Do you own your days or do they own you?
Whether you work from home or work from an office or studio, one thing is for sure: most of us feel like we could use more hours in a day. How often do we approach 8pm, desperately want to flip to our fav reality show and pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea, but our unfinished “to-do” list for the day sits looming over our shoulder? If this is you, I have good news and bad news for you. Bad news first: we will never get more hours in our day. The good news is that we can restructure our day to make it feel like we have more hours, with two simple strategies.
The first step is to make a list of the things we have to do in the day: our first tier. Our first tier includes the things that are necessary or mandatory for our careers and our physical health. For me, it’s eat, move, and work.
Our second tier includes the things that we need to do to accomplish our goals and be our best selves. For me these are self-care, education and connection. In my second tier, sometimes I don’t fit all three of these in one day, but I make a point to rotate them appropriately. I am so grateful that this “job” of coaching actually calls for connection and education as part of my work. I’m regularly connecting with and learning from my team and my mentors as part of my job. #grateful
Once you have your first tier and second tier of priorities, you’re ready to schedule these into your day with efficiency. That’s right: schedule them. Write it down in your planner, put them in your Google Calendar, set alarms. My first alarm goes off at 5:30am, and I follow my alarms through the rest of my day. Waking up at 5:30 is not “the key” to staying on schedule. I choose to wake up early, because I know it’s when I’m the most productive. The key to staying on schedule is my second strategy, efficiency.
Traveling through your day efficiently is what allows you to stay on schedule, and what allows you to plop down on the couch under your cozy blanket at 8pm with a clear mind. Let’s take my first tier priorities and discuss efficiency (since most of us survive, physically or financially, off of eating, moving and working).
Before efficiency, I’d wake up, grab whatever breakfast bar or sweet fruity yogurt was available to me and scarf it down in traffic on my way to the studio. I was not satiated, I was over-carbed, and I was hungry again an hour later with no backup (insert Starbucks habit). With efficiency, I make nearly all of my meals on Sunday. I wake up on Monday morning, and it takes less than a minute to heat up my homemade quiche. No eggs to crack, to dishes to wash, no thinking, no planning, no uncontrollable mid-morning hunger. My first snack and balanced (and delicious) lunch is prepped and boxed, ready to be thrown in my bag. When I schedule efficiently, I schedule time to cook a delicious fresh dinner in the evening.
Before efficiency, I’d “plan” to workout between my 9am and 12pm barre classes. After my 9am class, I’d get into conversations with members, I’d hit traffic on my way to the gym. I’d forget what I planned to do for my workout, and I’d put in about 70% effort before it was time to rush back to the studio to teach. With efficiency, my alarm goes off at 5:30, I spend no more than 30 minutes in a fun, high intensity class, in my backyard, doing moves I never would have thought of, putting in more effort than I knew I even had. At 6:15am, I’m savoring every last drop of my superfood shake and I’ve already got my workout done, while most people are still packing their gym bag.
Before efficiency, I’d work for an hour or so, have a snack, go for a walk while catching up with a friend over the phone, and get back to my computer to realize I had 5 more things to do and it was almost lunchtime. Where did the time go? What have I done all morning? Am I going to be late for my coaching call? With an efficient schedule, I start “working” when my “time to work” alarm goes off (poolside, of course), and work only until my next alarm tells me it’s time to head to the studio. I try to format my entire day this way. Knowing I only have exactly the timeframe I designated, I hyper focus on what I’m working on and I try not to get distracted (archive those promotional emails for later when you have some free time, Lauren). Of course, I’m human. Sometimes I do not have it all together. Some days I spend way too much time scrolling Instagram, losing myself in someone’s YouTube channel, or something comes up and I fall off schedule. And it’s okay. I reset, make a list of my priorities, and get back on track.
Prioritization and efficiency are just two tools that help me own my day. It takes a little bit of prep work to write out my priorities, schedule them, and prep my food. But holy cow, it makes a world of difference in how easy and stress-free my day ends up.
I’d love to hear what tools help you to increase your efficiency and to own your day. Drop a comment below!
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