This past week I have been trying something new in the mornings.
We have 3 boys at home. And if I ever write a book on parenting it will have one chapter. And in that one chapter it will have one sentence. And the one sentence would be this:
“Buy an OK-To-Wake Clock.”
That’s it. That’d be the whole parenting book.
So this week, as I said, I have been trying something new.
I still wake up a little after 6am, which is when I normally wake up anyway. And that means I get an entire hour to myself before the boys wake up. (Thanks to their ok-to-wake clocks, they all stay in their rooms, quiet, until 7:15am. Every single day. (I know, right!?))
And I have been spending the first quiet hour of my day writing.
I wake up. Put on sweats. Make a cup of coffee. Sit down at the kitchen counter. And write for 30 or 45 minutes.
I’m here right now. The house is quiet. The sun is just beginning to rise. And there is the dim early morning light warming up the windows. And I am writing.
During the past month, I’d been noticing that I was struggling with my morning writing time. There are not one but two articles I am supposed to have already written for The Sweet Setup that are still in my drafts folder. And so I knew something needed to change.
During my work day, I have been more distracted — doing more busywork — than normal. I had to create a separate task list that is just all the “busywork ideas” I have. It’s a list of the little things I suddenly want to do around my house and around my office now that I am just here all day every day. And they’re all good things to do, but they also are distractions from what I need to be doing. (Writing it down on its own list helps me to stay focused.)
So, in order to combat my newfound work-from-home distractions, I’m trying a new writing routine to help me be more focused on this single most important task of the day.
Of course, all the “distraction talk” is not to say that my whole day has gone to the birds.
We Blancs are on day 35 of life and work and school from home. We certainly have our good days and our bad days. And in the midst of everything — the inside monotony and outside pressures of life — our routines have become all the more important.
A few things I have stayed vigilant with are:
Protecting my time to rest and think during my day.
Using routines and systems to make things easier on myself.
In another article I’ll have to write up the nitty gritty things of my routines and systems that have helped keep my day on track.
But first I want to share a “bigger idea”. Which is the simple idea of having big chunks of your day blocked out.
Here. Check this out.
It’s a copy of Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule.
This simple schedule of Benjamin Franklin’s has been an inspiration to me for years!
What I like is how open and simple it is. (And how he had “diversions” as part of his daily routine.)
If you look at it, you’ll see that he had only 6 blocks of time scheduled each day:
- Morning Routine: 3 hours for getting ready, shower, breakfast, personal study, and prepare for work
- Work: 4 hours
- Afternoon break: 2 hours for eating, reading, and admin
- Work: 4 hours
- Evening Routine: 4 hours for dinner, relaxing, diversions, and wrapping up the day
- Sleep: 7 hours
This, dear reader, is timeblocking. And it’s marvelously effective.
For my day, I have big “blocks” like what you see on Benjamin Franklin’s schedule. And I also will time block within those . . . mapping my day’s most important tasks to a time on my calendar.
Having a simple way to schedule your day can be especially important if you find yourself in the middle of a transition — such as trying to figure out￼ how to work from home with additional distractions you wouldn’t have at the office.￼
Timeblocking can help you regain control of your day and make sure you are spending your time effectively on the things that are important.
I regularly come back to my own daily schedule to re-evaluate it and see if it is serving me as well as it should be.
Hence, this week’s early-morning writing experiment. I simply shifted around two blocks of time to see if it would improve my day. And it has!
Now, I don’t know if this is early wake and write will be my new normal. But it’s working right now and that is what matters.