I have a confession to make, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of hacking and optimizing my daily routines, especially my morning and evening routines. All of those “how to get more done in less time and make it even better than before” books, blogs, and podcasts? Sign me up. I admit that I’m a total sucker for anyone who offers to help me achieve what I want and check everything off my to-do list on the daily. Some tips I’ve come across have been total game changers while others just seem like a scam or some fluff that are a total waste of time.
Because being an entrepreneur or a side hustler means that you are most likely working more hours every week than all of your friends (combined), I thought it would be helpful to share some optimization tips that I find really helpful.
Hacking your morning routine
I read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod a few months ago and while I had already been waking up early every morning (since the beginning of 2017), it really solidified a lot of the “why” and “how” in terms of making that early morning time work best for me and help me to fully achieve my goals. Hal advocates for waking up early each morning and doing a series of activities and tasks that are all based on self-improvement. That includes positive affirmations, journaling, exercising, reading, and writing or creating. All of those activities are specifically centered around helping you to achieve your goals. Waking up earlier in the morning can be TOUGH, especially for the first couple of weeks, but it is much easier if you have a plan for every morning and that plan is specifically serving your goals. That way, you can train your brain to see that longer term reward you’ll get if you just get your lazy butt out of bed!
Nobody actually likes waking up early, but everyone loves the feeling of having woken up early.
That couldn’t be more true. It is never fun to get up early and there are still many mornings that I want to (and sometimes do) hit that snooze button, but I think about how great I feel by 8am when I have already worked out, ate breakfast, prepped my lunch for the day AND gotten some work done. The knowledge and understanding of how that 5am wake up call is serving my goals is what makes all the difference. I 100% recommend waking up at least 1-2 hours earlier than you normally do, it will make all the difference and totally set your day, and your life, up for success.
Optimizing your commute
There are a lot of people who hate their commute. It’s a dreaded 20, 40 or 60+ minutes they go through twice a day during the week. But I LOVE my commute. Hear me out here, I don’t love getting on a dirty subway that doesn’t have air conditioning and smells kind of weird, or dealing with extensive subway delays that the MTA never explains. But I “hack” my commute to use it to my advantage. I either work on some self-improvement or get work done while I’m walking and taking the subway to work every morning.
That usually means I am either listening to a podcast about business, marketing, entrepreneurship, etc or I am using the WordPress app or even the Notes app on my phone to brain storm and start prepping blog posts. I know for you road warriors, using your phone while driving isn’t feasible but it is still a great time to either listen to some awesome podcasts or an audio book to help grow your knowledge and better yourself. And with that, you just gained another 20, 40, 60+ minutes of productive time before you even get into the office.
My evening commute looks much the same, although sometimes I will sprinkle in some more entertaining podcasts, read an ebook on my phone or listen to an Italian language podcast (I’ve been trying to brush up since I minored in college, use it or lose it as they say). I like to use my end of day commute for different activities depending on how I’m feeling at the end of the day. Sometimes it’s tough to listen to a business audio book after a really tough day, and that’s ok!
Hacking your evening routine
I will admit that evenings are my weak spot. It’s really hard for me not to just get home, make a quick burrito bowl and melt into my couch watching too many episodes of Silicon Valley and Veep. But the key is that I have recognized and identified the triggers that lead to me having a really unproductive evening and I try to take steps to avoid them.
That means having a snack before I leave work so I’m not ravenous by the time I get home. If I’m not starving I tend to make healthier choices when I’m cooking dinner. While I cook, I clean up the kitchen (wipe counters, load/unload dishwasher, etc) while my food is on the stove or in the microwave instead of just standing like a zombie and scrolling through Instagram. Then, I’ll sit down to eat my dinner and watch one episode of tv. The key is that the end of that one episode is like a deadline for me. Once it’s over I rinse my dishes, put them into the dishwasher then immediately grab my computer and get back into work mode. I like working with noise in the background so I will usually keep the tv on BUT you won’t catch me with an episode of Game of Thrones on that will be nagging for my attention, it’s more likely to be Fixer Upper and probably an episode I’ve already seen, that way, I’m not tempted to stop working in order to pay attention. This usually leads to me getting a pretty solid 2-3 hours of work in every night, after a full day at the office.
Discipline creates lifestyle. – Peter Voogd
Optimizing your routines is not always easy, and in the beginning it can be downright uncomfortable, but having the discipline to sit down, say “I’m want to accomplish this and these are the steps I need in order to get there,” is what separates the girls from the lady bosses!
What are some of your tips for optimizing and hacking daily routines?