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

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