Every day I have four non-negotiables. When I do these things, I am happier, more productive, and feel more accomplished:
♡ Check emails
At first I ticked them off every day, Gretchen Rubin style, and was most successful when I gave myself the incentive of colouring to finish them! The problem with this method is that I was doing the tasks because of my obsession with finishing lists, or with colouring, when really the tasks in themselves are rewarding.
So now, instead of a list, I am trigged by my daily routine.
I noticed that I was most successful at tidying, because I wouldn’t let myself go to bed until the flat was clean. Without realizing it, I was setting a trigger. So I decided to set other triggers too.
I journal first thing when I sit down to do work for the day, whether it’s in the library or on my café crawl. Instinct tells me to rush straight into “productive” work, but I need that morning meditation to slow down, reflect, and enjoy.
After lunch, my energy lulls. Getting back into work mode can be difficult, so this is when I have my concentrated email-checking time. I set a timer for 15 minutes and plow through one by one without letting myself get distracted. At the buzzer I get up to take a break from the screen, then it’s back to the second 15 minute block, if necessary.
Exercise has the greatest effect on my day, making me feel accomplished and energized when I do it, or sluggish and defeated when I don’t. Luckily I live close to a beautiful park where I love to jog, and in a city with lots of hilly, windy streets, perfect for a brisk march. I make sure to do one of these things, or at least a quick yoga flow or Blogilates video if I’m feeling masochistic. I make sure to do something before dinner so I don’t feel too full. A good workout in the afternoon also means better sleep.
Like Monica Geller, I like things clean. So I sleep better at night knowing that everything is in its place, and when I get up in the morning, it’s really a fresh start.
My routine shifts each day, but these four tasks ground and support me. What do you have to do every single day? You owe it to yourself to get them done!
P.S. Inbox Zero: How to Manage Email so it doesn’t Consume Your Life