If we’re honest, most of us would probably admit that we’ve just fallen into a day-to-day pattern that’s more of a rut than a good routine.
“90% of the people I work with don’t have a structure to their day. They are unaware of the impact this can have on the quality of their life and work,” says Curtis James, a director at People Who Do, a company that coaches people on creativity and productivity.
So how do you break the cycle of a daily routine that’s familiar but doesn’t really work for you? Curtis’s solution to the problem focuses on designing your day in a better way.
The first step in his suggested journey towards a more productive and satisfying routine is to grab a pen and paper and sketch out your perfect day, so that you have an ideal to set your sights on. (We’ve created a worksheet with People Who Do that you can print out to help you do this yourself – download it here.)
The next step is to draw out your day and week as it is now, mapping out all your activities, from sending emails, attending meetings and traveling, to the time you spend relaxing, exercising and even procrastinating.
“When people start tracking their week, they soon realise they may be being interrupted several times a day. Over a week, this may amount to several hours of interruptions – that’s a whole day. These interruptions may all be valid, but without planning, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by them,” says Curtis.
Having a perfect day in mind and comparing it to how you spend your time at the moment can help you spot areas for improvement, and particularly the barriers you’re facing. For example, once you’ve realised that you have a tendency to focus on more than one thing at a time, or that you’re often waylaid by distracting emails and phone calls, it should be easier to think of ways to overcome these issues.
To start implementing what you’ve learned from the exercise into your routine, Curtis says: “Have a simple plan for the start of each day, plan for it the day before, make the thing you are going to do something you can focus on. For some this might mean not looking at emails first thing in the morning.”
He also reminds us of the importance of focusing on one thing at a time: “Be present – if you’re at a meeting, talk, workshop, dinner with your partner, focus on that thing, not all the other things you think are demanding your attention.”
Download our draw your smarter day worksheet to try this exercise yourself – and please share your experiences with us, what did you learn and what will you do differently as a result?
To download our latest ebook on designing your day, visit http://nokia.ly/DYDebook, and to find out more about Nokia for business visit http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/mobile/business/lumia-for-business/