Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of it – the alarm clock goes off and after hitting the snooze button, we grab our phone and start to flick through our emails or facebook. That’s if you’re anything like me anyway..
I’ve realized recently that if I want to see our big vision come to life (educating 1 million girls by 2020), then I’m going to have to start taking responsibility for myself and how I spend my time.
To give you an example of how NOT to be productive, this was my routine towards the end of last year.
The second I woke up, I’d grab my iPhone to check my emails and facebook. I told myself that this was more important than anything else. Serious FOMO (Fear of Missed Opportunity) and a really bad habit. It’s not like that email couldn’t wait 2 hours till I got into the office.
To increase the insanity – I’d only read the emails and never respond to them. As soon as I read them, I’d have to mark them all as unread then re-read them when I got into the office.
I like my mornings, so I’d take my time getting up. I’d do a bit of yoga, eat brekky, and finally get into the office by 10 – 10:30am.
By the time I got to the office, I’d already be freaking because I felt behind.
I’d jump on my computer and start checking and responding to my emails (again) – some I didn’t respond too. I just ignored them and figured I’d come back to them. This results in a lot of missed emails. Bad idea and bad relationship management.
Various things would interrupt me whilst responding to emails. Questions from my colleagues, phone calls etc. Eventually I’d get through them –and if I couldn’t, I’d just give up and figure out what I needed to work on for the day. Finally I’d be ready to work, but then I’d be hungry. Lunch would’ve arrived, and I couldn’t concentrate until I ate something.
After eating, I was tired. It felt like a long day already, my concentration started to wane after lunch. I’d sit there and attempt to put energy into the things I ‘needed’ to do – but I’d seem to have misplaced by brain over lunch. Not only that, but our open plan office makes concentration tricky. I couldn’t help but overhear conversations and get distracted.
On top of that, I was constantly flicking between facebook and twitter – Attention Deficit Disorder to the max. I’d spend 5 minutes doing something, then check facebook and twitter. It made it damn near impossible to get into ‘the zone’.
I’d work later and later – sometimes working at home as well with the hope of actually getting something done. I’d stay up late, watch TV, eat crappy food to deal with my feelings of inadequacy and be annoyed at myself that I’d achieved nothing. Then head to bed and repeat the same thing the next day.
Ultimately, I achieved these things :
It was a vicious cycle, and I knew something had to be drastically different this year. There is one thing I know for certain, and it’s that the vision and goal of 1 million girls isn’t just going to fall into my lap. It’s going to take hard work and commitment to get there.
When you’re responsible for running your own business or project, there isn’t any ‘boss’ telling you what to do. It means that you’re relying on your own self-discipline to get shit done.
But self-discipline? Eeek! I have to admit, even the word makes me cringe a little. I’ve always thought of self-discipline as some kind of punishment. You know, if I’m disciplined with my diet, I can’t eat chocolate. And routine? BORING! Who wants a ROUTINE? Life is about adventure and spontaneity and FREEDOM.
I knew I needed some help – so I read two great books over the holidays.
Wise Heart, 10 Strategies for Success in your Life and Business by Annah Stretton and Manage your Day to Day: Build your routine, find your focus by the team at Behance. You can get them both for a few dollars from Amazon.
I highly recommend both books – but here’s what I’ve learnt (and put into practice) since reading them.
I’m only a few days into my new routine, but I AM loving it. I’m feeling more focused and like I’m really kicking goals. I’m doing great work that I’m passionate about AND I’m living my life at the same time.
Studies have shown that people with high levels of self control, have a high level of happiness too. Self discipline and happiness is inexplicably linked.
So here’s to routine and self-discipline! And now it’s your turn. When do you do your best work? What can you change about your daily routine?