Tag Archive: routine

blank calendar reminder

blank calendar reminder

I’ve always talked about the importance of routine or ritual in your day, especially your morning ritual or routine. That sets the tone for your day. Having a weekly routine is just as important. Having a routine will make the difference between you just going through your days and actually getting the end results you’re looking for. After all, that’s what it’s about.

Following a pattern sets you up so you always know what’s next and as a result to be better prepared for what is coming up, so you’re improving when it comes to being ready and having what you need in place. Once you do things repeatedly, you develop the mindset for being more efficient and you discover how to improve on your processes and how to do things more quickly.

Having your routine in place also makes it easier for you and your team to schedule additional things, so you start to create fluid movement within your week that allows for increased momentum. If you look at the things you do on a regular basis, you will see that there are things you do every week.  You may have something that should be getting done weekly, but it’s not happening because you haven’t got your schedule in place or you’re operating off of what you have in your head.

It’s just as important to have a structure for your week as it is to have a daily one. Start by making a list of the things that have to be done every week. Figure out what days and times work best for each activity that you list and get it in your calendar. You might find that something comes along that will call for a change in the day you do something, so make the shift accordingly.

Establish your weekly routine, setting up your days based upon what works for you. Remember, productivity is personal, so take the concept and make it fit you like your favorite pair of shoes. Get it in place and stick with it. It will help you become more efficient. You’ll also find that you have more control of your time with a regular routine in place. Over time your routine will contribute to your increased level of productivity.


WomanWithUpsidedownClockLet’s talk about that “thing” that keeps you from getting it done. If you’re like most people you don’t know what it is that keeps you from getting things done. You just know that you’re not getting the results that you want, which can be frustrating to say the very least. Before you can improve your productivity, you’ve got to know what the issue is.

If you’re struggling you already know what that feels like…working the extra time to get it all done, having what seems like too much on your plate and no room for you and rushing to satisfy and keep your clients. Facing your challenge first means identifying what it is that has you struggling. If something were ailing you physically, you would seek to determine what the problem was so that it could be remedied.

There are a lot of things that cause people to be challenged: procrastination, cluttered office space or disorganization, email overload and chasing those BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects) is a big problem for creative types, not that others don’t do it. Then there’s lack of focus, lack of proper tools and systems and non-supportive habits.

You have to look at your every-day work life to see what’s challenging you. You are caught up. Overloaded. You are caught up in the everyday to-dos of business and family, multiple overloaded inboxes, calendars and tasks on your to-do list.

This is what’s going on…You have multiple mobile devices— your laptop, smart phone and probably a tablet and other tools too. I do. I’ve got my BlackBerry, my tablet and my laptop. The multiple devices isn’t really the issue if they’re needed. The issue is the lack of management of them.

There’s social media, your piles of paper and cluttered work space. Add to that all of the things that you need to do and the places you need to be and yes, you’re caught up.

To identify the things that challenge you, just take a look at your behavior, which takes some effort because being human, we get caught up in routine things and ways of being. Start logging every minute of  your time. What you’re working on and your start and finish times. Log the times that you stop for a snack or for lunch or to take a break. Log the time that you spend on the phone and on social media. You even want to log the time that you spend socializing or chit chatting online or on the phone. Be sure to document all of it so that when you look back you have a clear picture with all of the details. You want something that will let you see exactly what you’re doing so that you can know what your oppressor is. If you’re going to get beyond what impedes you, you have to identify and acknowledge it so it can be faced and dealt with.


ShiftHere’s yet another way to make your Monday productive. Shift from the routine stuff. Take a look at what you usually do during the course of the week. As you think about that, and start a list making note of the things that you usually get distracted by. What things usually have you veering off course? Do you stop to chase the BSOs (Bright shiny objects)?

Then look at the habits you practice, whether they support you or not. Don’t look at your habits as “good” or “bad”, they’re just habits. Then take a look at the things that typically keep you from starting off running at the beginning of the week. One thing that I see often with clients is that they start off checking their email, which is a bad move.

Once you have each of those lists, go back through them and on the right side of the page across from the distractions, non supportive habits and the things that hold up your fast start, write what you will do instead. As you start your week, pull out the list and look at the alternative things you created and get them into your Monday mix. If you keep it up, these new things can help you create an entirely new routine that keeps you more productive. It makes for a great way to start your week!


“Excellence is not an act, but a habit.  The things you do the most are the things that you do the best.” ~Marva Collins

We all are in the habit of doing certain things, whether they are supportive or non supportive habits.  Your habits are a prime factor in what leads you to being productive or not.  They make the difference when it comes to getting things done.  The aforementioned quote says it all.  Whatever you do all the time is what you do best.  If you have a habit that doesn’t support you in being productive, it’s still something that you do best because you do it all the time, and being good at whatever that is will keep you from your top level of productivity.  Habits make you who you are.

A habit is defined as “routine of behavior that is repeated regularly, tends to occur subconsciously, without directly thinking consciously about it”.  Since your habits determine who you are, and make the difference when it comes to being productive, it’s important to establish habits that will support you.  As a part of that process, it’s important to let go of the notion of “good” or “bad” habits.  Habits just are what they are, they aren’t good or bad.  They’re just habits.  When you let go of the “good” or “bad” you also let go of the judgment that comes along with that.  Doing so is key in establishing habits that will help you stay at your top level productivity.

