Is Your Schedule Optimized for Productivity?

Many of our lives are on auto-pilot and we seldom stop to ‘think’ if it’s something conscious, or if circumstances have forced that upon us. Some of us also have a certain randomness to our work schedule. Everyday is different. But by creating set-patterns, we absolve ourselves from making repetitive decisions every single day, thereby increasing our productivity. We bring a sense of order and rhythm to our lives. In fact, that’s what effective systems and processes do for a company, decisions are pre-thought way before it needs to be made, when things are more calm and sane.

Warren Buffet says, “never make a decision when you are tired. It’s the worst time to make a decision.”

Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals is a connotation of the daily routines of great people like Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Henry Miller, and one hundred and sixty philosophers, writers, composers, and artists.

In his book, Currey mentions a quote of W.H. Auden “Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” He further quotes a guest of Auden who once noted, “eating, drinking, writing, shopping, crossword puzzles, even the mailman’s arrival – all are timed to the minute and with accompanying routines.” The book also mentions that Auden was an early riser, and his cocktail hour usually started at 6:30 pm with strong vodka martinis, with the great man never going to bed later than 11:00 pm.

The book infers that great people had schedules that varied little over their lifetime.

Another great artist, Francis Bacon, whose life appeared disorderly to the outside world, with excessive alcohol consumption, and late night parties had a work pattern that varied little over his lifetime. Currey’s book mentions that “in spite of the late night parties, Bacon rose early and worked for several hours, usually finishing before noon. Then another long afternoon and evening of carousing stretched before him. He would have a friend to the studio to share a bottle of wine, or he would head out for drinks at a pub, followed by a long lunch at a restaurant and then more drinks at a succession of private clubs.”

What is your daily routine like? Are you an early riser or prefer to start the day late?

My schedule is something similar to what you see below.

8 am to 9 am : Gratitude, self-talk, preparing my attention list for the day.

9 am to 11:30 am : Write articles, answer questions on quora and yahoo answers, social media tasks mostly on twitter, reading articles and other news.

12:00 pm to 2:30 pm : Handling Client work and assigning/delegating tasks to my team.

3:00 pm to 5 pm : Meetings, Marketing related activities

5 pm to 6 pm : reply to emails and other miscellaneous work

Check out below what some of our other readers have to say about their schedules.

Questions we’ve been discussing:

Q. What is your daily schedule?

A. Phil Turner (The Teaching Escape Guy)

4 am wake up and at the computer by 5 am.

6 am – 7.30 pm go for a 5 mile walk.

8 am breakfast, then work on creative writing until 11 am

11 am – 12 pm socialize and cook lunch

12 pm – 4 pm working again, primarily on contracts

4 pm -5 pm socialize and cook dinner

5 pm – 7 pm working

7 pm – 9 pm chill out time

9 pm bed

A. Deborah (Social Strategist)

I plan out my day, every day, with time blocks of this many hours here and this many hours there for different projects that are on my list.  I am able to predict how many hours are needed by using a time tracking software (Klok).

It is possible to get so hung up in tracking time and being organized that nothing gets done (I’ve been there!).  So, I cut myself some slack on the time tracking.  I try to do it, but I don’t get hung up if I miss the time tracking for a day.  When it comes to projects that pay by the hour (which I actually try to avoid), then I do ensure that the time tracking is perfectly in order.

Q. What is your #1 strategy to stay productive?

A. Phil Turner (The Teaching Escape Guy)

I stay productive by taking breaks when I need to. I find that exercise is like rebooting my brain. If I am struggling with an idea then  I walk away from the computer, ideally go for a 30 minute walk and when I come back I have everything worked out in my head. The problem has gone away.

A. Deborah (Social Strategist)

My mind is the type that goes off in a hundred different directions in one 60 second span.  So, while I describe all of this strategy of time tracking, I sometimes don’t adhere to it.  What keeps me sane, though, is using ONE task item on my calendar that I open every day to find my SIX top priorities.  As I think of other things that I want to do in my business, I add it to the bottom of the list.  Then, as I finish one of the six, I take one of the other items from the bottom of the description of that Google calendar task and put it in the slot for the next day, as one of the Six.

I have been doing that for years and it is what keeps me productive.  Oh, also, I include my five successes from the day before, to keep me motivated with the accomplishments.

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