Urgh. Habits. I’m sure you’re as tired as I am of hearing about how important it is to develop good habits around every single thing in our life. Every man and his dog has a hack or habit to improve productivity or sleep or sticking to exercise … it is exhausting!
The most important thing with creating habits is they have to be things that don't encroach your day or detract from elements of your day that you enjoy. We can get so caught up in doing a million things to try and improve our life but we end up with massive overwhelm because we’ve taken on too much.
I’m going to share the five daily habits I have which keeps my life in check and humming along. I do believe it is important to have these things to give your day structure to help with productivity, sleep, to feel organised and not scattered with the million things you have going on. I have spoken to many of you about these but I just wanted to share exactly what I do and maybe there is something you might like to try to implement that may help in your life!
Brain dump: This is something I do weekly and daily. Firstly for the weekly brain dump, I do this every Friday once I do all my administrative work for the week. I write down everything I need to get done or I’m thinking about in that moment. These things could be to do with tomorrow, the week or the month. But whatever I need to think about goes on a fresh page in my notebook. I then highlight the key tasks I need to get done the following week, then from here, the things that I need to do the next day. For the things that aren’t pressing (perhaps later in the month) I will put that in my diary so it is there and I don’t forget about it.
The daily brain dump I do each night as I shut down for the evening. I jot down all the thoughts I have so they are all out. I will then highlight the key things I need to do tomorrow and ensure that there are no more then THREE tasks. Yes, three! Everything else is just a distraction. This is crucial for helping me sleep better so I don’t have thoughts swimming round or things I have to remind myself to remember! I also find it useful to have a notebook by my bed for anything that comes up later (which they always do!).
Book end: I like to book end my day with a routine in the morning and the evening. This also helps with my sleep and my body and mind rhythm for getting ready for the day and winding down.
For the morning book end it always starts the same: get up as soon as the alarm goes off, turn on the kettle, make my lemon water, apple cider vinegar and vitamin D drink. As I drink this I light a scented candle and pour my coffee (that was made the night before - I love room temp brewed coffee! Weird I know!). I then sit on my meditation mat and do my ten minutes with the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. I’ve not yet looked at my phone! I then go straight into writing content for my social media while I’m in my creative zone before getting lost in everyone else’s business on the web!
Evening book end: I will start to shut down about 45-60 minutes before I want to be asleep. I’ll do my brain dump, clean up the kitchen and my workspace, make the coffee, and prepare the things I need for the next day. I will write in my gratitude journal (this is absolute non-negotiable for me no matter where or what I’m doing. Every. Single. Day).
3 things I’m grateful for (more often than not these involve you guys! Being so grateful for the incredible people I get to work with and allow me into their lives!)
1 thing I enjoyed today
1 thing I learnt today
How I progressed today
How I contributed to the world today
Power statement (this can be anything that you found challenging that you can turn around, For example, if you felt like your schedule was a bit crazy today, it might be ’I am in control of my schedule’. Manifest what you want in life by saying things out loud. Manifesting doesn’t magically make things happen, but it sets the tone for you starting to align with those statements and to take the necessary actions to become a person that is like that.)
Time blocking: This generally is the same week to week for each day but will often be dictated by the brain dump the night before. The thing with time blocking is it is very well to do it but you have to protect that time and be disciplined with this! To many this might seem too structured but ultimately it allows me to be as productive as possible while making sure I don’t neglect other areas of my life (my own training, time with Ed, work, writing, programming, 1:1 clients). This is how my day looked yesterday:
5am-5.30am my morning book end time
5.30am-6.30am write content, post on social media
6.30am-7.15am remote client check ins
7.15am-7.30am quickest shower in the world
7.30am-7.50am walk to work
7.50am-8am review face-to-face client programme
7.30am-12pm with face-to face clients
12.30-2pm training (All notifications OFF! Me time.)
2pm-3pm walk home, eat, shower
3-4pm catch up on emails, messages for the day
4-5pm remote client calls
5-6pm cook dinner, next day lunch
6-8.30 remote coaching programming and check ins, content creation
8.30-9.30pm end of day book end
It’s THAT structured!
With time blocking it means focussing on the task at hand. Multitasking doesn’t work. Eating and working doesn’t work. Give yourself mental space by creating structure.
You must be protective of these things and understand what is a ‘hell yes’ or a ‘no’. If someone wants to book a session with me in the afternoon on a Tuesday it is a hell no because Tuesday afternoons are dedicated to my remote nutrition client check ins and calls. Just as much as I now fiercely protect my Saturdays by not seeing clients because I know it means sacrificing my own energy and space which is necessary in order to be energised for Monday to serve you guys best!
Shark habits: one bite and they’re done. Don’t check your emails unless you have the time to reply to those messages. Set up certain times of your day so it is one bite and then it’s done. Group things together. For example, I will respond to all texts, messages, emails, social media notifications in one hit so I don’t feel in and out all day. I may see a message there but I will not open or read it until I am in the space to be fully present with it. Another example is cooking dinner, breakfast and lunch all at the same time so time in the kitchen is done. This requires less decision fatigue the next day and means spending one chunk of time each day thinking about food.
Sleep routine. We need to give 60-90 minutes to allow our body to get ready to go to sleep. The body doesn’t like to guess! If you want to fall asleep at 10pm you can't just jump into bed at 9.45pm after being on the computer up until this point and expect to fall asleep. So about 60 minutes out I will start to shut down. I will clean up my work space and kitchen so it's nice for the next day. Have a shower, wash my face and do my teeth. I will do my brain dump, gratitude and then read. In this time all screens and phones are off to reduce all stimulus to ease down to go to sleep.
There's nothing revolutionary here or really hack-worthy. They’re all the things you’ve probably heard of but the thing that is often missing is the ACTION! I highly recommend reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits to help you develop habits in your life. But if you are constantly sitting in this grey zone of never being in or out of work, emails, messages, life and that causes you to feel anxious, adding structure may well be what ya need to create some freedom!
What do you guys do to create freedom for yourself and keep your energy cup lit?