Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How do you start your days?

Lately I've had ritual on my mind - a routine, something to shape my days into something that can accommodate the incredible amount of work involved in running the zen kitchen. The hardest part is balancing all the different activities - between a growing roster of clients requiring my attention, attending to everyday administrative work and marketing stuff, and - well - having a life, some days I end up feeling enormously unproductive, even when I'm constantly busy.

That's what got me thinking when I read this post on the Marketing Mix blog, one of my favorite online haunts. Everyone's ritual is different, to be sure, but I was intrigued by the idea of having a set of activities that you do every morning aside from the typical "get up, take shower, brush teeth, fart around on e-mail for an hour" routine. Especially working from home as I do, that lack of separation can be deadly for productivity.

So now, I think I've discovered a routine that works for me. For one thing, I find that I'm most productive if I get up before 9 am (I know - there are some of you out there that will HATE me for saying that!). Any later, and the day just falls apart on me. Also important is the daily stretch, 5 minutes of quiet time/meditation before getting out of bed, and a cup of green tea with breakfast. Oh, and shower. Must have a shower. Then I go into my office, close the door (this has turned out to be vital), light a stick of green tea incense and a candle at my desk, and breathe for a moment before I start my day. I also take a look at the day's priorities and thank my lucky stars that I get to do what I love for a living.

Thus far, after a couple of months with this new ritual (almost!) daily, I've noticed an incredible spike not only in productivity, but in how I FEEL while I'm working. It's amazing; I can always tell when I've missed a piece of it, because my productivity drops right down to the floor.

So how do you start your day?


Greg Peters said...

Hi, Dani

This has been something that I've been puzzling over lately, too. I haven't managed to make it stick yet, but I've found if the first thing I do when I get up is work on a project for an hour, the rest of the day just seems to go much more smoothly. No matter what else happens, I can look back at that one hour as being thoroughly productive.

Of course, that means I need to do some planning the night before to make sure I know what I'm doing. Otherwise that first hour is filled with a lot of nothing as I putter around looking for something to do.

Dani Nordin said...


You know I'm just the opposite? I can't start my day working on something - I have to start by relaxing a bit, taking a shower, meditating, sometimes working out (although I have been working out in the evenings of late). If I start working on a project right away, I get stuck in this "need to be moving" mode that ends up getting me stuck in a non-productive funk every time.

On the planning thing, I can definitely vouche for planning in advance. I've even created a weekly job sheet that helps me see what I need to do for the week at a glance. I've only been using it a week, but it's been amazingly helpful.