Since the beginning of the calendar year, I’ve been meaning to tackle a daunting item on my to-do list: create work hours.
I have a loose schedule in place, but I want a firm one. I want to know what times were for which tasks: when do I write first drafts, when do I take photos, when do I process email?
Like so many people, lately I’ve been letting the urgent-seeming things (email) crowd out the important things (writing) and it’s exhausting me. I’ve also been a (willing) victim of technology creep, checking my phone too much and taking it places it doesn’t belong (like my nightstand).
I’ve been wanting to create structure, and build hard stops into my day, and Lent seemed like a wonderful time to do this–not for abstention, but for renewal. I used to have these two things, but they got away from me. I need them back.
Coincidentally, on the second day of Lent, I finally picked up the book I bought six weeks ago and have heard raves about: Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.
It was a serendipitous choice. The title says it all: this little book is about about building routines and regularity, about playing to your creative strengths and natural rhythms, about tapping into transitional moments and curating connections.
The book gave me the push I needed to make a plan for the next six weeks.
First, the hard stops: working backwards, I’m turning off my laptop at 9:00 p.m. I’m not taking my phone into my bedroom, and I’m definitely not using it as an alarm clock.
I’m stopping to read for a full hour during rest time. This feels so indulgent, and it is, but it’s also a huge source of renewal for me.
I’m writing first thing in the morning and I’m not checking my email before breakfast. (Quote that made me say ouch: “It’s better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox. Otherwise you’re sacrificing your potential for the illusion of professionalism.”)
I want to work hard, but I’m also building renewal into my days. For Lent, yes, but also because it’s just good practice, and I’m sorry I’ve put it off this long.
How do you do at managing your day-to-day? (And, if you’d like, are you doing anything differently for Lent?)
quote via 99u
Books mentioned in this post:
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind
The title says it all: this little book is about playing to your creative strengths and natural rhythms by building daily routines. Twenty-plus luminaries from a host of people who work in creative professions—Gretchen Rubin, Steven Pressfield, Teresa Amabile, Seth Godin—weigh in on the importance of their personal habits for email, solitude, social media, multitasking, and more. This inspiring and practical guide will spur you to evaluate your schedule, create better habits, and rethink your priorities.
Stop doing busywork. Start doing your best work.
Are you over-extended, over-distracted, and overwhelmed? Do you work at a breakneck pace all day, only to find that you haven’t accomplished the most important things on your agenda when you leave the office?
The world has changed and the way we work has to change, too. With wisdom from 20 leading creative minds, Manage Your Day-to-Day will give you a toolkit for tackling the new challenges of a 24/7, always-on workplace.
Featuring contributions from: Dan Ariely, Leo Babauta, Scott Belsky, Lori Deschene, Aaron Dignan, Erin Rooney Doland, Seth Godin,Todd Henry, Christian Jarrett, Scott McDowell, Mark McGuinness, Cal Newport, Steven Pressfield, Gretchen Rubin, Stefan Sagmeister, Elizabeth G. Saunders, Tony Schwartz, Tiffany Shlain, Linda Stone, and James Victore. Plus, a foreword from Behance founder & CEO Scott Belsky.