guest post by Jenna Murillo of J.Lynn Designery
Let’s start with the facts, friends. Life is chaotic.
In a world of always trying to do more and be better, keeping up isn’t always easy. More quality blog posts, higher views, better social media engagement, more publication submissions and brand inquiries...the world of blogging is a LOT to keep track of — and that’s not even considering that you may have a full-time job, family and other responsibilities filling your time. The question then comes down to how to tame the chaos?
How can you wrap your head around your week (heck, even a single day!), and determine a way to get everything in order once and for all? Life will always throw curve balls and change things up on you, and that’s perfectly ok. There will always be things outside of your control; the trick is to discover your rhythm.
Finding your productivity rhythm will help you build efficiency into your day and with energy you didn’t know you had.
Let’s rewind to summer of 2015. I had just left my day job to pursue my business and blog full-time, and all of a sudden, I had all the time in the world. Too much, in fact. The world was my oyster, and I was the bright-eyed entrepreneur ready to conquer the world. Before long, however, my time started to fill quickly. For the first time in a long time, my calendar was booked from sun up to sun down; I was working in the business, on the business, meeting with new friends and entrepreneurs I admired, attending networking events, spending my time at my church — all while keeping up with my relationship at home and planning a wedding.
My plate was full to the brim, and overwhelm became a part of my new normal. Until the day I realized that it didn’t have to be. After a few months of this exhausting lifestyle, I decided enough was enough, and I decided to change things. I made changes to my sleeping habits, eating habits, working habits, even my personal time allowance. And it was through these changes that I found my rhythm — the balance I craved that transformed my entire perspective on life and entrepreneurship.
The three things that changed everything? Sleep patterns, morning routines, and daily body care.
Now would be a good time to note that I am not of a medical profession of any kind, and the advice and recommendations below should be taken lightly. What works for one person may not work for another! Any questions or concerns should be directed to your doctor or a medical professional.
SLEEP PATTERNS /
We’ve been hearing since we were little about the “recommended eight hours of sleep,” haven’t we? It’s ingrained in us. But whether or not you manage to work in the full eight hours every night, what you don’t hear about very often is the routine you have around sleep...or lack thereof.
Are you going to bed at the same time every evening and waking up around the same time every morning? Start jotting down the times you’re going to sleep and waking up. When you see your average sleep times on paper, determine a set goal time for every night and morning. Then, add a 30 minute block onto this time slot at the beginning (so, right before you hit the hay). Make it your routine at night to stop working, watching Netflix, etc. at that time, and give yourself the 30 minute window of “sleep prep” time. Doing so will mentally prepare you for sleeping, which will help you fall asleep morequickly and naturally.
Over time, your body will become accustomed to your routine sleep window and will know what to expect night after night; this takes away the unexpected late night or forced early morning that leaves you feeling exhausted first thing in the a.m. The goal here is to take away the element of surprise and give your brain a consistent level of rest night after night.
MORNING ROUTINES /
When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do? Have a cup of coffee, make breakfast, go for a run, hop in the shower? Think of what will get you up and excited to start your day, and work on building out a morning routine. Again, this will take away the unexpected and give you and your body something to look forward to in the mornings.
Be very clear about what the first 30-60 minutes of your day will entail; for me, this was a quick walk outside for fresh air and a hot cup of coffee. Those two things are what energizes me most in the mornings and gets my day started on the right foot. I’ve found that when you can have a reason to jump out of bed every single morning, you’ll avoid the glum monotony of dragging yourself out of those warm sheets and instead, start your day with a “conquer the world” attitude. Simply NOT a morning person? Maybe this jolt of energy and fulfillment in your day comes at a later time or even during the evening hours when have a block of time that makes sense.
You know your body best, so find the time block during the day that allows for high energy and start working that in on a daily basis. The point is not to convert you to a morning person, but to enhance your natural energy balance to work in high-productivity hours. Whenever is best for you, make it a daily routine and do your best to stick with it. Having a set period of time when you will be of high energy and productivity means you can block your time efficiently; for instance, I like to tackle my hardest or most undesirable tasks during this time, as I know that’s when I’ll be in the best mood to do so.
DAILY BODY CARE /
The third piece of my productivity rhythm comes from my daily body care routine; drinking LOTS of water and keeping a fairly healthy diet with some exercise is the easiest way to feel good about my body, and thus, find energy in the day I wouldn’t have had otherwise. While I do head straight for the coffee machine first thing in the morning, I keep a large water tumbler near my desk so it’s readily available all day long.
I’ve found that when I’m putting things into my body that nourishes it for the long term rather than just fulfilling those short term cravings, I’m more alert throughout the day and feel better overall. When that afternoon snooze wants to set in? I pop up for a quick walk and an outfit change — those two “interruptions” in my day do wonders for getting my mind and body refocused on the work left that afternoon.
Finally, don’t be afraid to shut down your computer, set aside your phone, and zone out for awhile. Meditating doesn’t have to be in a formal setting. Give your mind a break and clear your head from everything on your plate for 10-20 minutes a day. You’ll come back feeling refreshed, and your mind will thank you!
What are some of your go-to routines for creating a productivity rhythm? However you shape your day, do your best to work in a healthy balance and (most importantly) FUN! The whole idea of being productive is to allow time for the things you love most, so make sure you’re rewarding yourself for the healthy hustle you’re putting into your day.
Now go out and conquer the world, friends!!
Jenna Murillo is the designer behind J.Lynn Designery, a boutique design studio founded in Kansas City. Driven by a passion for great design and a love of organizing, J.Lynn Designery was founded under the belief that our daily life at work and home should be filled with design that is as functional as it is beautiful. These days, you can find Jenna sipping coffee and working on the newest addition to the J.Lynn Designery product line...with a pile of planners, magazines, and maybe a guinea pig nearby.