I recently read two fantastic books. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner you may have heard of them, or maybe even read them. But have you yet taken action on them?
I’m here to help you take action, and part of that action is going to be helping you set up your daily routine.
The two books are the Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson, and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. In reality, these two books are equally as good and practically the same content, however, I found the latter to be slightly more useful because it’s accompanied with supplemental work sheets that help you map out your goals called – Living Your Best Year Ever. You could read one of the three, I read them all because frankly, they’re that good.
The premise of these books is that your life is made up of a series of small, but important decisions that lead you down one of two paths. One going upwardly, exponentially growing to achieving your every dreams, or a downward spiral manifesting itself into poor health, poor finances and broken relationships. If it sounds grim, it’s not, I found the books to be positive, optimistic, and keep in mind, changing your path from the one to the other, can happen at any point in your life. Much as I discussed in a previous post called the best time to start something is now, living your best year ever doesn’t need to start on January 1. For me I was introduced to the Living Your Best Year ever in December. It took me about 10 hours (completed over a week) to do the goal mapping for the year, but it was well worth the effort. Another premise of the book I found memorable – People often over estimate what they can do in a day, and under estimate what they can do in a year.
But, I fell off the wagon about two months ago after a long and arduous travel schedule, and I lost momentum. So, I’m starting again, not really from scratch, but in earnest. I’m going to map out my daily routine, because without a doubt both authors equivocally state that without a daily routine, and goals that you both map and work towards, you’re drifting aimlessly more than likely on the downward path.
Here is an example of my daily routine, yours doesn’t need to be the same, but I strongly encourage you to come up with some type of daily routine so that you can move closer towards your goals. And, I’d love to hear about your own version below in the comments. Please do share.
A Day In The Life > Routine version 1
5am – Alarm goes off (Yes, I’m a morning guy, and I used to not even use alarms, but I sleep better with one knowing I don’t have to worry about checking the time in the morning).
5:10 – 5:30. Meditation on daily goals, focus, creativity, whatever you want to mediate on. Andrew Warner got me started on meditation, which I basically started 1 day after this interview with him on meditation and reaching your goals. I use the app Headspace.com because the guy has a soothing voice, and they auto time you, so I don’t have to be distracted by thinking about when my session will end. I do 15 minutes because they recommend 5 minutes longer than you think you can. I’ve done 20 minutes, but that is a lot of time for me.
5:30 – 6am – I do 15 minutes of language learning (using duolingo.com – I finished Spanish and am moving on to Italian), I do this while I’m making strong espresso for my wife and me.
6am – 6:30am – This time for me is the core part of my setup for success routine. I start with a Gratitude Journal, where I spend 3-5 minutes writing down something (google docs, or evernote) I’m grateful for. I love the quote – Happiness stems from gratefulness. There will always be guys/gals doing “better” than me (seemingly) but if I’m grateful for what I have, and I have LOADS to be grateful for, I’m on that upward path to staying happy. I also write out my top 3 most important tasks for the day (I call them Daily Big 3). I use evernote to map these out because it has an easy check box option to put next to each of them. The key is that you split each task out to something that will move you or your business, personal life or work towards a weekly goal, which in turn works toward a monthly goal, and ties back in to the ultimate goal of where you hope to be in 365 days.
6:30am – 7am – Green smoothie time. Yep, I’m kind of a health nut too, so I start off every day with a green smoothie, it actually agrees with me and gives me the most energy for the day. I usually use spinach and some type of citrus as my base (orange, grapefruit or sometimes carrot juice but water is good too), and mix in at least one type of sweet fruit so it at least tastes good. I also squeeze in lime and put in a healthy dose of Aztec Sea Salt ( a tip I learned from a NYT best selling author – if you want to learn how to create the perfect “All Day Energy” drink, check it out). At ten minutes to 7, I take my eldest son down to his bus for school. I enjoy this as part of my routine, I also help out with him getting ready for school during this time.
7am – 8:30am – Complete at least 1 of my Daily Big 3 tasks for the day. Sometimes, I’ve been able to complete two of these tasks. Notice, so far I’ve not said anything about email, checking the news, or checking facebook. I sometimes do this, but I’ve found that doing this gets me distracted, so I’m now going to try and not even check email but once quickly around 7am to make sure there are no emergencies, and then I’m telling my team not to expect to see emails until at least noon, my time.
