Do you have a bit of a ‘love-hate’ relationship with the concept of structuring your day?
Does your inner dialogue go something like this…
- It will help me get more done because I know how I’ll be spending my day
- I’ll feel satisfied that I have focused on the right tasks
- It’s so rigid and inflexible. It feels like I’m back at school!
- What if XYZ happens, and I can’t stick to it, then what?
Yes, the word structure may sound a bit boring and take you back to your school timetable, but how would it feel if you’ve just dropped the kids off at school and now have a 5 hour window ahead of you and you:
- knew how you were going to use those precious hours to make a difference, rather than sitting down at your desk and wondering where to start?
- felt excited and energised to engage with the world about your amazing offer or product?
Do you still feel that having a structure isn’t for you?
Yes, of course, there will inevitably be days when life will send a few curve balls e.g. your child is sick and you need to pick them up immediately and can’t focus on your business. But if you have a schedule, you can more easily pick up where you left off once you can get back to your desk, by looking at your priority projects and doing a quick assessment of which tasks will make the biggest difference to your business, and start there.
Often when we have less time, we end up being even more efficient with our time. Have you ever noticed that?
I have transformed how I spend my day by creating a structure – it might sound rigid but let me inspire you to give it a second thought…
After doing lots of experiments – since leaving the corporate 9-5, retraining as a coach and establishing my own coaching business – about how to manage my time more effectively, I have come to the conclusion that creating a structure for my day has made the biggest difference to how I feel by the end of it.
Please read on to find out more about why I love a good structure and how it can help you to feel more fulfilled and less frazzled by the end of your working day.
I’m on a mission to help female solopreneurs who struggle to find a focus and flow to their day and make the progress they want to make in their businesses and end up feeling frustrated.
No-one wants that.
You are creating an amazing business that’s going to bring about positive change in the world. I want you to have the energy and focus to show the world what you have to offer, instead of getting burnt out by focusing on the wrong things or getting distracted.
Since leaving the ‘9-5’, and suddenly having a lot of choices about how and when to focus on my priority projects, I felt stressed rather than liberated. I remember saying to a friend – I’m really struggling without a structure.
Once I had qualified as a life coach a whole world of opportunity opened up. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the array of courses available to me to help me ‘become a great blogger’, ‘build my website’, ‘master social media’, ‘get more clients’, the list went on, and I continued to take more and more courses. But this was taking me further away from getting out there and finding my clients! There was a lot of frazzle, fear and overwhelm, which was leaving me feeling exhausted and frustrated by the end of the working day.
But then I started tapping into my inner resources – I love spotting patterns and creating habits, and I was starting to notice activities I was naturally doing on a regular basis that were helping my business to develop. Ably assisted by my well-being business mentor Vicky Shilling and her Just Start Now course, I started to create the building blocks that I needed for my business to get established. Then, I felt able to create a schedule which reflected the regular tasks I needed to do. Bingo! I suddenly felt back in control of my day.
So here are my 5 reasons why creating a structure to your work day can help you find more focus and flow and feel fulfilled rather than frazzled by the end of it.
- Start your day feeling energised and well rested
We all know that having a bedtime routine will help us to get a better night’s sleep. For most people, 8 hours of sleep is the ideal amount of sleep and will help us to feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
What really stops you from getting a good night’s sleep?
Is watching another episode of my favourite drama on Netflix, having another glass of wine, taking another half an hour to scroll through social media or ……. (please fill in the blank) more important than feeling rested and ready for the day ahead?
I know it can sometimes be a hard call to make, particularly if you have worked a long day and want enough time to unwind before you go to bed.
But if you can get a slightly longer sleep and then feel more refreshed the following day as a result, and implement some of the other tips below, you may not feel the need to work such a long day tomorrow, and then be in a better position to go to bed slightly earlier tomorrow night?
- Feel connected with yourself
Now, before I start work, I have built in time for a set of morning rituals which set me up for the day ahead. I always feel much better and ready for my day if I have done some of these grounding activities (particularly the meditation – I notice when I haven’t taken the time). This set of rituals has been long in the making (and there has been a lot of internal resistance along the way), and the biggest reason why I am now committed to doing them is because I have made time for them in my day. I wouldn’t do them on a regular basis otherwise.
Examples for activities you could do, depending on the amount of time you give yourself, could include:
- Setting you intentions for the day ahead
- Journaling e.g. writing Morning Pages (look at The Artist’s Way for more details)
- Spending some time in nature e.g. gardening
- Manage distractions
We have all been there.
You sit down at your desk ready to start work. It’s still fairly early in the day so you check your phone for messages, a notification pops up and you’re curious, so you take a look, you settle back down and then check your emails, and already 20 minutes has passed, or even longer.
This tends to happens to me when:
- I’m lacking energy to focus on a big chunky task
- I’m not 100% sure why I’m doing said task
- I’m not 100% sure what I’m meant to be doing next
If you have a schedule of activities for the day ahead e.g. 10-11 work on my website; 11-11:30 work on a blog post etc, then it’s harder for the ‘distraction fairy’ to creep in because you can tell it – I know what I’m doing now, I don’t need to be distracted thanks.
- Feel more aligned with your goals and intentions
Having created my daily schedule* which aligns with my quarterly goals (and my yearly intentions), each task I now choose to spend my time on is helping me to get a step closer towards these goals I’ve set for my business and the change I would like to bring about in the world through my work (you could also apply this to goals for your well-being or passion projects too).
If you take a look at the tasks on your to do list now, how well does each one align to your goals e.g. for your business?
Can you easily explain how they will take you a step closer towards achieving your goals?
*I review my daily schedule on a monthly basis and adapt it to align with my goals for the month/quarter e.g. a new course I’m starting or a new project I’m working on.
When I didn’t have a plan for the day ahead, I would often find myself getting distracted, then getting stuck into a task (still feeling frustrated that I had wasted time earlier), then not taking a break, and finishing up feeling frazzled.
Whether you have a day where you feel in full flow and don’t want to stop (even for a loo break, or is that just me?) or a day when nothing seems to be going right, it’s still really important to take regular breaks or just stop working if you need to.
Taking a slight deviation to evidence this, studies have shown that the brain needs a break at least every 75-90 minutes to recharge. Think of your brain like a mobile phone – it needs to recharge to continue working. Our brains are the same.
I hope that this blog post has encouraged you to give the idea of creating a structure to your day a second thought, because I think having a structure can:
- Encourage you to get more sleep
- Find time for a set of morning rituals to help ground you
- Manage the temptation to be distracted by your mobile phone or email
- Help you feel more aligned with your goals
- Ensure you take time for breaks to avoid burnout setting in
Would you like to create more focus and flow to your day and your week, and feel more fulfilled and less frazzled by the end of your working day but don’t know where to start?
Join my weekly Monday momentum meet ups. Click here for more information.
© Louisa Daubney Coaching 2022-23
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Louisa Daubney disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.