Back in September 2005, I read a book that had a profound impact on me – and has since become a firm favorite in my library and one I refer to regularly.
The book is called The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity by Catherine Ponder and is one of those insightful books where every page has something to wow you. Reading this one book early on in my career played a key part in molding who I became.
One of the key insights I took away was about creating a routine that supports the goals you want to achieve in the most efficient way possible.
Designing my schedule took a lot of work which is ironic since the purpose of designing my schedule was to cut down on the amount of hours I worked.
I struggled to find something that fit.
Some weeks I would get up early, get ready, grab my laptop and head down to my local Starbucks or Costa. I would get to work before my brain even caught up with me – and by the time I’d look at my watch (usually 12:30pm) I would have accomplished what most do in a day. Then I would wrap everything up by early afternoon right about the time that the baristas would come over and ask if I was in school—because they never understood why anyone would actually work for more than 3 hours in a coffee shop. Sitting and talking for 2 hours was understandable but having a laptop was clearly not.
Other weeks I would laze about all morning, shower in the afternoon, and begin my workday after a scrumptious lunch, trying to realize maximum potential in the afternoon hours.
I tried several different working hour options, yet none really gave me the optimal productivity, profitability, and happiness boost I was seeking.
Suffice it to say, it took months for me to find a routine that allowed me to get the most productivity and profitability from my schedule but now that I have one, I am happier than ever.
I work fewer hours, fewer days, but still manage to work harder in that shortened time period than most web entrepreneurs I know, who constantly complain about “not enough hours in the day” … and my profitability has been higher than ever.
How did I do it? How did I finally find a schedule that made me happy and maximized by productivity and profitability?
I worked with my body’s natural clock.
And you can too!
By reading my 7 tips below, hopefully you can skip the months of trial and error and just learn from my mistakes.
I found that the reason I was struggling so much, and why so many people struggle in their jobs or businesses to stay productive and happy, is because I was trying to be productive at the wrong times.
Here are 7 tips that have helped me create an optimal daily routine – and can help you do the same:
Tip #1: Work With Your Body
By learning your natural body clock and the peaks in energy you have, you can maximize your productivity at the best times in the day rather than trying to stay up at night or wake up early in the morning by willpower alone.
For example, the body’s natural temperature drops around 3pm and 3am. These two hourly periods are known as “The Lazy Hour”.
It is at these times that you will feel the most tired and drained. This is why the afternoon seems to drag on. If you work from home, you can plan your day around these times and take breaks or exercise or run errands during the time that your brain needs a break the most.
However 4.30-6.30am which follows the morning lazy hour is known as “The Holy Hours” – the most auspicious, magical time of the day, where you have the most energy, strength and conviction to pursue your ambitions.
You’re probably thinking, ‘Are you serious, Kavit! I feel most tired at that time, how could it be my most energetic hour?’ Like anything new, change is never easy so, your first few days waking at 5am isn’t going to be easy – but when you can fix it into your routine and then use that time for brief exercise, visualization, meditation and planning your day, you’ll create the most productivity, profitability and happiness in your business and life.
Tip #2: Determine Who You Are
This means figure out if you are a night owl or a morning lark.
If you would prefer to wake up before the sun and get more done before 9am than most people do all day, you are a morning person.
If you prefer to stay up late and get your workload finished as the night turns to dawn, you are a night owl (and a bit crazy as far as I am concerned).
I use to be a late afternoon-to-night person, until I happened to come across a few articles and studied deeper into body clocks and the impact on productivity, which led me to realize that the early morning time is when we can truly harness the power of our minds to create and implement the tasks we need to at the highest level, pushing us closer to our dreams and vision. I started to re-tune my own routine so I became a morning person. Now, by 3pm, I’m usually depleted with “work” energy and it’s time to play.
Tip #3: Work With Your Energy
This means knowing when your mind peaks naturally. Your peak time is when you are most energetic, alive and focused. You have a high level of concentration during this time which you can leverage to achieve your greatest goals of the day.
