The last time I wrote about my morning routine, it was during the summer and my kids were on summer break. Once they went back to school, I had to update it accordingly, and, now that I’m back on the weight loss wagon, I’ve had to update it again. Here’s what my updated morning routine looks like. Some things haven’t changed, while others have changed quite a bit.
5:00 am: Rise and Shine
During the school year, my youngest has to get up and in the shower by 6 am. When school first started this year, I was getting up at 6 with him. But, things have changed a bit since then. I saw my doctor for my 6 month check up last month and was disgusted with my weight. Since then, I’ve started getting up at 5 am so that I have an hour to myself. During this time, I enjoy my coffee, take the dogs out, catch up on some news, and update my Filofax as needed.
6:00 am: Mom on Duty
I get the kid up so he can get a shower, have breakfast, and get ready for school. He’s usually done by 6:30 and we sit back and watch Here Comes the Boom on the DVR. It’s what we do. We watch about 30 minutes a day so it takes us a few days to watch it in full. But, it’s our bonding time together and we look forward to it every day.
7:15 am: Let the Housework Begin
The kid is on the bus between 7:13 and 7:15 am each school day. When he’s gone, I get started with my housework. This tends to vary depending on my DVR. If I have a show that recorded the night before, I’ll watch it when the kid leaves before I get into my housework. My cleaning routine in the morning is as follows:
Unload dishwasher from the night before & add breakfast dishes
Take out what we’re having for dinner, if we’re not having leftovers
I’m just starting this part of my morning routine and it’s where I sit down with my book to read for about 15-20 minutes, update my Filofax, take a shower, and get ready for the day. I say this is new to my routine because it’s scheduled. I’ve always showered and gotten ready for the day, but it’s way more structured now. This time used to be a free-for-all in which I would get very little done.
10:00 am: Off to Work
I log on to work at 10 am every day and start handling email and other tasks. Each day brings about different things so it’s important that my Filofax is updated each day.
So, that’s my updated morning routine that’s been working very well for me. I’ve found that following this routine has “given” me more time in the morning to get everything done and still have time to sit down and enjoy myself before I start my work day.
I’ve been a Filofax user for quite some time now and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s not the system, though; it’s the user. I’ve searched Pinterest and YouTube high and low to find ideas that may work for me with little to no success. But, all that has changed recently and I’m more productive and organized than ever! Thanks to David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, I’m finally GTD!
I don’t use the system verbatim but I do use the main components. My setup is:
How I Use It
First thing’s first: the inbox. It’s where everything gets written down. When I say everything, I mean everything! It doesn’t matter if it’s work, home, personal, family, etc. It all goes in the inbox. From there, it gets sorted and designated to its proper list. If it requires an action, it goes on my Next Actions list. If it’s a home task, it goes on my home list. If I’m waiting on something from someone else, it goes on the waiting for list. If it’s a multi-step item that requires a good bit of time, it goes on my projects list. You get the idea. I have a column in my inbox that tells me where each item was transferred so that I don’t waste time looking for it in my other lists.
Once everything has been sorted and designated, I go through and work on my tasks. Now, David Allen says that if a task takes less than 2 minutes, you should do it. Well, no offense to David Allen, but I’m not to that point in my productivity yet. I can’t fathom doing a 2 minute home task during the work day when there are work tasks that need to be completed.
I update this list constantly throughout the day. I’m always adding and transferring things.
If I’ve moved something to my next actions list, it means I have to do something else with it. The items on this list should always start with a verb (action word) so that you know exactly what action needs to be taken. This is where all of my actionable tasks go despite the category they fall under. For example, on my action list, I have a task to “Email guidance counselor”. This is an actionable item so it’s on my next actions list and my home list. Most of my work tasks are listed here, too. They’re also listed on my work list, projects list, and waiting for list. I have a lot of work.
This is where all of the tasks that have multiple steps go. I list it in my inbox and transfer it to projects. I have tasks listed on the project and, sometimes, in waiting for.
My work tasks are listed here if it’s something I need to be aware of. For example, a colleague is working on a project that I need to know about but I don’t have to do anything with it. Having this item in my inbox and on my work list serves as a reminder that it’s still ongoing.
This is where I list everything I want to do with my blog. It originates in my inbox and I move it to my blog list from there. If it’s urgent, I’ll add it to my next actions list, but nothing is at the moment.
All tasks related to my family and home go here. Again, it starts in the inbox and goes from there.
This is a running list of all phone calls I have to make. It doesn’t matter if it’s work, family, or personal. If I have to make a phone call for any reason, it goes on this list.
