During a peer coaching session on how to become a Generation T leader, fellow entrepreneurs were very interested in my productivity habits. I’ve told them that I put in place a system allowing me to be highly productive and creative, without stressing about the pressure of achievements and goals.
By adopting a simple morning routine in your life, things will go so much smoother. Here is what works best for me, after having tried out different things.
After I wake up (around 7:30 AM), I wash my face with cold water 3 times. I adopt the geography of my skin and see in the mirror beyond the reflection storms that play inside myself. Essential oil of wild roses is the simplest and most effective care that I’m massaging in my skin every morning.
Then it’s time for a big and long breakfast. In the past, I’d skip that part, and would directly jump in public transport while grabbing a bread and coffee on my way to the subway. But now, during breakfast, I also read a book or an article. Reading enables you to see surfaces that you’d like to explore, ideas that you should touch. I read several thousand words a day. Words with meanings for my own future writings. I try to read with the greatest possible sensitivity to stimulate all my senses interacting with each other.
In these moments you live in the inner or rather in a sequence of insides. Settle back and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. Because of this relaxed state, you become more in control of how you think and how you react. Surprisingly quick over time your mind is becoming calmer and livelier, more composed, more pleasant, more tranquil. And yet, when needed, more focused with improved memory and improved concentration. Over time your nerves are becoming stronger and steadier. You will feel less tensed each day. Nobody, no situation will be able to cause you unease or discomfort ever again. And as you become more and more relaxed and in control each day, as it becomes easier to let go, you’re developing much more confidence in yourself. With the clarity of thoughts. With peace of mind. With focus. With just the perfect amount of adrenaline and with all your resources.
Only after the morning routine, you’d want to check your emails and sort them by importance. Mails that are answerable in less than 2 minutes will be answered directly. Others receive the tag URGENT, and can be answered later in the day or the day after.
You want to track everything you are doing during the day, and when I mean everything it’s literally all the actions you need to undertake to get it done. For example, if you need to install a new software before you can edit something, you can chronologically write down each step. Actually, the more steps you write down, and can cross as achieved, the better. It feels so good to cross achieved things that you’ll enjoy doing it.
Make lists in a notebook:
- on top today’s OBJECTIVE -what do you want to achieve today? It’s actually good to only have one achievable objective per day. You can write down your big, main goals at the bottom of the page.
- TO-DO list -what are all the steps you need to undertake to reach your daily goal?
- A NEXT list -what will you do tomorrow? What are the next steps to achieve the big, main goal?
- short NOTES -do you have a creative idea that pops up?
- on the side, write the APPOINTMENTS of the day.
I combine several projects, a Ph.D., a part-time job, writing a blog and commitments in voluntary activities, at the same time. Therefore it’s so important for me to keep track of the specific things I did every day, without losing my main objective out of mind.
I’m not using online productivity tool like Trello because I feel more attracted to check my emails and social media accounts at the same time, and thus loose precious time.
To communicate with my team we use Slack, phone and Skype (we all live and work at different places). Only if needed or on occasions we meet in person because our discussions are actually more focused when we’re taking notes online in a Google Document or Hackpad at the same time.
When I work all the online attraction points are switched off. Even the internet connection, if possible, is unplugged.
It’s now easier to get things done, with greater accuracy. You’ll be much more productive. Because you’re writing every single step to achieve your goal, it seems like you can get much more done in one day. And this gives you more time for what is important for to you. And so, life seems easier and happier.
Themes per day of the week
In a quest for differentiation, every single day of the week has a #TAG that will be of particular interest.
- #SPORT on Monday: jogging, swimming, gym, biking to work
- #CULTURE on Tuesday: film, theater, lecture
- #COOKING on Wednesday: at home or with friends
- #SELF-IMPROVEMENT on Thursday: read, reflect, change
- #WRITING on Friday: blog, dairy, paper, letter to a friend
- #GROCERIES on Saturday: shopping
- #NATURE on Sunday: park, forest, go out, documentary
It’s my re-interpretation of the fluid boundary between work and life. Allowing to give attention to things that are important to you during the week. The interpretation of the tags can be different every time. The only thing that matters is to be attentive to them. So, for example, instead of just going out to a bar with friends on Wednesday, invite them to your place and cook for them.
My most productive habit is actually to walk in the forest for miles. Everything that surrounds me, the smell, the noise and the light triggers my mind.
Be good to yourself!