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?

2 comments:

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...

@greg,

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.