLR article, but really I am writing a PLR article, deciding what to eat for dinner, thinking about the book I’m currently reading, naming my imaginary first born, decorating every room of the house I don’t own, and practicing the speech for the novel prize I fully intend to win when I turn 112 and finally get around to that novel I’m going to write. But also writing an article. It’s a serious problem, you guys.

So I have a notebook next to me where I jot down whatever I am thinking about, then get back to work.

7. Multi-Tasking Isn’t Helpful. STOP IT. Okay, so here’s the thing. Multi-tasking, when it comes to certain things, is total crap. Stop doing it. Seriously. Yeah, multi-tasking when it comes to cleaning the bathroom while you have a load of laundry in the washer is awesome. You have just done 2 very productive, adult things at one time. But with writing and various other work projects, it doesn’t help.

This is what happens to me. Say I have 4 different writing projects to get done today. I say.. oh, well I’ll just go back and forth, so I get a little done from each one. I won’t get bored, and I’m making a dent in each one. So I write an article for my bundle, and then a blog post for my launch, and then I create an image for my store. I keep going back and forth like this. But usually what this results in is constantly having to shift my focus from one thing to another. That shift in focus breaks up your routine and actually makes everything take a lot longer. 

8. No Sleep Until You Get it DONE. This is something I turned into a rule for myself when I kept doing the “I’ll get it done tomorrow” dance. You know the one. It’s 10pm and you’re tired and in bed, and it’s just 5 more articles, so why not just write them in the morning? You add it to tomorrow’s goals, but then that means you have more to do, so you have 10 leftover that night. It keeps going until it is Sunday and suddenly you are 75 pages behind.

So I have a rule (I mostly kinda stick to) where I don’t go to sleep until the writing for that day is done.

9. You Can Have Time Off When You Meet Your Goals. Since I know myself and that I’m not going to stick to rule #8 every time, I made up rule #9. If there are weeks where I have put off a little too much work and have leftover writing to do on Friday, I force myself to work the weekend. It is supposed to encourage me to do more during the week to get things done so I can have days off. Realistically, the last time I had a day off, Donald Trump was still a… (enter your own punchline here).

10. Coffee is Allowed On Your Diet. 

So now that you have all my secrets (and excuses), you can get to work. Your break is over.