productive play to your strengths

My Most Effective & Productive Schedule (Not a Morning Person Style)

Have you ever googled how “productive” people schedule their days? If you haven’t I’ll save you the time. “Productive” people get up at the crack of dawn, they run 7 miles as the sun rises, they meditate, journal, write a memoir, read three newspapers, drink a green smoothie made from the healthiest of greens that they grow in their garden, AND then they begin their day by focusing on only the 3 topmost priorities in their life.

Contrary to my sass there is no shame in that lifestyle but it doesn’t work for me. I guess you could say I am not one of the “productive” people, if you buy into that there’s only one right way to be productive. 

While I may not fit in with the early bird, I wake up at the crack of dawn and have my sh*t together club – I do usually have my sh*t together. So, today, right here, right now I’m going to share with you my not-so-morning-person-morning-person-routine or the night owls guide to functioning. 

Warnings!! 

**before we begin – a warning** I have the privilege of working from home (I help people like you get their sh*t together – learn more about it here) You may need to adjust your activities to meet the demands of your life or career & include time for travel. If you need help customizing your life schedule reach out – I am happy to coach you through it. 

***also, I am not a doctor, therapist or financial advisor (nor do I want to be any of those things). I’m sharing what works for me but be sure to find a routine that works for you!

Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s go! 

The Schedule Itself 

The Daily- Ish (M-F) Schedule of a Highly Successful Emily- Abundant AF Edition (10/10 recommend giving your schedule a fun title to help motivate you to stick to it)

7:30 am (ish): Wake up, Coffee, Yoga, Meditate, journal 

9:30 am: Client Calls, Admin, Work stuff! 

11:30 am: Break, Walk the Corgi, workout, lunch & shower

1:30 pm: Client Calls, Admin, etc. 

3:30 pm: Corgi pee break & check the mail 

4:00 pm: Back to work – wrap up whatever needs to get done or late client calls

6:00 pm: Dinner, Walk Corgi

7:00 pm: Hang out with Brenton, record podcasts, watch tv 

10:00 pm: Attempt to Sleep (I usually get my most creative ideas now and end up getting up to write them down or scribbling them in a notebook next to the bed)

11:00 pm Try to Sleep for Real (accidentally read for 30 minutes)

12:00 am: Usually Actually Asleep 

The Breakdown: What Works for Me 

Be Flexible

A few explanations that may help you while building your schedule. First, the history. This is my tried and true albeit flexible schedule. This schedule has taken me almost a year to perfect. I started listening to my body more during the *early* stages of quarantine (read more about it here). At the end of the year I decided I wanted to try being a morning person (you can watch that STRUGGLE here). And now, at the start of 2021 I have found my sweet spot.

Work to Your Strengths 

Second, I am an absolute MONSTER to wake up in the morning (ask Brenton, I get a little scary when I am sleepy). Not a morning person would be an understatement. I also am absolutely awful as a human being when I am overtired – sleep is very important to me and it is prioritized in my schedule. I try to work with my sleep pattern instead of working against it. There is no point in wasting energy to become a morning person when I don’t need to be one. In addition to that I was raised by night owls and I am most creative at night. Creativity does not equal productivity though. I am most productive between the hours of 9:30 – 11:30 am and 1:30-3:30 pm. I try to schedule anything that involves uninterrupted focus for one of those blocks of time. I know this from years of trial and error when it came to schedule meetings in the corporate world. 

Take a Break

And finally, breaks are CRUCIAL. Getting outside to see the sun (or clouds) is a game changer for me. It immediately refreshes me and helps me move from one task to another without lingering on the past. I have a built in break requirement – Herman – but if you do not have a furry friend that makes you go outside multiple times a day maybe try setting a timer to take yourself on a walk.

The Breakdown: What Did not Work for Me! 

This schedule took a lot of trial and error. A few mistakes were made. 

Stay Unique 

One, trying to make my schedule like everyone on LinkedIn. Joe CEO wakes up at 5:30am and makes millions – therefore I should wake up at 5:30am and make millions is a fallacy. I don’t want to wake up at 5:30 am and Joe is probably wealthy because of nepotism. Waking up before the sun does not make anyone more productive – it just makes them a morning person. Being a morning person does not make you more successful (unless you are naturally inclined towards mornings). Create a schedule that works for you and who you want to be and empathically ignore the feedback of anyone who isn’t affected by it. 

You do YOU 

Another mistake I made was thinking that I needed to get up when Brenton (my partner) got up. Brenton is a morning person, I am a night person. For weeks I felt guilty about him getting up to walk the dog while I slept in until it dawned on me that he didn’t give a f*ck about it or he would have woke me up. He wants me to be healthy and happy and that includes getting enough sleep. It’s ok to be on different sleep schedules than the people you live with – it probably makes both of you more productive and stronger if you both utilize your natural abilities to get sh*t done. 

Perfectionism

A third misconception I had about my schedule was that I had to follow it religiously. I used to sweat it if I overslept – now I just let it go. As long as I’m up and ready before any calls AND I get everything I need to do done in the day I consider it a success. No more bullying myself about oversleeping. 

Chaos

And finally, the fourth mistake I made was throwing away my schedule completely. For a short period of time I let myself stay up until 3am and sleep until noon. This was awful for my mental health, it prevented me from eating on a regular schedule and it made me sad. I’m someone who needs a loose schedule with chunks of time to play with and having no structure was not good got me. 

TLDR: Find what feels good for you and optimizes your ability to get what you need done WHILE prioritizing your health (physical and mental) 

I hope this breakdown helps! And remember, being productive is not the end goal! You are so much more than what you do – but sometimes you just need to get sh*t done. 

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