EXCLUSIVE: A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT MY NEW DAILY ROUTINE
Since I started blogging seven days a week back in March, things are now looking completely different.
I've developed a lot as a blogger over the past few months and I've watched everything about my online presence grow. As my workload has become larger and I've had the urge to create more, I've had to refine my processes to find a more systematic way to get everything done that I want to, whilst living my best life.
And if you've seen my tweets recently, you'll know I've been feeling the pressure.
If you run a blog alongside your day job or you've got loads of projects going on at once, I'm sure you can relate to my current situation.
But even if blogging is only a small part of your life - I'm sure you've felt the pressure of keeping up and getting noticed, right? I mean, it's so easy to get sucked into this world and everything it has to offer.
One day last month, everything just became too much. I hit a big wall. I didn't feel like I was accomplishing anything, I felt completely overwhelmed, my mood was affected and I couldn't remember the last time I had some free time to play around with.
This told me that I needed to make some changes to create a better routine that would involve everything I wanted to do in my life, whilst being manageable and helping me move forward.
I also wanted to start doing more things for me. My blog is partly a hobby still, but there are so many other things I’d like to do in my spare time that I don’t get chance to do. Things like reading books and makings, baking, DIY projects and flower arranging. Plus re-watching Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girls from the very beginning 😉
So during September, I’ve tried out this new method for creating my routine and carried it out. Because it’s gone so well, I really wanted to share it with you today, in the hope that it can inspire you to make some changes to your ideal routine. If you want to feel more in control of your work, whilst still making the most of your life, I really think you’ll find this helpful.
HOW I DECIDED TO CHANGE MY ROUTINE
The last time this happened, I tried to rearrange things myself, which worked for a while. But this time, I realised I needed an outside voice to advise me what the best options would be. Trust me, if you try and do everything by yourself, you’ll never end up getting anywhere!
Luckily, Tom had just read a book for work all about being more productive. Great timing, right? Plus he’s a pro at organising himself anyway, and he’s got his own system of how to work. But one of the main reasons why I brought Tom on board with this is because he’s such a detailed person. It’s one of his best qualities – seriously, he never misses a trick.
I also drew inspiration from a saying that has stayed with me since I was a little girl: you have to take one step back to move three steps forward. So even though the changes I was planning to make might’ve made me feel like I was cutting back, I was actually going to accomplish more in other aspects that would help me move forward.
SO LET’S JUMP INTO THE CHANGES I MADE...
MY MORNING ROUTINE
The first thing I looked at myself was my morning routine. Ideally, I’d love to fit in a morning workout, but that just isn’t realistic right now. And as I already get up at 6:30, I didn’t want to sacrifice my sleep to get up any earlier. So that was one decision made.
Then as I looked at the rest of my routine, I realised it was filled with things I HAD to do. Things like, remember to schedule tweets, remember to upload a photo to Instagram, remember to do your daily snap. It was making me feel pressured and I didn’t like that. I also used to watch YouTube videos as I was getting ready, and with my whole day and evening being spent staring at a computer screen, I thought this was something I needed to change.
So I decided to remove all aspects of work from my morning routine. I set my alarm for 6:30am and before I get up, it takes me two minutes to check the weather, the news and my latest emails – just so I’ve got an idea. Then I put my phone on charge and don’t touch it again until I’m ready to leave for work. Unless I want to take a snap of my morning cup of tea 😉
I wash and do my make-up with absolutely no background noise at all. With this being probably the only part of my day that’s just me and the silence, it’s absolute bliss. After that, I head downstairs, give my rabbits their breakfast and make sure their home is clean for the day. Then I’ll come back and make sure all my lunch is ready to take with me. After that, I’ll go back upstairs and finish getting ready.
The biggest change I’ve made to this routine is that if I need to do anything work related, I’ll make sure it’s scheduled in advance. So if I want to post to Instagram at 8am (because it’s one of my optimal times), I’ll schedule it the night before using Later. I’ll also schedule tweets the night before and if I don’t finish them, I’ll do it at lunch. Sometimes, if there’s only a few left to do, I will do those in the morning – but only if I feel like it.
