Oh the joys of freelancing! People think you just sit around from morning to afternoon in your pyjamas and only bother to get dressed or brush your hair and apply make-up if you need to been seen in public. After a year standards can slip further and you can go to the corner shop in your slippers wearing a onesie! Suffice to say that I do not own a onsie; as tempting as the idea is and I’d never dream of being seen in public in one, but I have been known to pop to the postbox on the corner in my slippers and with unbrushed hair. Whilst there are some who can work effectively all day in their pyjamas it simply does not work for me.
I need routine, and I find that the tone of my day is set from the start. If I start off well it continues and I have a fantastic productive day, if I start slowly it remains with my throughout the day and I go to bed feeling crotchety at underachieving. When you work in an office your routine is governed by your manager and corporate culture, I’ve never choose to go back to it, but I find to be effective I need to set both my routine and business culture.
First off is a regular alarm time, mine is set for 8.01 – that important extra minute after 8am – with an affirming message to accompany it. To prepare for the best day possible, I need an excellent nights sleep, so I also have a night time reminder for screen free time. I am going to add some more alarms, all for the crucial 8.01 with other motivating affirmations. If I am awake before the alarm, and it is after 6.30 I generally get up and on with things.
The next step is to get out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off. We have a rule of no bottoms in dressing gowns on the sofa of a week day, unless we are not well, so it is straight into the shower, then get dressed including shoes.
However many deadlines I have I always seem to have a better day if I sit down at the kitchen table for a proper breakfast; coffee, cereal, porridge or granola with some fruit, and a small glass of Tropicana orange juice, this is a great source of vitamins C and B9 and also one of my 5 a day. Whilst I have breakfast I have a first pass of emails on the phone; mainly deleting things that need no action, and working out which are the most important and need an immediate response.
I keep track of my to-dos using Toodledo – an invaluable online task manager that syncs across my phone, tablet and computer and reminds me of all my deadlines, as well as keeping track of projects, ideas and lists. Having a trusted to-do system revolutionises your life and removes a certain amount of stress. That said, I like a paper to do list too – the act of writing down my frog for the day – the item I have been putting off, but really must do, as well as the next three most important things. If I get through them, wonderful – I feel I have achieved and the act of crossing them off spurs me on to do all the other things on my list.
If I am not going to the gym mid morning, I’ll go for a quick walk after breakfast, just once round the block. It is my commute and thinking time, a chance to see the sky, check out the state of the trees and reflect on the evolving seasons and get myself into a working state of mind.
Back from my walk and to my desk. I like a clear and uncluttered desk – usually I move most of my paper work off it – as this helps me concentrate. I keep a few favourite ornaments and my beloved pretty notebooks and coloured pens. I work with my laptop docked to a monitor with a wireless keyboard and mouse, for years I sat hunched over a laptop or on the sofa. It is uncomfortable, and really does not do your posture or back any favours – if you do not have the space for a monitor stand your laptop on a stack of books and work with a separate keyboard and mouse, it makes a world of difference.
A glass of water is essential to stay hydrated and also helps concentration. I use a Pomodoro timer on my phone – on a 25 work, 5 min break cycle, if you have trouble staying focussed it is the perfect, even life changing technique. Anyone can concentrate on anything for 25 minutes, and in the 5 min break I can get up, move around, make coffee, put the dishwasher or washing machine on or empty it.
And there you have it, a morning routine for a successful productive day.
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Post sponsored by Tropicana. All opinions our own.