With a two year old and two businesses, people often accuse me of having a clone or that I must not sleep at night. I never know how to respond since I have a deep secret. . . I sleep a minimum of 7 hours a night and most nights I get in a good 8 hours.
I love sleep!
Sleeping gives me the energy to do all the things I accomplish during the week.
The key to getting things done has nothing to do with pulling all nighters, instead, to really pursue your goals you need to be disciplined. During my first graduate degree a professor I highly respect said I was the most disciplined student he had in 40 years of teaching. Notice he did not say the smartest or most talented, he said the most disciplined. That is great news because disciple can be taught and learned.
"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day."
If you are struggling to get everything done in your work week, try these tips to become more disciplined.
Work is for Work
It should be apparent but your work should be focused on work. Don’t get me wrong, I am on social media, Reddit, YouTube, Flipboard and Pinterest daily (don’t judge me).
However, when I am working I do not spend time on distracting websites. In the past I would delete any social media apps on my phone to ensure I would stay focused. With that said, for every 50 minutes of work I will take a 5-10 minute mental break to check Reddit, social media, or watch something on YouTube.
Also, for those of you that work at home, have a dedicated space that is used only for work.
My weekly schedule is never the same, yet at least once a week I work from home. When working from home I complete my morning routine and then get ready to go to work even though it is just a few steps away. I start working fully dressed and prepared just as if I was with a client.
Work is for work and keep it that way.
Speaking of Morning Routines
As stated above, before work I have a morning routine which sets the tone for the entire day.
You might dismiss morning routines, yet many know the value of having a specific routine to get the day going. Mine is like clockwork Monday - Friday:
- 6:00am: wake up
- 6:02am: make protein shake
- 6:04 - 6:18am: read Bible
- 6:20 - 6:40am: play with dogs
- 6:45 - 7:30am: workout
- 7:32am: eat breakfast
- 7:40am: floss, brush teeth, shower, and get dressed
- 8:00am: journal
- 8:10am: start work
Am I really this rigid . . . yes. Do I feel like I have added value to my life by 8:10am . . . yes.
Also, I try my best to not look at email until after journaling. There are many days where I fail but the next day is another opportunity. I am not suggesting my precision for everyone, however my routine sets my mind for the day.
I had not heard this term until I was listening to Tim Ferriss and he explained how he would “batch” his email, i.e. set specific times to respond. This was an unfamiliar term, yet something I have done for years.
While I am working I focus on specific tasks and block out days accordingly. My days are never the same, yet they normally have some type of consistency with writing in the morning, difficult projects mid-morning, meetings after lunch, creative projects in the late afternoon, and follow up communications at night after my son goes to bed.
The key is to dedicate blocks of time to tasks instead of jumping from one to the next without staying focused.
Going back to my deep secret, yes I sleep 7-8 hours a night and am able to get a lot done during the week because I am disciplined. I know others are more creative, intelligent, and talented than me. I cannot control those aspects of life.
What I can do is stay away from distractions, keep a routine, and batch my work.