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Forging a custom routine and workday for peak productivity
The old Dolly Parton adage of working 9 to 5 is gone. The world has changed, and so has the workplace.
The beauty of today is that there is no structured work environment, timeframe or place.
The struggle of today is that there is no structured work environment, timeframe or place.
So, to be our most successful self, we must forge our own structure, work environment, time of day to work and where to work. You can create the ‘perfect workday’ that is unique and best for you.
But, how well do you really know yourself? Do you feel like most days you’re forcing yourself to get up in the morning, sit in front of your screen, and just instantaneously be productive?
If this is you, and you hate it, we’ve got some questions and actions to help you find your perfect workday.
1. Know your productivity peaks
Are you a night owl or an early bird? Life sometimes dictates the start of the day – aka the kiddies get you out of bed in the morning or your team has a daily morning meeting – but that doesn’t mean you’re an early bird. That just means you’re getting it done!
This article from Healthline.com defines the two types of people and the sleep patterns that you may not realize you have. So take a peek and see if you know your true day-to-day self.
If your most productive time of the day doesn’t fit in the traditional 9 to 5, chat with your manager or team to allow for a more flexible work schedule. If you’re your own boss, talk with your family and get support to accommodate your productivity peaks. We want to work smarter versus feeling forced to work.
2. Know your most productive environment
The pandemic has made people look in their productivity mirror, and it hasn’t always been a cute experience. For example, we created home offices in haste because we couldn’t go into the office.
If you think your home office needs a bit of a revamp, take a step back and see how the following may be impacting your productivity:
- Background noise – is it too quiet? Add a white sound machine or download an app to break the silence, or play instrumental music that you can’t sing along to and get distracted. If your space is too loud, something simple like earplugs could be life-changing;
- The amount or quality of light – a nice lamp may recreate that office environment you miss, or maybe you’re a fan of natural light and want to spin your blinds open. Try both and see what works best for you;
- The comfort of your chair – are you (still) sitting in a kitchen chair to get work done? Your back and gluteus maximus deserve something more comforting than a chair meant for a 30 to 60-minute sitdown. Instead, consider finding a more ergonomic chair with support in all the right places. Office furniture design has come a long way; check out Structube for sleek options.
But, working from home may not be ideal in your version of work-life balance. You may not have the space to convert, or you may be more productive in a busy, buzzing area. This is all great, and we applaud your self-awareness!
Coffee shops, cafes and libraries always have space to accommodate the solopreneur. Another option is coworking spaces, which became quite popular pre-pandemic. They support both individuals and small businesses. Check out companies like WeWork and Regus to see if coworking spaces may work for you.
3. Calendar or to-do list?
Breaking a project down into smaller chunks can make it more manageable and ensure that you don’t forget anything. In addition, a visual representation of the breakdown can help you see the bigger picture.
Project and task management platforms like Teamwork, Monday and Asana can help you identify the pieces of your project puzzle. You can even use them to delegate tasks to increase productivity and ensure a project’s forward movement if you have a team or coworkers.
If you’re old school and prefer to jot things down, something as simple as a pad of paper and pen is all you need. Or, a notebook or calendar whiteboard with pens and markers in all colours may be better suited.
If you’re not sure, try a couple of approaches to see what feels most natural.
4. Do you need deadlines?
Projects typically have one big deadline; get ‘er done by x date.
If that’s too daunting or you need more structure to your days/weeks, add deadlines to the smaller tasks you created in your calendar or to-do list.
Note: only do this if it motivates you. If it stresses you out, stick to the bigger picture until you’re ready for shorter timelines.
5. Sharing = accountability
Something we lose when working from home or independently is daily accountability. If no one asks, we don’t have to share that we were not productive. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with having an off-day or self-care day. But to stay on task or meet our daily goals, it can be helpful to share what we want to accomplish in a day.
Whether it’s a loved one, coworker, team, friend or even your pet – share what you plan to work on or hope to accomplish in a day or week. This will also force you to regularly review your tasks, see what can be checked off as done and what needs to be moved to another day or requires more thought and breakdown.
Remember, we’re not trying to change you; we’re trying to help you find your most productive self by forging a personalized and unique routine – a routine for you and by you.
Forging a custom routine is just one of our 5 Fs of productivity. Download the ebook to learn more about the other four.