Some people need to relax in the morning before their brains can really get working and churn out creative thoughts. Others get their creativity in the early morning. More difficult work such as brainstorming, designing, writing, and planning should be done during peak time. More mundane tasks like phone calls, writing and responding to photocopying, printing, should be saved for the times when you have a low amount of energy.
For me, the earlier the morning, the more powerful my efforts are. Fear not, I was never like this. I was quite the lazy person, but slowly and surely I managed to tune myself to become a morning person. As mentioned above, the energy and passion you can create in the morning is truly unlike any other so utilizing this can turn you into a productivity powerhouse.
Tip #4: Book Meetings Outside Peak Times
If you have to book a Skype chat or a webinar, don’t do it during your peak times. The reason being, your creative—or “peak”—time is worth much more than your non-peak time.
If you book a phone call during your peak hours and it runs on for an hour, that is an hour of peak time lost. That means when you sit down to finish your creative writing later, you won’t have the energy and creative flow because it was wasted on the phone call.
That is not to say that phone calls or emails or other such tasks are not important. It just means that you can be just as attentive and effective on a phone call during non-peak hours, but the same is not true for the hard work like designing and writing.
Tip #5: Keep Your Body Replenished
It’s important to stay nourished and hydrated. This may seem remedial but it is amazing how easy it is to forget.
For a long time, I machined through my days without a sip of water, tea, coffee, or even a bite to eat — only to realize that it is 5.30pm and time to think about preparing dinner.
Usually, I found those days to be my most exhausting and unhappy days because my evening and night would suffer and have an effect upon the next day, too. I start to feel cranky and irritable and I have a headache. Once I take a moment to eat a healthy snack and drink some water, I feel much better and can think clearly again.
As part of my optimal routine, I always drink a pint of lukewarm water first thing before I start my working day. Sometimes I squeeze a few drops of lime into it too. I also have a simple muesli breakfast (topped with nuts and seeds) with soya milk, and get to work.
I drink a cup of spice tea around 11am, and then have a light sandwich or salad lunch at around 12.30pm. At 3pm, I’ll usually end my workday or take on the less important tasks with a handful of nuts and seeds, and another cup of spice tea.
Tip #6: Keep Moving
Getting exercise is an absolute must on a daily basis. Gary Halbert, when in prison wrote to his son what became “The Boron Letters”, and in one of his first messages he advised the daily practice of going for a walk or run first thing in the morning before even picking up your pen to get to work. It provides a release of emotions that turns you into your greatest self for the day.
In the same way, you’ll want to replenish your energy regularly by taking breaks in between your work patterns.
Typically, I schedule my day with 3-4 core focused work blocks using a 50-10 system. That is, 50 minutes of focused work on one single project with all distractions (email, social media, phone, Skype closed and shut down), and 10 minutes of down time for the lazy jobs, exercise and breaks.
Tip #7: Observe Concentrated Silence
This has to be my secret tip.“As it is I don’t have enough hours in the day Kavit, and now you’re suggesting I sit in silence for a concentrated amount of time?”
Absolutely. In fact, this should be the very first thing you do in your work day.
The impact it’s had on me has been profound.
Generally, the majority of people think silence is bad. So when we experience silence around us, we start to talk, sing, listen to music, get on the phone, and do anything that creates noise.
Yet science has proven time after time, showing us that noise drains us of energy, and silence conserves and amplifies our energy reserves. From silence our true powers emerge, and with that power you can express yourself in your work and life to a high degree of success.
Plan time at the start of your day for a period of silent reflection. Close your eyes, breathe in and out deeply, and sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t do any work during this short time. As you get better at this you can increase the time you spend. It will certainly make you more productive and profitable, and bring peace to your day.
So there you have it – my 7 tips on designing your best daily routine for maximum probability and profitability.
Next, I’d LOVE to hear from you. Take a few moments to leave me a comment below- and share what you do to increase your own productivity. Also, what did you think of this article? Do share…