I’ll be honest – I don’t get out of the house often, but, when I do, I usually have a handful of things to do while I’m out. I’m trying to be efficient in my running around so I save time and money on gas. There are only a few errands on my list right now and that’s go to the bank and pick up prescriptions. Neither of these are urgent so they can wait until I go out again. But, they have to be done so they’re listed in my inbox and were transferred to my errands list.
Let me be clear, this is not your normal, every day shopping/grocery list. Well, for me, it’s not. I use it for things that aren’t common. For example, our washing machine went up a few weeks ago (thank goodness we have a spare) and it needs a part. Well, fix washer is listed in my inbox and was transferred to the home list. Once my husband located the part, I added it to my to buy list. Although I miss my washing machine, I’m not in a big hurry to drop $75 on a part for the door (it’s a front loader).
This list is where all of the things that can be done later go. David Allen calls this the “Someday/Maybe” list. I found that title to be a little too far in the future so I call mine later. Here’s an example:
In my inbox, I have the task to replace the roof on our back porch (it leaks). I’ve moved this task to my home list and the later list because it’s for the home and it’s something that will be done later (it’s rained for a month here and you can’t replace a roof in the rain). However, if I put this on a “someday/maybe” list, I highly doubt I’d look at it.
This list is where I write down everything I’m waiting for that pertains to a specific task. I was tasked with coordinating a presentation for a client. This task went in my inbox, was transferred to next actions and work, then it went to projects (because there are multiple steps), and it’s also on the waiting for list because I’m waiting for someone else to complete a task before I can continue.
This may seem like A LOT of work but it really isn’t. The bulk of the work, for me, was setting it up because I had almost 500 emails to go through, add to my inbox, and sort. Thank goodness my BFF was here and helped me go through it all!
The first thing I do each day is check out my inbox to see what’s on tap for the day. Then, I get started completing them. Now, this is where David Allen’s 2 minute rule comes into play for me. I break my day down into sections; work, personal, and home. I have a morning routine that I follow from 8 am to 9 am before I head to my office and an evening routine I follow when I’m done at the office. During this time, I’ll complete those 2 minute tasks that are related to home and personal that are sitting in my inbox. When I’m at work, I run through my inbox again and tackle those 2 minute work tasks before moving on to the complex ones. When I’m finished with a task and it’s completely done, I highlight it green in my inbox. From there, I check it off on the other list it’s on (next actions, work, blog, etc.) and I keep moving.
What I’ve Gained
I feel like I’ve actually gained time! Having everything written down and organized has been absolutely amazing for me. I don’t feel overwhelmed or as stressed out as I did before. I just started this system about a week ago and it’s been so easy and helpful. Things aren’t falling through the cracks anymore and I don’t worry about forgetting something that needs to be done.
Being a freelancer means I have to have dedication and discipline to get my work done throughout the day. It’s up to me to get done what needs to get done every day, and, if I don’t, there’s hell to pay. I still have deadlines to meet, a business to run, and a family to handle. With that said, my morning routine isn’t much different than any other freelancer’s; I just wanted to share it with you.
During the school year, my routine is rock solid, but, now that summer vacation is here, things get a little crazy. During the week, I roll out of bed at 7 am. Sometimes earlier but I try to grab as many z’s as I can.
From 7 to about 7:30 I’m checking my social media, catching up on email, and planning my day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see my many morning planning sessions there. If I have time, I play a round (or 2) of Candy Crush while the dogs are outside.
From 7:30 until 8, I’m held hostage by my Keurig; enjoying every minute of it. I usually take my coffee outside so I can listen to the birds sing. It’s always nice to start the day with something beautiful.
When the clock strikes 8, it’s time for breakfast. I have my usual (egg whites with a whole grain English muffin) with another cup of coffee. By this time, at least one of my kids is up and asking me a million questions. I have my breakfast at the dining room table so I can update my Filofax as necessary.
I’m usually done with breakfast by 8:30, which leaves me 30 minutes to get some things done before heading to the office. I start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher (and add my breakfast dishes), take the dogs out again, and wipe down the kitchen counters.
You see, my morning routine probably isn’t much different that yours. Unless you commute to work, in which case my routine is much different than yours. I’d love to sleep in every day since my kids are on summer break but that’s not conducive to my goals.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been in a constant state of change. It should come as no surprise that, once again, my life is changing. It’s been a rough first quarter of 2016 but it can only go up from here. Here’s the skinny on what’s been going on lately…
Let’s see….where to begin. Ah…my oldest boy, who went to bootcamp, is now home due to a concussion. He wasn’t able to physically complete the program, which meant he wouldn’t have graduated if he stayed. He’s since been in a bus accident and suffered another concussion while playing basketball. That kid is always keeping things interesting!
