Stop ending your days without a sense of accomplishment
Don’t let the title fool you this episode is not about an official scientific theory, study or result. But I do love a Big Bang Theory-esque name. Do you love BBT as much as I do? That’s ok if not but I’m sure there are some Friends and The Office fans out there, right? 🤞I sure hope I’m attracting the right audience here.
Let’s jump into this episode and begin with how structuring a routine in your day can help avoid ending your days feeling like you worked your booty off only to have, what feels like, nothing to show for all the time. I know how it feels I ‘ve been there I still have those days, but not as often and I can always find an accomplishment.
It’s easy to “busy” and not get anything done but feel like you should have a novel written…
Let’s avoid those days as much as possible. Having structure can effect how we feel at the end of our days and weeks. Thus, the “effect” in the title. See what I did there? I incorporated it…
Let’s start by assessing your average work day
What do your days look like? What do you, when do you do it, what comes first and what comes last?
Do you have clients or work that has to be done as it pops up?
Do you kick off your day with a little email/slack check?
Do you have a list of what needs to be done?
Do you use Asana or a paper planner and start with your top 3?
Do you do what is most urgent?
There are so many ways we can start the day. And how you start might be determining how you finish it up.
Take the next couple days and write down what you do as you do it to get a really good idea how your day flows.
I love to learning about what successful people do and I have been digging into that a lot lately reading books and articles, along with listening to podcasts.
A couple of the examples that have recently resonated with me:
Jerry Seinfiled one of the most successful comedians has a daily writing habit that walks the line of obsession and habit. In every interview of him people ask him what’s his secret and talks about how he writes daily, that he has a time and a place for writing and he sticks to it even if nothing is coming out on the paper. In one interview I heard he shared this habit with one of his daughters who is dabbling in some comedic writing herself.
Successful NBA athletes have strict routines during seasons. I just read Sustain your Game the second of a 2 book series really about burnout. Athletes are a special breed, this author was a performance coach for some of the top names in the NBA and one common thread was routine and hyper focus on what they were doing – blocking out the noise (notifications, phone, internet).
You are HOW you do what you do, not what you do. When you show up daily – that’s who you are.
So how do you want to show up? The most successful people in the world are leveraging habits – and each of them have a structure in their daily routines.
Let’s leverage a little trick to help you do the same
Do you know when you do your work best?
Do you know when do you work best? Are you best and brightest in the morning? Or in the afternoon?
Morning is great for me, once I hit 2 pm it’s just downhill from there. So all my writing, recording, content creation is done during the morning.
I can’t always control my days if I have to account for client meetings but I try best as I can to not schedule meetings during those times.
I try to take meetings in the later morning or early afternoon when I may not be at my dullest and still have some energy. But it’s not taking away that prime brain time.
This doesn’t have to be perfect just try to get in your habits and your most important brain sucking tasks done before you lose that optimal time.
Do the hard work when your brain is clear and ready to think.
Now for a little mindset
I can easily give you a list of things to do to help you make a routine. But one of the things I struggle with the most to my workday structure is the stick-to-it-ness.
So this is probably the most important piece of advice in this podcast. The two steps we just went through are necessary and the first that needs to be done. Assess what you are currently doing and when are you most productive.
I struggle sticking to what I planned when someone needs something. I imagine you struggle sticking to the plan too maybe for different reasons.
I’m a people pleaser, I want to help others and that gets in the way of my productivity and achieving my own goals.
And nothing is more important to you than your goals. Don’t put other things before yourself.
This sounds selfish, but if you don’t put yourself and your business first, you’ll end up burned out and miserable and you will have more days that you feel unsatisfied with the work you didn’t get to than satisfying days.
This piece is all mindset. Many of us do what we do to help others and to be of service to others and that menas we have a tough time putting ourselves first.
You know the story the one with the rocks, pebbles and sand? You add all the big rocks to the jar – the professor asks is it full? Everyone says yes, but then he adds in some pebbles shaking the jar to get the pebbles into the smaller spots and asks, is the jar full now? Everyone says yes, but wait he hads sand to the jar… filling the space between the rocks and pebbles – the rocks signify the big stuff in life, family, friends and health, the pebbles signifiy other things like work and shool and the sand are all the little things. If you were to fill the jar with sand first you’d have no room for rocks and pebbles, same if you were to fill the jar with pebbles first.
Let’s say the jar represents your workday, the rocks are your goals, they go in the jar first. The pebbles are your clients goals and the sand is everything else the little things.
So how will you prioritize and structure your workday jar?
- Assess your average day, track a couple days if you need to remember what you do and how you do it. Then assess it, what needs to change, what patterns are there, what aligns with you and your goals?
- Identify when your brain is the most energetic. When you can do the best work.
- Put your goals first.
After these 3 things, you’ll have a better idea of how to structure your work day and then you can add in tactics to help you such as blocking time on your calendar for certain work, so nobody sets meetings in those times, turning off notifications, batching or grouping work that is similar, setting certain days for meetings or content creation and organizing your workspace to accommodate these things.
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