Something else I also quickly do in my morning routine is put together my daily log in my bullet journal. This is just so I know what I've got on my to-do list for each day. I get this information from my master plan which I'll tell you about later.
HOW I PRIORITISE
The main way my routine has changed is to do with how I actually manage my work. This is where Tom comes in.
Instead of having separate to-do list for each part of my work – so my blog and my freelancing – he said we should put every task that I've got to complete on one huge list. Ongoing tasks, one-off tasks. Everything.
So that's what we did. We put every single task that I could think of on one list. And then Tom categorised them into different areas, like website, freelance, social media, blog, emails and so on.
Now the next bit gets a little complicated - but it works so stay with me.
Basically, each task gets assigned a number. The most important thing to remember is that these numbers don’t represent time as in hours. They represent time as in how long a task will take to get done - in other words, how quick or how long it’ll be.
Here’s an example.
Say you came up with a blog post idea and you wrote it on a sticky note. But you need to add it to your list in Evernote where you keep all your post ideas. This task would be given a 1, because it’s quick to do and once it’s done, it’s done.
Then on the other hand, if you had to research, write and format your blog post for the week, that would be given a 4 because it’ll take a lot longer.
Then once you’ve done one task and it only needs to be done once, you remove it. Or if it needs to be updated again in the future, you make a note of that too.
So if you don’t accomplish one of these tasks in a week, you just move it to the next one. But the aim is to get the little tasks out of the way, because sometimes these can be steps to help you move forward.
That’s essentially it. I’m lucky that I’ve got Tom to help me, but I’ve explained it to other people too and they’ve found it really useful!
The next step is planning my week which I do on a Sunday. We go through the spreadsheet, look at the time I’ve got available and put tasks in.
I include the things I need to do first - like writing blog posts and my weekly newsletter. Then when those tasks are in, I’ll see what else I can include.
So for instance, when it comes to my emails, I won’t set a task that says “clear emails”. It’ll be “answer 50 emails”, “delete all spam” and so on, so it’s all broken up.
After that, I just refer to my weekly planner when I’m doing the daily log for my bullet journal.
So it might seem like a long-winded process, but it actually really works. I don’t have to look at my big spreadsheet every day, so having my other planners make it a lot more manageable. Plus, I’ve been getting a lot more done!
My client work at the moment takes place in the evenings and at weekends. I look at the deadlines I have and then plan accordingly using the system we just talked about.
But now I’ve made the decision to take on more clients, I’ve had to adjust my schedule, which I’ll talk about more shortly.
If you’re curious to find out what my client work involves, you can view my services here.
I’m really loving all the content I’m creating at the moment. Plus I’ve got some really exciting ideas for paid products too!
And now I’ve started my lifestyle blog, I feel even more inspired.
The main reason I changed to this new system in the first place was because I felt like all the blog work I was doing was purely blog posts.
Switching to this method has allowed me to do more for my blog - but I still feel like my free time is just spent blogging. This is the thing I wanted to change.
So, to go with the saying ‘you’ve got to take one step back to move two steps forward’, I’ve decided to cut my blog content down on ABOH to:
- One blog post per week
- One free download for you every week
- One newsletter every week
It was a tough decision, but I’m feeling confident. Since I cut my schedule down to three posts per week my traffic has really increased, so I’m hoping you guys will stick with me!
The first thing I do when I get home (after feeding the animals) is do a workout. This is such a huge and important part of my life and works wonders for my body and mind.
Then I’ll do jobs and have tea, and after that it’s back to work - for this I just refer to my daily to-do list.
I try and have a cut off point of 9pm during the week, which hasn’t been possible lately. But I think this will change now I’ve readjusted my schedule again. Then it’s time to wind down.
A FINAL NOTE
I’m so happy with this new routine and I think it’s going to feel even better once I realign my schedule. I just want to be able to get all my work done and live a fulfilling life, without feeling pressured, stressed or worn out.
If that’s at all possible 😉
What does your daily routine look like? Do you make time for yourself in your routine right now?