I feel it is important that we run our days rather than let our days run us! We are all victims of this, I certainly have been, and although I am on top of my days now compared to when I first went solo in business, sometimes my days do end up running me! But then I look at my daily schedule, week planner, and my month and annual planner to remind myself who is the boss in our relationship – ME! Now, everything I am about to share with you is a work in progress! I am by no means perfect but I have had some perfect days (which means it can be done, and my God does it feel good!), which means that, with my high standards that I set for myself, I always I feel I could have done better regarding my time management, even it is the case that I blew a couple of minutes doing something I shouldn’t have been!
As I have said in my previous blog, I plan my day out the night before, with a 5-point list, both business and personal, which I have to accomplish to consider my day a success – the top 3 are paramount. Some of you were very kind with your words and raised the question of what I actually do during my day! So here you go!
Bookending Your Days
To ensure my days start and end how I want them to, I bookend my days, by following a specific morning and night time routine. So I wake up at 5am, go to the bathroom, then take my vitamins and supplements, pray, meditate, write in my journal (more about that in future blogs), get to the gym for 6am, put on an instructional or motivational CD on my phone, work out hard, come home, shower, have breakfast, turn off my phone, and kick off working! Evenings are pretty routine too: 8pm I begin winding down, turn the lights low, write out my to-do list for the next day (5 things personal, 5 things business), write in my journal, read 10 pages of an instructional or motivational book, pray, meditate, and go to bed around 9pm for 8 hours. I put my body through the mill so it needs rest, otherwise, I don’t function optimally! I wake up excited and go to bed satisfied, excited about the next day and my goals!
Regimenting Your Days
This doesn’t mean that I have turned into a drill Sargent and will make you give me 50 push-ups if you don’t do what’s written here! By regimenting your days, I mean know what you’re going to do and when, and make sure you take your breaks! Research has shown that our attention and peak concentrations spans are between 25 and 50 minutes. I know that 50 minutes is true for me, after which my mind begins to wander off and the quality of my output slows down and gets worse! So, I go and make myself a cup of tea during my 10-minute break 🙂
I aim to get in 4 hours of work in the morning, so from 8am until 12pm, take a lunch break, usually 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, and make sure I am working by 1pm until 5pm. So this means that I work 50 mins x 8 = 400 mins, take 80 minutes of breaks, with between 30 and 60 mins for lunch, i.e. between 110 to 140 minutes of breaks per day! Now, my days don’t always work out perfectly according to plan! My mum might want me to take her somewhere at the drop of a hat (the beauty of working from home, I get to look after my mum <3 ), or unexpected phone calls, visitors, client requests etc. However, knowing that I follow a morning and night routine, have put myself in the right frame of mind to take on the day, have XYZ to accomplish during the day, and having scheduled regular breaks, means that no matter what happens, my day will be successful. Yes, sometimes my days run over beyond 6pm, no I don’t get all 5 or even the top 3 tasks done during the day, but because I have planned it, I can reorganise myself for the next day!
Don’t Overdo It!
Remember, work is never-ending, so don’t think that you have to work twice as hard the next day to accomplish that day’s tasks as well as the previous day’s tasks if you didn’t get them done! Do what you can the best you can, and if you are passionate about what you do, I am sure you will be, but please don’t burn yourself out! Life has a habit of getting in the way of even the best-laid plans, but that’s a challenge we all face, so it’s not something we need to get too hung up on! Plan and organise your day from the moment your eyes open until they shut, work hard during your 400 minutes of work, chill during your <140 minutes of breaks, and you will be much more successful than without a plan!
If you plan your day the night before, and know what you will be doing in what order, you will accomplish (the majority!) of your daily tasks, no matter what life throws at you! Let me know how you get on!
(If you would like some of my tables I use to help myself and others, find me on Facebook and I will add you to my special group where you can access these and other awesome business materials!).