Mondays are productivity days at SimpleProductivity blog.
Someone recently expressed an interest in how I apply all these techniques in my personal life. She wanted to know how my typical day runs. So here is a day in my life, warts and all:
6:15 to 6:35. I have three alarms on my iPod Touch: 6:15, 6:25 (standard alarms) and 6:35 (Mission Alarm, which forces me to do something in order to turn it off). I roll out of bed at 6:36 and make the bed.
6:45. I shower in the evenings so that I can take my time and enjoy the process. In the morning I do a quick washdown, wet my hair, dress, put on makeup and throw some curl control cream in my hair, then walk out of the bathroom. I put on my jewelry and grab my shoes and go across the hall to my office. From there I take my briefcase and purse and make my way downstairs.
7:00. I pack my lunch, either with leftovers or a salad made with pre-cut ingredients, add yogurt and the makings of a protein shake for breakfast. Then I pour my first cup of coffee and help my daughter finish up breakfast and pulling things together.
7:15. If it is a Tuesday or Thursday, I walk my daughter to the bus stop and wait with her until the bus comes. (My husband does Monday/Wednesday/Friday).
7:30. I give the cat his medicine, get the dog, my cell phone and iPod and head out for a walk.
8:00 I do my daily readings and write the emails to two people I share them with.
8:15 I leave for work. I listen to podcasts on the way in.
8:30. I check my task list from the day before, and check the work queue to ascertain my priorities for they day. I write the top three on a paper that stays in front of me all day.
8:35. I empty my inbox. I have hotkeys set up to mark items for filing, action and waiting for. I update my work wiki so I know the status of everything, and enter any new projects that have popped up in the queue.
8:45. My Indian counterpart IMs me and we discuss any questions he has on his work.
9:00. I start working on my tasks. If I really need to focus, I will turn off IM, exit Outlook and forward my phone to voice mail.
12:00. This is when I am supposed to go to lunch; I have not been enforcing this and I’m paying the price of fatigue, mistakes and general crankiness about work. My goal is to get outside the office for an hour, even if it is only to sit in the parking lot in my car and read. I try to do something that is one of my must-do tasks, like write a blog article or read a book for review. I will also run errands at lunch, and knock out purchases that would otherwise consume my weekend.
1:00. Back to work. I usually regroup and check my email at this time, before working on tasks.
3:15. An alarm goes off on my machine reminding me to put in my timesheets. This is also my cue to write down what I was in the middle of, plan what I want to do tomorrow, and do a final sweep on email.
3:30. Leave for home.
3:45. Arrive home, let the dog out, and bring the trash cans in (if it is Friday). Feed the dog.
4:00. Listen for the school bus and make sure that my daughter gets off. At this point I check her teacher’s website to see what homework she has.
4:15. After having a mug of tea and talking to my daughter, she may either start homework or practice piano, or go outside to play. I will empty the dishwasher and clean the kitchen. I will also start on the things I have marked as my “must-do” tasks. On Thursdays this means doing the weekly housework.
5:00 to 5:30. My husband usually arrives home around this time and we start dinner. After dinner we clean the kitchen and get ready for evening activities.
6:30. If I have an evening appointment, I make sure not to schedule it before 7. That way I can spend the time between 6:30 and 7:00 traveling to the meeting.
7:00. At this point, if my daughter has not done homework and/or piano, we get that moving. I will generally go to my desk at this point, check email, write a blog article or work on my book. I will complete my must-do tasks, and work on anything else I can get done. If my daughter is done with her tasks, we will do something together, like read or craft.
8:30. Bath and bedtime. Sometimes this slips until later, in spite of my best intentions to get my daughter to bed at a reasonable time.
9:00. I may spend a bit more time at the computer wrapping things up, and then I will write out my list of tasks for the next day, pack my briefcase, and relax with my husband.
10:00. I hit the shower and then get to bed. I may read for a bit on my Kindle before lights out.
This is a typical day in my life. The productivity principles that keep me going are my must-do list, fitting in activities when I have bits of time, and sticking to a rather well-defined schedule.
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Photo by Esparta