Habits, Schnabits: Part 2

On it. Part 5 of my routine is happening now!

You’ve read Part 1 and loved it, so let’s move on to Part 2. This is where I tell you about the habits/routines I do have and keep because they work for me. There are some you might have tried and hated, or others you inherently know wouldn’t work for you. And that’s cool! I’m not saying this is a Must Do list. But maybe you’ll see something here that you want to try, or it gives you an idea to do something similar. Which is also cool!

Let me preface this by saying this is my routine on my ideal day. If I have an early job, a lot of it has to get thrown out the window. But when I don’t, this is what I like to do.

Phone Check. Before I even get out of my bed, I look at my phone. I know some people say this is bad, but I need to make sure my personal and professional worlds haven’t crumbled over the last seven hours. If there is anything truly urgent, I respond. Otherwise, I leave it until I’m ready for the responding-to-things part of my day.

Social Media Scroll. Another one a lot of people advise against, but this is part of how I ease into the day. It’s usually more of a Facebook scroll than Instagram, and I do it because I like to see what the people in my life who I don’t talk to regularly are up to (or what they choose to share). I leave birthday comments, I send condolences messages, I congratulate friends on professional accomplishments, engagements, pregnancy announcements, etc. I don’t spend a ton of time on Facebook during the day, but most days, I do this scroll for about 10 minutes in the morning.

Supplements: Round 1. One of the first things I do after get out of bed is take my probiotics and a supplement that needs to be taken on an empty stomach. It’s five total pills, and I like taking them because they have corrected health issues I’ve had in the past, so starting off my day staying on top of my health feels great. As a business owner, I need my energy and focus to be high every day. If I consistently don’t feel well, I can’t do my job, so taking care of my health is just as important as booking jobs and paying bills.

Now that’s a choking hazard if I ever saw one.

Mini Workout. Next up, I brew my coffee and hit the floor for some hamstring stretches prescribed by my chiropractor and 150 crunches (75 for upper abs, 75 for lower). Next up is my favorite arm workout, followed by 20 lunges and 20 squats. By the time my coffee is ready, I’ve done something else good for my health and crossed it off my list before the day gets to me.

Blogging. In January, I set the goal of posting at least one blog post a week for all of 2018. We are now in Week 43 of 2018 and I only missed one week (I was away on a semi-vacation), but I made up for that by posting twice the next week. I was able to get about 20 posts done and stockpiled in the early part of this year, but then wedding season buried me so I had to write new ones most weeks. And my mind is freshest in the morning, so that is when it makes the most sense for me to write. I give myself a certain amount of time, then I do my best to stay focused and write during that time. I love writing and would love to have three hours a day to do it, but I usually have to settle for 30 – 60 minutes.

Supplements: Round 2. I have more supplements that need to be taken with food/a protein shake, so I do that while watching a comedy special, comedy video podcast or a business webinar/class. That way I’m either laughing or learning while my body gets some nutrients it needs. I’ll take that Smart Multitasking Award now, please.

A Scheduled Going With the Flow Day. After breakfast, I really get into my emails and tasks for the day. I have certain tasks I do on certain days, and the reminders for those tasks are purposely set to pop up at times I know my brain will be most receptive to them. So blogging, typing up notes for classes I am teaching, creating content–anything that requires my communication to be clear and interesting–has to be done in the earlier part of the day while my mind is fresh. And any tasks that require me to do even the slightest bit of math need to happen early on in the day if I want the numbers to come out right. I save autopilot tasks–scheduled emails I already have templates for, printing documents, filing–for later in the day when my brain is slowing down but is still working. And of course, a ton of emails and calls come in during the day. I do my best to prioritize what needs to be responded to right away (i.e. new leads and time sensitive questions) and what can wait (i.e. creating wedding schedules for a year from now, reading a newsletter that I think will have valuable info, responding to a blog post comment, etc.) So I have to go with the flow and prioritize the new stuff while also taking care of as many of the scheduled tasks as possible. I’m better at this some days than others.

Sums up my business philosophy.

Mid-Day Break. As long as it’s nice out and I’m not booked with clients all afternoon, I take a break around 1:00pm to walk to do errands. Sometimes they are work errands, sometimes personal, but getting myself out of my house or studio and away from my computer gives me an energy boost. I have loved going for walks since I was a kid, so even though my walks now have a purpose, they are still one of my favorite things to do. Being able to walk to do my errands–and to bars and restaurants, if I’m being honest!–is an important part of my life and the reason why I will always choose a small apartment in (or very slightly outside of) the middle of things over a bigger and probably cheaper place in an area where you have to drive everywhere.

Daily Wrap Up. I’ve found that as long as I start my day off right with my morning routines and getting out for a walk mid-day, I am generally very productive. The rest of the day is dependent on what is going on that week, but I try to plan it out the best I can the night before. I always did this to some extent, but I really honed in on this after taking a productivity workshop in the Hatch Tribe Members Circle. Every night at 8:00pm (the time I try to end my workday but usually don’t), a reminder comes up to do my Daily Wrap Up. I scan my inbox for anything that absolutely needs to responded to that night, then I look at my calendar for the next day. I delete any non-applicable reminders for the next day (i.e. sending out wedding schedules for one month out when we don’t have any exactly one month from that reminder, following up with someone who has already gotten back to me, placing makeup orders when I’m not out of any products, etc.). I then look at my main To Do list. If it’s a hot mess with crossouts everywhere and tasks written in every available space, I write a fresh one for the next day. Then I look at my new To Do list and what’s left on my calendar for the next day and choose no more than four tasks that I absolutely want to get done the next day. I write “Tuesday” or whatever the next day is on the top of the list and put that next to my computer. Doing Daily Wrap Ups is a newer thing for me but I can tell it’s already been working.

Do what works for you. If that means making an impossibly neat written plan, go for it.

I like structure, but I also like to do what I want when I want, so figure that one out. I have my routines and I stick to them most of the time, but I also create them and can change them up whenever I want, which is where the freedom comes in. All of my routines aren’t fully possible on days when I’m with clients or on set for most of the day, but I still try to grab onto a couple of them when I can. As an entrepreneur, you have so much on your plate. Without a plan or structure, it can feel like complete chaos. And it’s 112% harder (fact that I made up) to run a business when things are more hectic than they need to be.

When you own a business, things are always going to come up. Some days go pretty smoothly, while other days will consist of putting out fire after fire (after fire…after fire). But routines give you that safety net of structure so you don’t feel like you are free falling through your day. Or at least, not falling as far or as fast.

This is my take, but I know I’m not alone. Us small biz owners all have our ways of doing things. If you are successful, happy, and not feeling completely overwhelmed 24/7, I think it’s safe to say you are doing it right. But if you don’t have any routines and you are feeling like things are out of control, maybe it’s time to throw some routines in there. You might already have an inkling of what would work for you, or maybe you’ve read about another entrepreneur’s routines and thought “I like how they start their day off with meditation/a cold shower/running around the neighborhood yelling ‘I did it!‘”

Morning routines for entrepreneurs
She put TWO inspirational quotes in one post? Yes, I did, and I don’t regret it.

So go on, do your thing mama, do your thing. (Anyone get that reference?) If you want to create some routines, there are plenty out there to inspire you, but you’ve got the freedom to choose or create ones that will work for you.

And now my blogging routine is over, so I’m on to the next.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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