How to move the needle with your own work-life balance routine.
I know we just met, but let’s be real with each other.
You are not a morning person.
You have never been a morning person.
But low and behold, your alarm is beeping its satanic ritual tune because you have guiltily bought into a miracle 5 am morning routine as the cornerstone of your entrepreneurial success.
Stop with the self-sabotage, already.
We are all wired differently. There is a reason some of us feel our best in the morning (aka early birds) and others come alive in the afternoon and evening times (aka night owls).
Right from birth, our personal biological clocks are already wound. Genetics establishes a person’s “chronotype,” which is pegged to when his or her body feels up and at ’em.
Why is this important? By ignoring this fundamental truth, you will follow the newest herd mentality of how to operate your business and life, creating unnecessary barriers obstructing your natural skills and abilities to be fully recognized.
The adage playing to your strengths never holds more truth then at this very moment. You can’t play to your strengths if you are tired, stressed out, and anxious. Why take someone else’s lead when you have already proved you can call the shots? It’s the difference between having a Worker vs. Leader mindset.
I too, fell victim to this same mindset trap. The stress, guilt, and work-life constraints to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 9 am was taking its toll on me. I was mentally and physically exhausted by noon. I was overeating and over-caffeinating to compensate. When I would come home, I took out all my pent-up frustration out on my family. If I was going to be this miserable working for myself, why didn’t I just stay at my 9–5?
That’s when the foghorn for the impending burnout storm began sounding in my head.
I left my 9–5 because I was tired of being treated like just another worker conforming to a set-up that was not in my best interest. I was ready and willing to set my own course. To decide my own destiny or fate. So why in the hell was I blindly operating on a set of rules I hadn’t yet vetted for myself?
I know why.
I was completely overwhelmed with all the other decisions I had to make as an entrepreneur. As a result, I lazily fell into a routine rhythm that others were spouting off as, “This is the way to entrepreneurial success and salvation.” Just as meticulous as I was about my business plan, I should have been even more adamant about how I would healthily and successfully move the needle with a vetted-out routine.
The first thing I did I decided to do was envision how I would set up my perfect workday that harnessed productivity and emotional sanity. I treated myself with the same care as I did my clients. I began asking detailed lifestyle questions to formulate an intentional healthy living and work-life balance plan.
Lifestyle Questions for Mindful Productive Routine:
What do I need to do to not feel rushed in the morning?
How much sleep do I need to feel rested?
What meals should I pack to energize me throughout the day?
What’s the most efficient way to exercise?
How do I align my day to stay focused on the immediate ROI tasks?
When should I schedule staff time?
When should client appointments and calls be scheduled?
This simple self-evaluation helped me quickly determine what I needed daily to show up as the person I wanted to be for myself, my family, my staff, and clients. I certainly didn’t want to be known as the frazzled owner alienating everyone around her. To show up as a caring and competent leader in my life, I landed on 4 daily routine musts: Fostering positive mindset, physical health, professional growth, and work-life balance for my family.
I’m a visual learner so I created my own outline system of drilling down exactly what I needed in my day to day to create a routine that played to my strengths and skills. My routine constants became known as my Pillars. Over time, each Pillar blossomed into committed actions known as my Routine Items. To stay committed and motivated to my new routine, I went one step further and followed up each Routine Item with a Business Deliverable.
My Mindfully Productive Daily Routine:
Pillar #1 Mind Body & Soul Wellbeing
Routine Item: Prepping healthy meals and snacks.
Business Deliverable: When I eat healthy, I am mentally and emotionally happier.
Routine Item: Daily scheduled exercise time.
Business Deliverable: When I move my body, I have energy the entire day.
Routine Item: Daily scheduled mindful breaks.
Business Deliverable: When I unplug my creativity, focus, and patience stay fresh.
Pillar #2 Showing Up A Caring Present Partner
Routine Item: Leave the last 45 minutes of the day for uninterrupted reflection and goal setting.
Business Deliverable: Leads to a focused next day. By leaving work at work, home can be home.
Routine Item: Being present for each other.
Business Deliverable: A kind, patient, and loving partnership.
Routine Item: Be each other’s cheerleader.
Business Deliverable: Lean on each other for support in all things.
Pillar #3 Be Purposeful:
Routine Item: Align ROI tasks at the beginning of the workday.
Business Deliverable: Taking advantage of a rested and fresh perspective.
Routine Item: Schedule emails, meetings, and other interpersonal tasks after ROI tasks.
Business Deliverable: Not allowing outside(r) urgency or distraction derail my strategic alignment or movement.
Routine Item: Enact a big picture thinking mindset.
Business Deliverable: To avoid knee-jerk decision making and burn-out.
Pillar #4 Be Flexible:
Routine Item: Eliminate unnecessary rushing, barriers, or pressures (i.e. I can work out at 8 am or 3 pm — but I will not fill this slot with something else).
Business Deliverable: When I am not rushed or forced into specific time slots, I stay laser-focused and productive throughout the day.
Routine Item: Planning with the intention of shifting.
Business Deliverable: My need and want for speed to market.
Routine Item: Expect the unexpected with staffing.
Business Deliverable: Emotional intelligence is the truest sign of leadership.
My present routine was a coupling of time, commitment, mindset, and habitual changes to organically arrive at what my own steadfast mindfully productive routine. Your routine will and should evolve with you and your business’ ever-changing needs. By landing on the secret sauce that gives you that edge, you’ll become unstoppable in whatever you want to accomplish in life.