When I'm not travelling as part of my wine life, I try to follow a strict regime. It involves committing to a few intensive business days a week, eating healthily, switching off at the right time and trying to harness short bursts of productive energy. You might wonder why I've gone to such effort here to describe each day, but I believe there are lots of reasons why you should create and write down your routine for smashing it.
Whenever I feel like the day is slipping away from me and I'm not doing the things I should be, I refer to this. It's a great way to hold myself to account.
Morning: New week. Fresh energy. The first hour or so is for planning the days ahead. I try to establish what my priorities are, and specifically, identify one or two things that simply cannot still be on my desk come Friday. It's hard, but I try not to open my emails before lunch. I start work around 10.30am and try to progress things with my main priority. If I have client work (which I normally do) this is when I try and make progress.
Afternoon: I open my emails and flag anything that requires a response. Monday is about client work and demonstrating value. Hard or frustrating as it may be, I try to focus all my actions around these key client tasks. My aspiration is always to have all client work out of sight by Wednesday night. This isn't always possible, but it's a target worth pursuing.
Evening: I go to the gym or play some sport and try to eat healthily. After dinner I spend 30 minutes responding to any of those flagged emails that can be answered quickly but when the time is up I shut the laptop. By 9.30pm I'm done and it's time to relax. If possible I'll have an early night but if I'm still wide awake I'll carry on with what I'm reading at the moment.
Morning: I get up early and get straight on with the plan. If that difficult task is still in progress I carry on. If I'm done I work my way through Monday's list. Again, I wait a few hours before opening my emails and flag anything that takes more than a few minutes to answer.
Afternoon: I try to power through for as long as I can. I take a short, light lunch and try to stay as efficient and energised as possible. The chances are, client work is still the main focus. Towards the end of the afternoon I'm running out of steam. I give some thought to social media, posting content and answering messages.
Evening: I try and do some more sport. If I do it will mean I've truly left any weekend excesses behind and had two healthy days which should set me up nicely for my big day on Wednesday. This is a nice night for writing. I'll try and work on a couple of blog posts. Normally I'll have a few from the previous Friday that are close to completion. Again, if possible, I'll have an early night.
Morning: This is my big morning. I get up early and get straight into it. I respond to as many emails as I can. I'm normally doing a hundred things at once. There's just no avoiding it. Hopefully, today will see the end of all client work for the week though. I consider today as the day that insures Friday is in my own hands.
Afternoon: After a light, healthy lunch I'll either have meetings or I'll start to look at the collection of flagged emails. Wednesday is the day I say to myself I'm going to get as much done as possible and I endeavour to fight every temptation to get lost in speculative projects, meetings with vague agenda and long winded telephone calls.
Evening: Pick one night where you say no to all other distractions. This is your big one. I choose Wednesday because it's in the middle of the week. I have the advantage of having time to deal with what landed late on Monday or Tuesday and potentially still turn it around in the same week.
Morning: Thursday morning is all about writing. This is where I try and work on my long term projects. Get up, run, have a decent breakfast and then get to work. Don't stop until lunch. As a writer, much of Thursday and Friday is taken up with time at the desk.
Afternoon: These are the hours I try to make space for speculative stuff. I fire off emails that will grow my network and alert new people to my projects. Thursday is also where I think about organising meetings for the following week.
Evening: Thursday is another big night. My plan is always built on leaving Friday free for relationship building activities so I clear my desk and continue to work
Morning: Friday mornings are really important for my personal development. This is where I read and look at my goals and projects from a high level perspective. They need some reflection which I'll continue over the weekend. Consequently, I make a strong commitment to get rid of the monkeys. Going into the weekend with monkeys are your back is a disaster and should be avoided at all costs. This is particularly important if you have relationships where you pay people to help. There shouldn't really be any major client work left to do either. You've got all your client work done. The aim is always to get everything you wanted to accomplish during the week done.
Afternoon: The weekend is getting close and that Friday feeling starts to set in. It's not that I lose my motivation particularly, it's that I can feel those around me losing theirs. I used to get frustrated at this but I've learned to go with the flow. I now keep this free for catching up with people and networking.
Morning: If possible I wake up early and get back to writing. Quite often I edit the work I did the previous week. By 10am I'm ready for the weekend. I try to put my laptop away and turn off my emails.