My Daily Productivity Routine

Time Lost

Time LostI’ve been asked by a number of people recently “How do you find the time…” to blog, to stay in touch with people, to travel, etc.

The reality is that I don’t have any more hours in a day than anyone else, but I’ve built some routines over the years that support me focusing on the important over the unimportant. The truth is also that I’m a lazy person, prone to procrastination – so if I didn’t build a system or a structure to my day to enable me to get things done – I’d be content being busy being busy but not actually productive.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share what a typical day looks like for me and how I structure my typical workday with my daily productivity routine.

  • 0600-0615 – I wake up, aided by the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App on iOS which wakes me up when I’m naturally ready to and a Lumie Bodyclock which provides some natural light to persuade me to actually leave the warmth of my bed.
  • 0615-0700 – I subscribe to the theory of Decision Fatigue and so make my breakfast routine fairly uniform. I have Cats who insist on some morning fuss (which always brings a smile to my face, however grumpy I am when I get up) before naturally being fed as an utmost priority. While the moggies are chowing down, I take some vitamins and minerals with 500ml of very cold water out of the fridge. I then cook 3 Eggs, scrambled, with some tomatoes, baby leaf salad, chopped up Spring Onion and Saur Kraut, washed down with a cup of Green Tea and Lemon, all while watching an inspiring TED talk or something else from my YouTube “Watch Later” list on my iPad.
  • 0700-0730 – I read a chapter of a book that inspires me.
  • 0730-0800 – I take a normal warm shower before 2-3 minutes of an ice cold shower which wakes me up like a fog-horn. I do some stretches, a short free weights routine and then use some focused breathing techniques for a few minutes while using a Medinose.
  • 0800-0830 –  I use the Pomodoro technique for 25 mins and focus on my most important piece of writing – either a blog post or a chapter of my book.
  • 0830-0900 – I use the Pomodoro technique for 25 mins again to work on whatever is on my “3 important things to do today” list (more on that later)
  • 0900-1000 – I do some admin and empty my inbox. I don’t check my email until I’ve worked on two important things. I’m a GTD evangelist and always aim to be Inbox Zero, so if the email takes 2 minutes or less then I deal with it, otherwise I delegate it, defer it or create an action to take later on. If I finish email in time I’ll browse Google+ and Twitter.
  • 1000-1130 – Typically client meetings. I no longer take meetings of any sort on a Monday and use the day to focus exclusively on my own business development, and I don’t work Fridays at all. Tuesday through Thursday I have slots for client meetings between 1000-1130 and 1400-1530 and Wednesday morning between 0900-100 and 1600-1700 I keep available to speak with other people.
  • 1130-1200 – I take myself out for a 30 minute walk while listening to an inspiring and educational Podcast (here are some recommended Podcasts for IT business owners).
  • 1200-1330 – I typically do some more email (I use Sanebox and so often start to make a dent on non-client emails that have been filtered to my @SaneLater folder), respond to Social Media notifications and make phone calls.
  • 1330-1400 – Lunch – most likely a couple of Chicken Breast fillets with some vegetables. I’m a lazy bum and use the individual bags of Microwave vegetables to minimise my urge to grab something unhealthy to snack on instead. I typically watch some TV on the PVR over lunch – Eastenders and Family Guy are two guilty pleasures.
  • 1400-1530 – Typically client calls.
  • 1530-1700 – Work on the important. Then Make phone and Skype calls. Return voicemails. Inbox zero. Then Social Networking. I’ve also been known to grab 30 minutes relaxation and hypnotherapy with Paul McKenna, if I’m feeling uninspired or low in energy. I close out the day by writing down 3 things (no more than 3) that are important for me to achieve the next day. This means I close down the day knowing what I’ll be working on the next day.
  • Evening – I typically then cook dinner while watching something on my iPad in the kitchen and wind down. I’m a morning person so I’m often to bed by 10pm each night. Not quite the Rock star image I actually imagine myself as.

That’s a typical weekday and the routine I strive to maintain. In other words a “perfect” productive day. That happens most of the time but there are always interruptions and external demands on my time which disrupt this. I work hard to deflect those interruptions or work with them on my terms.

I’m not suggesting the above is perfect for everyone, but for those who have asked – that’s what works for me. Think of it as this lazy slobs attempt to cultivate healthy habits.

Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment below. What does you routine look like?

 

photo credit: gothick_matt via photopin cc

Comments

  • 10 personal development and producvity lessons from Richard Tubb - Tubblog.co.uk - The Content Marketing Academy The Content Marketing Academy2015-08-01 09:43:54

    […] Click here to find out how Richard organises a productive day […]

  • Richard Tubb2015-05-20 09:40:16

    Thanks for the kind words Maria! Don't get me wrong, there are days when I start off on the wrong foot and have to play catch-up -- but the routine I've shared above typically keeps me on the straight and narrow! Thanks for the feedback.

  • Maria Drummond2015-05-13 14:35:48

    This is a really interesting insight - my cat annoys me to in the morning. You achieve so much before you even go to work - that's amazing and something I would love to implement one day!

  • [List] More examples of daily routines » Freakishly Productive2014-03-17 11:03:02

    […] Tubb shares his routine for keeping up with the responsibilities of a blogger, trainer, speaker, and […]

  • Richard Tubb2014-03-10 07:09:25

    Only the occasional late night for me Edd! ;-) Thanks for the feedback on how you've structured your own week. I see lots of business owners who think the more hours they put in, the more they'll achieve. As you have said, you need to look after yourself otherwise stress and poor health creep up and you end up burning out. I love what you've done to structure your days to look after yourself and be productive - thanks for sharing!

  • Edd Nicklin2014-03-09 23:51:22

    This was an interesting read. There was me thinking you were some party animal, out to 3 every night! Haha I have to say Richard that I have changed my life considerably this year. I've always been a very active and fitness focused person until I started my own business and over the last 10 years or so I have really struggled to find the time to exercise always saying "just didn't get time this week". I always felt guilty when I left my desk. This year as my health started to get worse and I become more stressed. I decided that enough was enough. I now build my work week around my personal life and my fitness. I typically start the day at 6.30 getting three or so hours done before anyone starts to contact me. I have started playing in a local soccer team and now exercise around 3-4 times a week. I also keep Mondays and Fridays completely clear for admin and catching up on general invoicing and finance and just set aside 1-2 hours at the weekend for tidying up my inbox and tasks so I start the week with a clean head. I used to work throughout the weekend and went to bed on a Sunday feeling anxious about my workload ahead. Now I feel focused and ready for the week. Planning and structuring your week has certainly changed my life.

  • Richard Tubb2014-03-02 16:09:56

    Thanks for the very kind feedback Andre. I'm really glad you found my blog post useful!

  • Richard Tubb2014-03-02 16:08:41

    My pleasure Sharon! Good luck with your own productivity. I hope doing the 3 important things every day technique helps you!

  • Andre Marcos2014-02-26 08:55:04

    First thoughts....Thank you! That was an incredibly candid look at how you achieve and maintain your productivity levels. In fact, it was significantly more than 'productivity', it was a way of life infused with actually putting yourself first, an incredibly important element when it comes to delivering your business as the best version of 'you' that you can be. GTD, Family Guy and Ted Talks in one post......Good work Mr Tubb...Good work... A captivating morning read! 10/10

  • Sharon Sobel2014-02-25 17:33:43

    Thanks for sharing. My days are always different, but I like the idea of choosing an amount of time to devote to a task and doing 3 most important things first. Will see if I can use your plan to increase my productivity.

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