As someone who is incredibly busy basically seven days a week, one way I have found to get the most done in the shortest amount of time is to have a morning routine. Having a structured morning from say 5am to 9am will allow you to get a huge amount of work completed in a relatively short period of time. As a bonus, by the end of your morning, many people are just waking up so you have escaped the calls and emails that can pull you away from your tasks and you have completed almost a full day's work before most people are rolling into their offices. Here's a few tips for putting together your own morning routine:
- Do the same tasks in the same order each day. Pretty soon this becomes almost automatic and you can run on auto pilot as you are becoming fully awake.
- Get a good night's sleep. Seven to eight hours is optimal.
- Wake up early--5am or 6am is best. You will have more time to work with fewer interruptions.
- Do a couple of physical tasks first (ie: picking up the house, watering the garden) as soon as you get up. This will allow your brain to fully awaken before you get started on more thought-intensive tasks.
- Set aside an hour for exercising each morning. Getting this done first thing is important as it is often easy to say you will exercise later, yet you become so busy it doesn't happen.
- Complete each task in full. If emailing is on your list, respond to or process all email that is in your email box. If updating your websites or blogs is on your list, complete this task before moving on to the next. Skipping around from task to task but not completing anything in full leads to wasted time and unfinished work.
- Write out your "to do" list for the day so you have a structure to follow.
- Do like tasks together. If you read the Bible and pray each morning, do these together. If you clean the house and do laundry, do these at the same time. When you eat breakfast, remember to take your vitamins.
- Complete at least one task that will move you forward with your major life goals, one task that will help you become more prepared and one task that will make a difference in your work. Little accomplishments each day will have a surprisingly profound impact a year from now.
A regular schedule, like any habit, may take a few weeks to set, but once you are on track, you will be amazed at the increase in productivity you can achieve.