N0tice how I use the word “ideal” instead of “typical” in the title? Although I’m not 100% consistent with my daily schedule, I know what leads to a super productive & high-results work day that FEELS GOOD for me.
I wasted years making excuses like “But I’m a creative free spirit! I don’t wanna force myself into rigid structure & routines!” And yet, I wasted a TON of time wheel-spinning, with few results to show for it.
A couple of years ago, I started paying close attention to when I feel most energized, and began experimenting with different work habits. It became clearer as I approached the launch of my 2nd business in 2017 (White Spruce Market) that something needed to change.
I could no longer afford to let my “free spirit” excuses hold me back from creating what I wanted to in the world. I thought there “weren’t enough hours in the day,” when in fact I just wasn’t managing my time or my brain effectively.
Now, in spring 2019, as I prepare to launch my 3rd business (with my husband this time) I actually feel the least overwhelmed I have ever felt in 10 years of business ownership. YES, you read that right:
This is my ideal wake-up time. I’m working on not letting this turn into 7:00 or 7:30. There. I’m putting it out into the universe, so let’s hold each other accountable! The book The Miracle Morning is a great primer for creating an effective morning routine that serves you!
I LOVE at-home workouts & have a Beachbody subscription. My fave programs are LIIFT4 and 21 Day Fix. Getting sweaty 4-5 mornings a week has done wonders for my energy & my brain power! It’s a key part of the foundation for my entire work day.
I also love yoga, but only in a studio/class setting. This year, I plan to attend yoga a few times a month (again, accountability! I’d love a local yoga buddy so HIT ME UP!).
Last year, I read Body Love by Kelly Leveque, which is fairly science-y, but has a great foundation for understanding how hunger hormones work & how the body processes food. I started making her signature smoothie recipes every morning, and it has been a GAME CHANGER. I didn’t believe the science at first, but after remaining satiated for 5-6 hours after my smoothie every day for nearly a year, let me tell ya: I’m a believer!
My office is a two minute walk from my house, tucked in the woods of our property. A short commute = more time to create + get things done!
Recently, I started introducing daily writing time into my day. I quickly realized that I crave uninterrupted writing time, and it’s essential for content creation. I set a timer (ideally for two hours), put on my fave playlist (Lord Huron, Avett Brothers, and Your Favorite Coffeehouse on Spotify are my go-tos!), and sit down to write. In fact, I’m typing this blog post during my daily writing time! In the future, I hope to try more batch working (like spending a full day or week writing & creating content for blog posts/social media/etc.). Right now, daily writing time feels more doable, and it helps build discipline around something that often gets swept to the side.
Around mid-morning, I’ll check my email and social media for the first time that day. I currently have three business inboxes, and prefer to set a short timer & try to “beat the clock” going through them. At this stage, I don’t receive a huge volume of emails that require attention, so it’s pretty easy for me to get through in 20 minutes or less.
My secret weapon for inbox management? EMAIL TEMPLATES. I have about 60 different templates that save me hours of time each month while still being personable & customizable! (Honest question: Is this something people are interested in learning more about / potentially purchasing? I’d love to hear!)
When heading onto social media, I ask myself “What is my purpose for the next few minutes?” and if I don’t have one, then it’s probably just mindless scrolling & not an effective use of my time. I’m a work-in-progress in this area! Setting app limits on my phone has been super helpful (I always have notifications turned OFF for all apps, email, etc. It’s a huge help in claiming back my time & headspace, which makes me less susceptible to overwhelm.)
This varies every day! At the start of each week, I do a big “brain dump” and download all of my thoughts, projects, to-dos, etc onto paper. I then highlight the priorities for the week ahead, and assign each of those to a particular day in my planner (keeping in mind what’s realistic time-wise). I figure out what I can get help with, and either pass it along to a team member, or even my husband (i.e. dropping packages at the post office, picking up wholesale orders, etc.
I keep lunch super easy, and my go-tos include…hard-boiled eggs, avocado egg salad, turkey slices, hummus, sliced veggies (prepped over the weekend), a hearty salad, nuts, or soup. I’m a big fan of doing “charcuterie boards,” which is basically a mashup of any of the above! My brain works best when I eat lean protein, fiber, healthy fat, and lots of veggies! If there’s time, I may walk the dogs in our woods or lounge in the hammock for a bit.
Now, the afternoon typically looks different than my morning project time. Because my energy is highest between 9 am – 1 pm, I try to get 80+% of my projects done for the day before lunch. My energy dips in the afternoon, so this is a much better time for hands-on projects & creative planning. Anything that requires heavy computer time gets scheduled for the AM! Afternoons are also a great time for me to head to a coffee shop & be around the humans. A little white noise + hang time around people keeps me energized!
I set timers for each of my work blocks throughout the day, so I know exactly where my time is going (because let’s be real, when we’re “in the zone,” we could keep going for hours!). I totally get it; when you’re in the creative flow you don’t wanna stop! But trust me here: When you practice discipline around when your work day starts & ends, it will be SO MUCH MORE SUSTAINABLE.
As I continue to see business owners left & right burning out, there’s often one common thread: A total lack of control over their time & how it’s spent. It might feel good to push yourself & keep working (almost like an addiction), but trust me: It’s not going to serve you in the long-run. Learn how to prioritize rest & healthy work day habits, and you’ll literally have time to create anything your mind can dream up!
Interested in diving in deeper? I just re-launched Mentoring Sessions for creative entrepreneurs! Learn more here.