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Confession: How I Really Plan My Day and What It Cost Me

I work with clients on incorporating more ease in their day-to-day and still get loads of s#!t done.

They’re badass business owners, who bust through fear and take action. It’s why I love helping them solve this problem.  

We meet for a couple of sessions and within a few weeks to few months, they have a new way of working in their business that they love.

They’re getting more stuff done, both in their business and personal life. And they’re doing it all with more ease and clarity.

For me, though, it took so much longer. Instead of settling into a routine that worked for me within a few weeks, it took me 18 months!

That’s right… over a year!

I knew exactly when I’d be writing, when I’d be working with clients, when to book personal appointments like a doctor visit or massage, when those twice-daily dog walks would take place.

I had it nailed down.
I loved it.
I relished in it.

I mean, it took 18 freaking months to get it “right”.

Unfortunately, I also got comfortable.

Comfort isn’t always a bad thing; there’s definitely a time and place for it.

In business, comfort can stifle growth.

Yes, my perfected routine had allowed me to know exactly when I would be doing certain actions throughout the day and hold super tight to my time boundaries.

If I knew my day was already packed and someone asked to get on my calendar, I felt confident telling them “No” and letting them know I could chat later in the week or the following week.

No drama, just a reply.

It gave me the structure and guidelines of how to go about scheduling tasks, meetings and projects.

But… I also got complacent.

It was more than just going about my day and not having to give loads of mental thought to what to do at what time.

I wasn’t thinking through what I was doing and why and the actions and where my time was being spent.

I became too easy on myself. My awesome, stellar, can’t-stop-raving-about-it routine allowed me to be too comfortable in the actions I was taking within my business.

I was no longer stretching my comfort zone or taking risks within my business on a regular basis. Heck, I wasn’t even getting near the edge.

I was missing opportunities to reach more people.

And work with more clients.

And yes, I was stopping myself from making money.

So now I’m totally blowing it up.

I just finished reading When, Daniel Pink’s book on the science of time.

In it, Pink talks about three specific stages throughout the day that all humans experience in their level of energy – peak, trough, recovery.

A peak, which is your top level of mental focus and energy and typically is within the first 4-5 hours after waking.

A trough, which is the dip in energy that occurs after the peak, or about 4-5 hours after you wake up.

A recovery, which is a small boost in energy in the latter part of the day that brings you out of the trough but not quite back to peak levels.

This concept got me thinking – maybe I was getting in my own way in a BIG way when it came to my routine.

In my “perfected” daily routine, I knew I would start at 7am and wrap up at 3pm. Come 4 o’clock, I’d usually find a little burst of energy to work on a blog post, or get back to a client on a strategy question.

But, being a good rule-follower, I told myself that I couldn’t do it. I needed to hold myself super firm to my boundaries. This need to get back to work was normal for this “no off button” business owner but I couldn’t entertain the feeling.

Now I understand that the little, last burst of energy, the second wind at the end of my day, was really my recovery period.

Knowing that important piece of the puzzle, I’m going to change up my beloved routine.

Instead of focusing on my output only for the day and trying to get it all in within a specific set of hours, like this:

I’m going to align my work more closely to where my energy and focus is more appropriate, like here:

The peak is when it’s best to focus on analytical activities, according to Pink. The tasks where we need to pay super close attention to what we’re doing.

For me, that’s the morning and specifically from 7am – 11am. I consider myself a morning person. This is my time to be ultra-focused, put my butt in the seat and solve those complex problems for myself and clients.

I would always hit a lull towards the end of my peak, but felt like I needed to keep pushing.

Now that I understand is this is the trough and the dip in focus is what happens to my body’s natural rhythm, this is where creativity will live. The tasks that revel in looser boundaries, like writing and big scale dreaming.

The trough is also a great time for those activities that don’t take as much brain power and that we can’t pass over to our assistant (and, yes, we all have them).

I also give myself permission to schedule some FUN during the trough, like a massage.

The recovery will come after 3pm, which I was already aware of but pushed aside as an old, bad habit trying to creep in.

The late afternoon/early evening time will be time to try out that new recipe for dinner or plan what I’m going to teach on my next webinar. Or, plan out my next 10 blog posts and actually walk into my office to write them down, versus letting them swirl in my mind and get lost because I told myself, “It’s after 3pm, I’m done for the day.”

This switch is going to be challenging and hard.

I cannot wait for what’s on the other side.

Now, over to you.

How is your day-to-day routine going in your business?

Where’s your energy best aligned for focus? When’s the better time for insight and creativity?

How might you weave these concepts into your routine so that you have more ease in your day?

Comment below and share what’s going on for you. I can’t wait to hear from you!

 

Photo by Daniele Riggi on Unsplash

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