Lets have real routines
I have read a lot about people’s crazy awesome morning routines. These people get up early, skip coffee, jog, do yoga, prepare for the day and shit rainbows while getting all of their dreams accomplished.
Reading them you cannot help but think that the people writing them are some superhuman machines. For those (most) of us that cannot ascend to those heights though there are some important takeaways. I learned these the hard way after attempting to change my life for a month. I started getting up earlier so I could reap the rewards those articles said I would. Lets just say… it was not very fruitful.
If you do not have the disposition to put yourself through such an experience, no judgment, I will share what I took away from it here.
Know your time frames
When do you like to be creative, when can you be focused, when do you just not care? For me none of those happen at 4:30am without coffee while jogging. We all have ebbs and flows in energy and concentration. Productivity is not about ignoring that and power-housing through it with some god-like routine. Being productive is knowing when your mind and energy levels can do something and tackling the right task for your current state.
Know your sleep needs
One thing I want to ask all the posters of early morning routines is how early they go to bed. We all need z(zz) hours of sleep. Figuring out what your z(zz) hours are is vital. This sets up everything else about your routine. I personally need 6 hours any less and I am screwed and any more will usually give me headaches. Some need more other need less. A buddy of mine need 10 hours which to me is insane but my brother runs smoothly on 4 equally insane. There is no one size fits all just figure out how to recharge your batteries so you can plan the rest of your life around that.
Know your sleep schedule
Getting up early forced me to go to bed earlier. I would lay down at 9 and feel completely out of place. As I tried to fall asleep I would get anxious about the tasks I was not doing. Normally I would code some, look over prospective clients, organize my thoughts, plan and read. Instead after wrestling my son to bed I’d have enough time to read a few pages. The promise was a productive morning. Except it wasn’t. I expended all my energy just getting out of bed and brushing my teeth. Plus yoga or jogging. I also, started out not drinking coffee (yes I was committed). This was clearly not the time my body wanted to sleep or get up at. Again knowing this is key to planning your routine and being productive.
Define what being Productive is to you
Some it is 80 hours in the office crossing off bullet or resolving Jiras other it is getting out of bed (I’ve been there). We are all at different levels don’t be ashamed of it but get stable then push yourself. Right now for me it means my work is done, my stress is low and I am able to smile with my son. In my definition that is being productive as f***. I would like to be adding client to my freelancing, making awesome products or frameworks and blogging much more but currently with what is on my plate in life those are not ideal.
Putting it all together
To be productive you need to know what that is and then fit the right pieces of the puzzles together. Knowing how much sleep you need and when you sleep optimally helps you effectively plan when you are able to do tasks that matter. When you understand how your energy levels and cognitive abilities fluctuate throughout the day you will know when to tackle specific bullet points on that to-do list of yours. Let’s stop bragging about wow factors and be productive on our terms.