By Monika Labbé
Are there times during the day when you seem to lose focus and productivity goes out the window? Me too. As a entrepreneurs, I feel that we get so easily distracted because we have so much on our plates, that we must have something wrong with us. My latest thing is forgetting what I was doing in the middle of doing it. Has that ever happened to you?
My belief is that these thing happen to us because we have not created a daily routine that promotes efficiency and allows us to really “get stuff done”.
Mental fatigue is a real struggle, as real as any physical fatigue. When we do the same things the same way hoping to get different results we are in effect setting ourselves up for failure.
All day long we are faced with choices, decisions we have to make about this or that. The more choices we make the more fatigued our brain becomes. We seem to be happier overall when we have less choices to make.
One of the routines that could help take some of those choices away is having a regular work outfit. Just having a simple few outfits on hangers ready to go each morning automatically frees you from making a decision about what to wear.
Next, streamline your meals. For me, it’s dinner that’s hardest. Every Sunday I roast enough veggies for the week. Simple, olive oil, salt & pepper and at 425 for 15 minutes and it is really a huge time saver. I’ll then roast a few chicken breasts, and then any other meat I want to eat that week for variety. Once it cools I put it in the fridge then all I have to do is just warm up dinner when I am hungry. There are also great things like Prepdish and Instacart that will make your meal planning and shopping a snap.
The key to creating a strong daily routine is to limit the amount of trivial choice on a given day, in order to maximize your energy for more important decisions. Great daily routine provide the framework not just for your day or week but for a month or a year and that saves you a lot of thinking.
Determine what time of day you are at your most productive and then guard that time. Mark your calendar off for those hours and use that time to get things done, and not trivial things like making appointments or social calls.
Recognize when your brain starts to wonder and then schedule a 10 minute mental break that does not mean sitting in the same place doing the same task. Get up, eat something or go outside for a short walk. Don’t feel like you have to do all three, just do one but be intentional about it.
Are you a person that works out, needs quiet time or journals? Schedule these things last into your day after determining when you are most productive. They will provide you will natural breaks in your day. They are also transitional tasks and will help you segue from one thing to another.
Another way to stay organized is by taking your BIG goals, breaking those goals into categories and then breaking them down into small tasks. If you do this once, you can have a monthly standing task that you can then break down into a weekly and daily task. For example, if you know you have to re-do your website, you can break it down into what needs to happen next. You will need a new headshot, you may or may not want to add video, you will need new copy, and possibly graphics or just new photos of your products. Then when you break it down you will plan when you will take that photo, write that copy etc. and by the end of the month you have put a plan in place and or even gotten closer to your goal.
Rely on project management software to guide you like Evernote, Trello or Basecamp. This will help you focus on what projects you need to tackle that week or that day. Checking emails at only set times of the day help remove distractions and helps you stay on focus.