Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of a day only to realize you accomplished nothing!

How does that happen?

You can feel so busy and feel so drained and yet make so little progress.

It sucks. I know. I had one of those days recently and it put me in such a bad mood!

I wish I could say I was able to just snap out of it but I wasn’t. Not only did I waste an entire day but then I wasted most the evening sulking.

So I decided I had to make a change.

And as I reflected on how I’d been structuring my days I realized something right there… they weren’t being “structured.”

So that was Problem #1.

I also realized I had started going to bed later (after midnight) and sleeping in more. So instead of waking up at 6:00-6:30 like I used to, I was waking up at 8:00–8:30. When I wake up that late I instantly feel like I’m already “behind.”

This led to my next problem: I started skipping my morning routine.

I felt like I didn’t have the luxury to spend 1–2 hours on a “morning routine” when it was already past 9:00.

And without a morning routine I started my day feeling ungrounded and unfocused. To make matters worse I’m in a season where I really need to be focused!

This is where I found myself recently when I hit “unproductive rock bottom” (ok, I may be being a little dramatic, but it felt like I was headed down the wrong path).

So here’s what I did:

1) Started going to bed earlier: this is not easy, especially now that I just discovered Sherlock on Netflix! But life is about tradeoffs, right? So it’s either highly-productive days or late nights with Sherlock. Sorry Sherlock.

2) Quit hitting snooze: even if I only get 6 hours of sleep (I aim for 7.5) I decided to quit hitting the snooze button. Simple rule. But it means I have to get up. And it only takes a couple 6-hour sleep nights to motivate me to start going to bed earlier.

3) Started a morning routine again: I change this up often (I like new things), but here’s what it is now: wake up, shower, drink water, eat light snack, make coffee (Nespresso latte), then walk out to my RV, read the Bible until I find a verse to meditate on, meditate for 10 mins, read another book (right now I’m reading Tools of Titans), and then I write my daily blog post. This usually takes me about 2 hours total from the time I wake up.

4) Started planning tomorrow: as part of my shutdown ritual I make a plan of what I want to do tomorrow. This has helped immensely and I’ll probably write a separate post about this soon.

5) Started doing Focus Sessions: also known as the “pomodoro technique.” Here’s what I do: I set a timer and work for 48 minutes straight. No distractions allowed. Then I break for 12 minutes. I aim for 3–4 solid sessions before lunch. When I do, I feel like I’m on top of the world! I’m tired at the end but it’s a good tired.

So there you go. That’s what I did to stop wasting my days!

And since I’ve been structuring my days like this I’ve felt so much happier with the progress I’m making each day.

For example, today I was able to:

  • Email a prospect from Israel a quote for their website copy.
  • Got in 3 Focus Sessions where I was able to make great progress on a sales page I’m writing for a client.
  • Sent 4 nurturing/follow up emails out to clients and prospects and got 3 responses, including what appears to be a new project!
  • Had a great discovery call with a prospect from Australia who is looking for a copywriter.
  • Worked on my new business, Advisors Grow for about an hour.

So it was a good day.

Hopefully you got at least one idea about how to make your days more productive.