To make the shift, create new habits that will get you through your busy days.  Start by looking at your current habits and determine which ones don’t support you.  Those are the ones you should work to eliminate.  Then determine what new habits you will create.  As you do, think about who it is that you would have to be instead of what it is that you have to do.  Given that you are your habits, this is the place you want to create from.  If you focus on being instead of doing, it’s much easier to end up with great new habits that will get you through your days.   In your effort to increase your productivity, one list of habits to look at is Stephen Covey’s list of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  This list is straight to the point and its principles if established as habits can help you become more productive. Use it to help you in making that shift.

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive-take responsibility for every aspect of your life. Initiative and taking action will then follow
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind-set long-term goals, consider creating a personal mission statement and visualization as a tool to develop it
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First-focus on long-term goals instead of things that are more urgent and less important and prioritize the work related to your long-term goals
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win-with an attitude like this, everybody wins.  See mutually beneficially solutions to satisfy yourself and others
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood-completely listen to another person’s concerns and don’t give advice before you understand a person and their situation
  • Habit 6: Synergize-work effectively in teams by collaborating, valuing differences and building on divergent strengths
  • Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw-engage in carefully selected recreational activities that offer self renewal so that you can regain your “production capability”

You can see that if you made these seven principals habits, that they would help you in creating and maintain habits that support your productivity. Looking at the 7 Habits, you can also see in them who it is that you would have to be to have each particular habit.  The way of being is what makes you your habits, whether that way of being gets you where you want to go or not.

To shift into habits that support you, you first have to understand that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit.  That’s the amount of time that it takes to train the brain.  I recommend that you give yourself 30 days for each new habit you want to develop.  You might think that’s a long time, but it really isn’t.  Trying to change more than a few habits at one time can be self destructive, so be patient and honor the process.

Start by writing down the new habits that you want to develop.  Your head is a dangerous place for commitments to hang out.  When you write them down they become real and you start to gain clarity about what you want to create and what that means for you.  It also helps to keep you committed.

Once you have that clarity, enroll someone in supporting you.  Share with them what habit you’re giving up and what you are creating.  Keep them in the loop on how you’re doing and of any challenges that come up for you.  Allow them to help you through the rough spots and get you back on track so that you can successfully develop the new habits.  Make sure that your new habits are consistent and that you do them every day for 30 days.  If that doesn’t work, step up to the next level of accountability and get a coach.

Understand that you are going to go through a process with your new habits.  The first 30 days will present some challenges and you might even feel as though you want to quit.  After a few months it becomes easier to keep the commitment and things run smooth at that point.  Once you’ve reached a year or so, it becomes harder to not be in the habit because that habit has become part of your routine and part of who you are.

Think about all of your habits.  What are you committed to creating right now and what habits do you need to develop in order to have what you want to create become a reality?  More importantly, who is it that you have to commit to being to create what you want?


When it comes to productivity, one of the biggest obstacles is procrastination. It’s one of the biggest reasons people fail to reach their goals and it can take a toll on your life.  We all procrastinate for one reason or another, but what happens when it begins to negatively impact your life?  We all know how it is, you put off doing something and probably have absolutely no idea of how long it takes to do the task you’re putting off.  You can end up living in chaos simply because you’re putting off something that will take you just a short time to do.  Are you one of those people who shuffle through the pile of papers on your desk?  If so, you probably spend more time shuffling through them each day than it would if you’d stop procrastinating and sort through them one final time and toss, file or process what’s there in the pile.

Many people face this challenge every day, and it can really become a regular challenge.  There are ways to remedy it; get rid of it for good, but first you have to identify it; to know what it looks like.  So, what exactly does procrastination look like?  Here are some indicators:

  • Wait until the last minute to start something
  • Putting off doctor & dentist appointments
  • Put off decision making
  • Waiting for the “right time” to make that call or confrontation
  • Last minute seasonal tasks (like holiday shopping and filing your tax return)
  • How long have you been waiting to do______?

I bet that you could fill in the blank on that last one in a number of different ways.  People put things off thinking that the time will come and the truth is that it never does. If  any of the indicators above are present for you, take a deeper look at what you’re doing.  Start by looking at what you’re procrastinating on.  Create your 101 List.  This is a list of everything that you’ve been procrastinating on.  Now, you might not be able to come up with 101 things, but you get the idea.  Just start writing and see what you come up with.

The next step is to look at those things on the list that you come up with and determine why you’re putting them off.  Next to each thing that you list, list the reason that you believe you’ve been putting it off. Then think about the other things that come into play when you engage in that behavior.  As you look at your behavior, look to see if  there a “routine” that you have and what things you tell yourself when you put something off.  What emotions, if any, surface when you are procrastinating? Maybe there’s a certain way that you feel when you put things off.

These are key steps that will start the process of eliminating your procrastination.  Not only will they bring things to the surface that you may not see, but they will lead to the reasons for your procrastination, which is what you have to uncover before you can start working to eliminate it once and for all.  If you successfully complete these key steps, you’ll be on your way to eliminating this thief of time from your life.

If you’re looking for something to help you through this process, I invite you to have a look at my Procrastination Annihilation program.  It’s a 12 week program that will help you discover where and why you’re procrastinating, how to use procrastination to support productivity and how to eliminate it for good.

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