As a freelancer that works remotely, I need a routine that gets me sitting at my desk first thing in the morning doing productive instead of “busy” work. Here are some things I do:
- Break down my to-do list into achievable bite sized chunks. There is nothing on my list that is going to take more than an hour.
- Put it on paper, not on my PC, that way it is more tangible and more visible.
- Either pin it to the wall or put it on the magnetic whiteboard at my desk. I need to be able to see it so it will nag me if I have not crossed anything off.
- Set myself some regular work hours to suits my body clock and stick to them. I get a little tired after lunch, so I can tackle some less demanding tasks at that time.
- Review my to-do list when I sit down in the morning and when I finish in the afternoon. In the afternoon, I add new tasks and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing some off.
My to-do list helps me to take pleasure in achievement. It is all about marking progress, victories and successes. Sometimes life is like climbing a mountain, some bits can get pretty steep too. What you have to do every now and then is stop looking at the rock face and turnaround to look at the view and see just how far you have come.
My to-do list and routine also gets me feeling guilty if I’m slacking off. The careful management of guilt can be a way to achieve great things. In a very mild form, guilt can get me out of bed in the morning and at my desk before 8am. The trick is not to suffer guilt but to learn to assuage guilt through activity. It is a trick that I learnt from a very successful friend of mine. If you can learn to take pleasure in achievement and pride in your work, this mild form of guilt becomes your driving force rather than a source of anguish.
Getting into a pattern of achieving what I set out to do in a day and taking pleasure in my accomplishments, helps me sleep much better at night and enjoy my free time more.