We are forever reading about the flawless daily routines and daily rituals of the world’s great artists and innovators. And, sure, we might dismiss our desire to peer into the inner-lives of these titans of creativity as idle corporate voyeurism. Yet, a healthy interest in the art of a well-engineered creative regimen is also quite excusable if we are to ground and optimise our own daily routine’s efficiency.
Creating and committing to a daily routine is a great way to improve your overall productivity. Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all regimen ready for blanket application, there are nonetheless some central habits for a successfully spent day.
1. Manage Your Morning: Use A Notepad
There’s nothing more dangerous to your day’s productivity than a disordered morning. Waking up with a vague feeling that today’s the day you needed to do something so very important, but not being quite able to pinpoint what that was, is a sure-fire way of starting off on the wrong-foot.
If your coming day’s to be put to good use, you need a note-taking app. Notepad apps have trailblaized their way from simplistic note-making apps to become integral hubs of organisation, offering a centralised way of allocating your workflow, providing voting boxes for complex decision-making processes and setting timely task reminders.
Check out Knote’s recent review of the hottest Notepad apps of the moment to find the right note-assistant for you. With the right fit, you’ll be rise to an ordered morning free from the daily headache that is prioritising tasks, killing several productivity problems in one efficient application.
2. High-value tasks deserve high-energy commitment
Over the course of the day, your energy will ebb and flow. As a general rule, morning’s are our most productive periods: for the majority, we make our best decisions when we’re fresh and we thereby optimise our net productive output (and, in the event you’re slow to start in the morning, hitting your night-lark stride as twilight sets in, worry not – Knote’s crafted a list of the 6 best ways to overcome sleepy starts.)
P.S. Determining the waxing and waning rhythm of your energy flow is a great way of better allocating your time: check out Knote’s piece on the Holy Grail of Time-Management for a sound grounding in the cornerstones of a well-timed week.
3. Exercise, exercise and, yes, more exercise.
We tend to think of exercise in terms of a narrow spectrum of physical benefits: lower blood pressure, a happier heart, a more attractive physique. And these are definitely good things! Yet a myriad of studies has amassed compelling evidence that our mental firepower is directly linked to our physical regimen, suggesting that there is another, more immediate benefit of regular exercise: its impact on the way we think.
But when’s the best time to work out – morning, midday or midnight? The reality is that there is no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day. Instead, “… find a time that helps you make your exercise a regular, consistent part of your life,” Aldana, a professor of lifestyle medicine in the department of exercise sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, tells WebMD. “This is more important than the time of day.”
So, identify a physical activity you actually like – anything from yoga to bouldering to extreme ironing, so long as it gets your endorphins flowing – and focus on mastering it. The consequences of your commitment to your new physical activity will directly bolster performance at work. No matter how you actually incorporate your routine into your work life, styling it as an integral element of your job will make it easier for you to allocate it time. You’re not sidelining work, but, on the contrary, ensuring your hours at your desk are more productive.
4. Schedule “mindless” tasks during slowdowns
For most of us, as the afternoon wanes, our output can slump and our productivity tends to – quite forgivably – drop off. However, for better or for worse, it’s a rare job that’s free of all humdrum tasks: instead of allowing the the inevitable slow-down in the intensity of our work to impact high-value tasks, we can shrewdly timetable our day such that those routine projects are scheduled for slowdowns.
Everyone, at some point, is required to install updates on this or that piece of software, to clear away the build-up of weeks’ worth of odds and ends that accumulate at every desk or even any number of household chores that go months on end without attention.
Such tasks fall into what might be called the “maintenance” category – jobs which require minimal concentration but which, at the same time, are ignored at our own peril. Use the ebbing afternoon energy-slump to declutter your office space or, if you’re at home, spruce up the teetering pile of last night’s dishes – these non-essential tasks will ultimately goes a long way in maintaining some degree of order.
5. Observe “Amish hour” (a.k.a No Screens 1 Hour Prior To sleep)
We are drowning in gadgets. Your bedtime ritual’s reliance on electronics is, effectively, keeping your body charged long past an appropriate hour for a healthy sleep cycle. The bone-white glow from your smartphone, your computer or your T.V. all work to keep your mind ticking over, assuring your brain that sleep is still some time off.
This is where practice of the ‘Amish hour’ comes in handy. Simply put, no technology for an hour before bed. Instead, read. Curling up with a good book in bed can help to calm the nerves and relax the mind without any of the excess sound and vision stimuli of a Netflix wind-down. Escaping to a nice, quiet space to read at night is unparalleled in creating an air of peace and tranquility that Frank Underwood just can’t match.
Kill two birds with one stone by reading Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind, featuring contributions from no fewer than twenty of today’s most celebrated innovators.