After taking a week off for my at-home creative retreat, I wanted to keep fueling my reading momentum so this month, I read through Manage Your Day-to-Day. This book featured a number of personal essays from 99u contributors (rad people like Seth Godin and Gretchen Rubin) focused on helping you build your routine, find more focus, and sharpen your creativity.
Through reading this book, I realized that nearly everything about my regular routine as a solopreneur is not optimized for maximum productivity. Talk about a wake-up call! #oops
I have the right intentions but can become easily distracted by social media notifications, client communication, or funny Facebook videos. Sound like you too?
So how can we fix this and create better daily routines?
First, I wanted to understand what my biggest red flags were and pinpoint my biggest distractions. My routines not all bad since I get to inbox zero every Friday, journal everyday, and keep a daily to-do list, but below are some of the things I need to work on.
- Social media, namely Twitter and Instagram
- Checking my inbox every 1-2 hours
- A cluttered creative environment
- The desire to do something else like read a new book, watch a film, etc.
Red flags in my daily routine:
- Since my alarm is on my phone, it’s too easy to check my phone first thing in the morning.
- I use my mornings to schedule social media, browse blogs, and answer all of my emails.
- I read my emails throughout the day, even if I don’t feel I have enough time to answer them in that moment.
- I schedule calls all throughout the day in order to reach maximum availability.
- I still check and send emails in the evenings even when I know I should have better boundaries.
- Countless other red flags I’ll save you from having to read!
All of these red flags and distractions lead me to having a hard time saying ‘no’ when it’s in the best interest of my productive workflow and directing my attention to the work that matters most. With inspiration from Manage Your Day-to-Day, I’ve decided to design my own daily routine to try for the next month.
Here is what it will look like:
8:00 am - 8:30 am
Wake up in the morning by alarm clock instead of my phone. Phone free zone starts. Read scripture and spend time in prayer focused on gratitude. Eat a quick breakfast of yogurt and granola (my go-to!)
8:30 am to 11:30 am
Spend this time writing alone while listening to instrumental tracks. Mondays can be spent writing blog posts and newsletters. All other days must be free-writing and spent on business projects. Do not check email, do not schedule social media, do not browse the internet. (!!!)
11:30 am to 12:00 pm
Prepare and eat lunch and either read a book for pleasure or listen to a creative or business podcast episode. Do this at the kitchen table instead of my work desk. Get outside when possible.
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Check inbox and reply to ALL unread messages at once. Schedule any additional social media posts and reply back to comments. Take care of all notifications.
1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Schedule coaching calls with clients. Work on freelance social media and content marketing projects. Schedule interviews, accountability calls, and coffee dates (ahem, hot chocolate in my case). Work on editing podcast episodes and writing show notes. Format and schedule blog posts. Finish up all work for the day, excluding my #createlounge Twitter chat on Wednesdays at 7 PM CT.
5:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Go to local creative events and get together with friends for dinner. Call friends who are out of town. Get outside once more, especially for patio season. Unwind and relax. Minimal device time.
9:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Write in my vision journal. Transition to writing in my prayer journal. Read at least 50 pages in a book for pleasure. Drift off to sleep. Repeat.
Completely tech-free day with the exception of texting for plans and such. Get outside and explore the town. Meet up with friends and spend time with family in the evenings.
Go to church and journal during the sermon. Watch Vikings football in the afternoon with my family. Cook meals from scratch and bake. In the evening, spend quiet time setting my goals for the week and writing down my wins from the last week. End the night with prayer and reading.
Seems doable, right?
There may be a few times where urgent meetings come up and some tasks may have to be shifted and rescheduled, but I think this is a great start.
One of the great things about writing this blog post is that I know you will keep me accountable to this daily routine. I’ll report back at the end of the month with how it went, what changes I’ve made, and if I’m going to continue the routine. In the meantime, feel free to follow along with my routine updates on Twitter and Instagram.
What does your daily routine look like and what changes would you like to make this month? Let me know in the comment section below!