Yesterday I overdid it.

I pushed myself too hard and felt burnt out at the end of the day. Here’s a log of exactly what I did:

8:30 – Got up late (up with sick kids)
9:00 – Morning ritual (read and wrote)
10:21 – Breakfast
10:30 – Email
10:45 – Focus Session #1: reviewed client feedback I got on a sales page I wrote.
11:45 – Focus Session #2: sales page revisions.
12:45 – Lacie asked if I could watch kids at lunch so she could go to the doctor.
12:50 – Focus Session#3: sales page revisions.
1:25 – Lunch (chicken caesar salad + greek yogurt).
2:23 – Lily napped & Emma played… so did more work on the sales page.
3:23 – Lacie got back… took a break.
3:38 – Sent proposal to potential new partner in the UK about rev. share deal.
5:03 – Took short break (felt stressed as I rushed to make my green smoothie).
5:28 – Reviewed background for new website copy job for Israeli ad agency.
6:26 – Finished revising sales page and emailed to client!
7:11 – Dinner break! Chic-Fil-A! 😃
7:46 – Checked Email
7:50 – Sent 2 follow up emails regarding open deals in my pipeline.
8:30 – Planned tomorrow and finally stopped working! 

My days don’t usually look like this, honestly.

Normally I wake up around 6:00 a.m., start work around 8:00 and quit around 5:00 p.m. And I usually take more breaks. 

But I felt like I had a lot to do yesterday (Monday) so I wanted to make some good progress to start my week off right.

But I realize working like this is not smart. I ended up in a bad mood and noticed I was easily agitated by things my wife and kids did.

And by the time I ended up trying to relax and watch Sherlock with my wife at 9:00 p.m. I felt so fried that I didn’t really even enjoy the show. My brain was still spinning from all the frantic activity I did.

As I reflected on this it reminded me of something I read in the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

McKeown shares a story of how Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s CEO, schedules up to two hours of blank space on his calendar every day (he divides them into 30-minute blocks). McKeown writes:

“It is a simple practice he developed when back-to-back meetings left him with little time to process what was going on around him. At first it felt like an indulgence, a waste of time. But eventually he found it to be his single most valuable productivity tool.”

When I first read that last year I thought, ’Really? The “single single most valuable productivity tool?” I was skeptical. 

But now I get it. I see the wisdom in it. And I plan to start doing some of this myself. 

In fact, today I scheduled two 30-minute “buffer” blocks. And they helped a lot. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I block out 2 hours of time but it’s a start.

I’ll leave you with another quote from Essentialism:

“Here’s another paradox for you: the faster and busier things get, the more we need to build thinking time into our schedule…And the noisier things get, the more we need to build quiet reflection spaces in which we can truly focus.”