We recently moved into a bigger place and I now have an actual office space! I’m so excited about that! I’m just waiting for Comcast to install my internet so I can officially set up shop. The move has been difficult because we’re both working full-time. We only have evenings and weekends to organize and put away and that’s been driving me crazy. Between the kids, the pets, the husband, and the boxes, there’s not a clear path anywhere!
My work has drastically changed in the past month and I’ve been working 12 hour days. It’s been rough because it’s not something I’m used to but I’m loving every minute of it. Now, if my office would magically get finished, that would be so great. 😉
My Filofax is also about to change…as soon as my ink arrives. I don’t understand Amazon. I have a prime account that I pay for, handsomely, and my “free two day shipping” on an order I placed yesterday is scheduled for delivery on March 8. Really? Where in the hell is that considered 2 days?! Anyway, rant over. Once my ink arrives, and I have some time on a weekend, I’m going to update my daily schedule to include all the new, fun clients I have and work I need to do. I think I’m more excited about updating that than anything else. Yeah, yeah, I’m a dork…I know.
Lastly, my weight has changed. I’ve gained a little bit of weight since starting the move and the new work. I’ve found myself slipping back into old habits again, like eating at my desk, eating whatever is quick, and no working out. I even forgot to put my FitBit on today! I haven’t been logging my food like I should and that’s not like me. I’ve got so much going on but that’s no excuse. I can’t wait until my house is finished and I don’t have to run here, there, and everywhere to get things done.
The weight that I have gained, I’ll take off. That’s not going to be an issue. I refuse to go back to where I started. If that means I don’t work 12 hour days anymore, so be it. My health will come first! Change is difficult for me because I’m a creature of habit; I like schedules and routines. When something gets in the way, I often don’t know what to do or how to handle it. But, that’s something I’m constantly working on.
Many people think that because I work from home, I have it made. I’m here to tell you that those of us who work at home are far from having it made. In fact, it’s often more stressful and difficult than working outside the house. Many of us work at home peeps have done both, but, I’ve found, that those who say it’s an easy gig have never done it. How could working from home be more stressful and difficult? I’m about to tell you.
Yes, there are disruptions on traditional jobs, too, but nothing quite like what can be experienced when you’re working from home. For instance, I have 4 pets; 2 dogs and 2 cats. If I worked a job outside the house, I would have to kennel my dogs during the day. But, I don’t do that since I work from home. It’s not fair to them. That means that I’m up about 500 times a day to take them out, see what they’re into (just like having small children again), or just talking to them so they’re not bored.
I also deal with my fair share of disruptions from friends and family. I’ve read so many articles online about the importance of setting boundaries, and they’re all true, but some people just don’t accept them. Even if I don’t answer the phone, I have 1 friend who calls me at least 5 times each day. Really? No one needs to call someone that many times a day. Since I have an iPhone, I take full advantage of the do not disturb feature during office hours. The only calls allowed through are from my sons’ schools and my husband (we don’t talk much during the day).
Laundry is the biggest part of my household chores. There are 4 people in my house, most of them male, and laundry is a never-ending chore! When you work at home, you see your housework staring you in the face all day, every day. This could also be listed in the disruptions section above because it’s just that – a disruption. When working outside the house, you may know that you need to do laundry, but it’s not staring you in your face all day. I don’t care what anyone says – that’s stressful!
Simply put – there isn’t any. Most people expect you to keep working even if you’re sick because you work from home. This is also true when your kids are sick. Your work doesn’t stop because you’re home with a sick child. However, if you let your clients know as soon as possible, they may give you a bit more leeway in getting your work done. I have been very fortunate in this area to work with people who have similar family values.
As a freelancer, you always have to hustle. You don’t just show up, clock in, and get paid. You have to deal directly with those who choose not to pay you, those who want work done for next to nothing, those who always want to haggle over your rates. You won’t have to deal with this with everyone, but it is a reality of remote workers. It’s often difficult to budget your income because it varies from month to month.
I absolutely love working from home and can’t see myself in a traditional job any time soon. Although it can be stressful, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I love that I can get my housework done during the day when the kids are in school instead of having to spend all weekend doing it. I love that I can make make and keep appointments without having to worry about missing a certain number of hours from work. I love that I can work late at night or early in the morning without issue. Working from home is just like any other job; there are good and bad points. The trick is to figure out what works best for you and your family.
Do you work from home? Tell me what you love about it below!