I judge you unfortunate because you have never lived through misfortune. You have passed through life without an opponent— no one can ever know what you are capable of, not even you” - Seneca
This is a time in history that we will be telling our grandchildren about. It is a time that we get to test ourselves and we get to grow. I know there are a lot of negative things happening because of this pandemic but you can make a lot of positive things happen for yourself during this time.
I live in Ohio and today is day 12 of a state-wide lockdown. My company has been working fully remote for about 4 weeks now. I’ve worked from home before but only on a one to two days per week basis. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and I’ve felt my self slipping into an undisciplined routine. I realize that we’re living in unprecedented times but I would like to come out of this quarantine having kicked a lot of ass instead of sitting around in fear. I feel out of a productive routine so this blog post is about what I’m doing to fix it. I hope it helps you too.
This is going to be my routine moving forward:
Your day can be anything you decide it is, so the night before I’m going to plan that my next day is going to be productive. I’ll analyze my Trello board before I go to bed so I know what I have to do in the morning. Then before I go to bed I’ll lock my phone in my Kitchen Safe for 18 hours so that it unlocks around 2-3 pm the next day. There are a lot of reasons why I do this that I’ll get into further in a future blog post. I highly recommend doing it though, it has changed my life. Phones are designed to be human attention machines.
Sleep is always important but even more so now because your immune system is weaker without sleep. After reading Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep I take sleep very seriously. In that book he dives into studies as to why sleep isn’t just good for your mental health, it’s good for every function in your body.
I know I sound like your dentist right now but there’s an important reason I included this that has nothing to do with your dental health. How you do one thing is how you do everything is a very popular saying that I’ve found to be true, so I put a lot of work into brushing my teeth. I have a little sand timer that I use to make sure I brush for at least 2 minutes, then I floss my teeth with a flossing stick, then I use mouth wash to clean all of the parts that I missed. I feel great after I put that much work into something as simple as brushing my teeth and then I want to continue that streak into everything else that I do that day…and it’s great for my dental health.
One of my goals last quarter was to start taking a supplement because I wasn’t taking anything before and after a lot of research I decided on Athletic Greens. This supplement also boosts the immune system because it packs Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Selinum into a one scoop serving. I also take their Vitamin D + Vitamin K supplement to further boost my immune system.
I’ve been using Trello for the past 5 years now and I don’t know how to function without it at this point. I’ll write a blog post in the future that goes more in-depth into this but for now know that my Trello board consists of 9 lists, a complete list, a future to-do list, and a list for every day of the week. Every Monday morning I assign myself tasks on each day of the week, I try not to schedule more than 1 hour a day since these tasks are mostly for personal objectives. I got this productivity system from John Sonmez and it has done wonders for me. He uses Kanban Flow instead of Trello but you can do the same thing in Trello. You can watch his video here.
The first thing I do in the morning is that I work on my personal goals (such as writing for this blog) before I start working. I can trade the time I used to use to commute for time to get me closer to my goals. I find that I’m the most productive first thing in the morning which is perfect for an activity like writing.
After reading Deep Work by Cal Newport, I schedule everything on my Google Calendar and I live and die by it. I don’t schedule minute things on there like brushing my teeth, instead, I time block everything so something like brushing my teeth would fall into my morning routine time block. I already have my personal calendar ingrained in my brain but my work calendar varies because of meetings and that’s how I schedule my tasks, so I do a quick check on it before I start my workday.
I approach my professional work like I approach my personal work. Every Monday I schedule out every task I’m supposed to get done that week on my Google Calendar. I create events for every single task that I’m going to do that week. This accomplishes two things, it gives me a map of exactly what I’m supposed to do every day and it discourages people from inviting me to meetings. Whenever someone wants to invite me to a meeting they usually ask first now since they see my calendar is so full.
After I’m done with my job for the day I disconnect and try not to work further into the night. It is very tempting to keep working after normal work hours when working from home and if you work on long-term projects like I do but I’ve burnt myself out multiple times in my life and it is very difficult to get yourself back into the groove after you work too hard. I’d rather consistently get great work done every day than work 10-12 hours a day and burn myself out. This is also yet another thing I’ve learned from Deep Work, so I highly suggest checking that book out.
I hope this post helped you out. Stay safe out there.