8:30am – 10am – Exercise. This isn’t about me telling you the benefits of exercise, but I need it and without it I’m a wreck so I indulge. Usually, it’s a mix of high intensity workouts, and lower more enjoyable things like surfing, running, etc. Mix it up, and I do it 7 days a week. Really, this hour could be inter-mixed with some type you time, easy yoga stuff, or even delayed until the afternoon when you could go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, or spend time with your children. I do believe in at least 90 minutes of you time unplugging in some way during the day.
10am – 12pm. Finish off Daily Big 3 tasks. This is a newer directive for me, I used to have this hour blocked off for at least one type of sales calls, or a call that moves my business forward, but I’m going to try and not do that any more unless necessary. For this time, I plan to work exclusively on a task(s) that will help me complete my weekly task/monthly task, or move my goals forward.
12pm – 12:30pm – Check email/lunch. Drats, I’m not in the position where I can’t get away from doing this. Hopefully, I can just batch answer as many emails as I can, and move on from this, but part of good communication and customer service involves email. That’s life, deal with it, but be as effective as you can by batching and limiting yourself to short bursts periodically throughout the day. That means closing out email programs, GMail or whatever app you use.
12:30 – 4 or 5pm. All Hell Breaks Loose. This is the reactive part of your day. If you’re lucky, you can work on more goals, or complete goals that you weren’t able to finish in the morning, or simply just work on parts of your business that come up. This is also where you can put in sales calls, idea extraction calls, customer service calls, meetings with your team, do your prospecting, etc. If I have some quiet time, I usually try and squeak in an hour of some type of training too. For me, a big part of my year is learning how to run traffic, so I’m usually studying up on some aspect of this.
5-6pm. Sometimes it’s earlier, depending on how productive I may have been with my day, sometimes it’s later if I had a particularly busy day but you need a way to close down your day. In this hour, I actually keep a journal of what I did, my DIT Journal (Did It Today). This actually journals what I accomplished, and it’s a big recommendation that Darren and Jeff talk about in their books. If you actually journal what you did, as opposed to what you will do, you’ll be amazed at how much more you actually accomplish. This makes sense, so I’m doing it too, and it doesn’t take long. I will also answer any lingering emails, and I can relax with some brain candy Facebook, checking news, etc. I no longer really post, or check facebook feeds because I feel a bit icky after I do this – of course I scan a bit quickly but not much. I do check my Instant Messages because some times it’s the only way some people know how to get in touch with me.
6pm – 10pm I shut down. I even put my phone away, and I focus on whatever is going on with my family or what’s happening during that precise time. I’ve put in a good day by now, it’s time to turn off work, and focus on what is going on in your house and being offline is an important part of that. This could be relaxing, reading, meeting with friends, going out and enjoying the summer daylight, you name it, but I’m a big fan of unplugging at 6pm. We always have a family dinner where we sit together, and I’m lucky enough to catch a glass of wine with my wife down on the beach too during this hour, (many grateful journal entries on this). I usually try and read at least 10 pages per day on some type of informative, business related, or inspirational type of material.
Whew, and that’s it.
So, here’s the part where we can help each other out. I’ve also picked up an accountability partner. This is someone that I meet with once a week for 30 minutes, and we talk about our daily, weekly wins, losses, or Aha moments. This is hugely helpful, and I want to help people out that may also be interested in this. If you write to me (simply respond in the comments below) or ask me to connect you with someone (provided enough of you show interest), I’ll do that. If enough people write in, I want to also hold a free and impromptu google hangout talking more in depth about this system of goals and mapping out successful routines. The schedule for this could be put into the comments as well.
If you’re interested in finding an accountability buddy, let me know and I’ll try and match you up with anyone else that wants or needs a buddy. Also, let me know if you’d like for me to do a Google Hangout on routines, or these three books. Or, check them out yourself. You’ll be one step closer to reaching your dreams.
Have fun, and here’s to being productive. Don’t forget to post a comment below about your daily routine. I’d love to hear about it, I’m sure others would as well.