Quite simply, schedule it. Schedule everything and anything you do. It’s no different than when you schedule meetings, lunches or any other important appointment.
It’s very interesting how work is scheduled, but your personal life is not. As a result, 99% of those that have a 9 to 5, schedule their lives around work when work should actually schedule around your life.
So, how do you put you first and still be or become the most productive person at work and your most productive, yet least stressed self?
Here is an example…
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Prep and pack your meals and snacks. ALL of the including dinner with the exception of breakfast. Plan out the clothes you are going to wear. If you are someone that goes to the gym at lunch or in the evening, pack your gym bag.
WAKE UP, WASH UP:
Wake up early. Stop sleeping until 30-60 minutes before you have to leave for work and/or take the kids to school/daycare. Set your alarm to wake you up at least 2 hours before you have to leave the house. Don’t worry, once you make it a habit, your internal clock will wake you up at the time every day. Once you establish that pattern, get rid of that alarm clock or alarm on your phone. You want peaceful awakenings for a more relaxed start to your day.
You don’t have to be religious or on some spiritual path to meditate. It is for everyone and it is different for everyone. And with that, there is no wrong or right way of doing it. Meditating every morning for 20-30 minutes can help reduce stress and increase your focus. If you are doubting its ability to help you, try it a couple mornings and see for yourself. Also, check out this blog posting: “What Happens to Your Brain When You Meditate”
Enjoy breakfast at home. Take the time to relax, make your breakfast, watch some TV. Catch up on your reality shows. Prep breakfast for the kids.
GET THE KIDS READY:
If you have kids, wake them up, wash them up and get them dressed. The breakfast is already made. Send them to the kitchen.
GET DRESSED FOR WORK:
While the kids are eating, get dressed for work. It shouldn’t take long because you selected your clothes the night before.
LEAVE OUT THE DOOR 15 MINUTES EARLIER THAN THE NORMAL TRAVEL TIME:
Take into account the unforeseen traffic jams. A plus for getting to work early allows you time to get settled and prep’d for the day ahead versus fielding questions, rushing to a meeting or conference call. This doesn’t mean get on Facebook, Instagram or the internet. Use the time to get ahead of the game.
REVIEW YOUR CALENDAR:
Prioritize your meetings and for those that are least important, reach out to the host/chair of that meeting. Tell them you can’t make it but you want to support them and ask if they could brief you on the details. Maybe it’s something you can quickly help with right there on the phone. Notice how I said phone, don’t do this via email. If you are chairing the meeting, see if you can summarize the meeting in an email and just ask for input, feedback with a due by date/time. If you must have the meeting, schedule it for 45 minutes. You will have lost the attention of everyone after the 50th minute anyway. Don’t provide lunch, snacks or whatever, everyone loses focus thus less productive.
What can you do with that extra time? No, No, No.. .don’t check your social media accounts or text messages. Instead, return that phone call, update your manager, check on your team or respond to email.
Leave your office for lunch. Don’t even go to the lunch/break room. If it’s nice outside, have lunch outside. If the weather doesn’t permit that, have lunch in a small conference room. Meet up with a friend that doesn’t work with you and don’t talk about work. Relax, enjoy your meal and go back to work fully refreshed and ready for the second half.
FINISH THE REST OF YOUR WORK DAY:
Touch base with your colleagues and team, check your email and have your meetings, but whatever you do, do not have any meeting or phone calls at least an hour before you are supposed to leave. During that time you should be setting up your calendar for the next day. Clean your desk and roll out of there.
GO HOME/GO TO GYM:
Pick up kids, go to the gym, go home prep your meals, get your clothes out for the next day.
Read a book, watch some TV.
TURN OFF THE POWER 1 HOUR BEFORE BED:
That means turn off all electronics and lighting. Be sure to be in early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep. If you woke up early, you will not have a problem going to bed early. It will be like clockwork once you establish the pattern.
Some of the most successful people blend their personal and professional life. If you don’t, one or the other will suffer. Always prioritize yourself in that equation. Without structure, stress levels are high, you don’t think straight, you kill all your time “multitasking” and nothing ever seems to get done.