It's back to school week! Ah, things can get back to normal. (see you next year, beach. Sniff.)
No more late nights during the week, mid-morning drop-offs at summer camp activities, and big family vacations.
Yep, the kids are back in school, and things are back to normal.
- Routine bedtimes at reasonable hours.
- Morning routines to get out the door on time.
- Evening routines including meal time and homework time.
- Sports and extra-curricular activities with regularly scheduled practice times.
Routines make it easier to get everything done on time.
The trouble with routines, though, is that they rarely seem to work out as "easy" as you'd like them to - things usually get messy:
- The day got away from you (or your kids), so you have to stay up late getting work done (or homework done.)
- Mornings become a chaotic scramble to get out the door, and scrambles lead to things being forgotten and overlooked.
- Sports practice is too early, or too late, so your well-planned dinner gets replaced with a drive-through meal in the car. Or the practice time gets changed, just when you've got things figured out.
And pretty soon it's fall break, and the routine gets messed up all over again...
Use small Productivity Blocks to get things done
- Mornings: I try to get up early, before the rest of the house gets moving, so I can get 20-30 minutes of productive work done.
- Evenings: I also try to get 20-30 minutes of productive work done in the evenings, usually by watching a little less tv.
- Mid-Day: And I try to find 20-30 minutes during the day - just one time each day, when I can disconnect from my phone and get a little bit of my work done.
20-30 minutes isn't a lot of time - certainly not enough time to complete a project. But added together, 60-90 minutes per day, 5-6 days a week - and it's a lot of time. 5-10 hours, per week, of uninterrupted time to focus on my long-term business.
This plan works really well when I'm consistent with it. Really well.
But when I let myself get sidetracked (or when I'm lazy), it doesn't work at all. 30 minutes in the morning isn't enough time to get anything done, and if I don't follow it up with another productivity block, I'm left with a half-finished piece of work.
The difference isn't small, either.
When I'm consistent, I'm ahead of the game and everything seems to flow smoothly. There's time for big-picture thinking, shorter-term tactical work, and any emergencies that arise. Life is good.
When I'm not consistent, I'm usually stressed out, behind schedule, and fighting multiple requests which demand my immediate attention. And the big-picture stuff for the long-term health of my business is usually the first thing that gets dropped. (or the 2nd thing, right after exercising!) Life becomes stressful..!
Productivity Blocks (or time blocks) are a great way to get larger projects done, a little bit at a time - perfect for the things you know you need to do, but which always get pushed aside by the fire of the day. Newsletters, blog posts, website design and copy, past client outreach communication, marketing campaigns, etc. etc.
Give it a try for a couple weeks, and let me know how it goes!
ps - if all else fails, and writing just isn't your thing - let me do your monthly newsletters for you. That's what 8 Dollar Farming is here for!