Let’s face it, the minute you wake up, blink, brush your teeth and look at the clock, it may feel like you already lost hours on the day. Fast-forward to when you finally get around to calls, emails, and the pile of work waiting on your desk, feeling productive may feel more like a far-off dream than a tangible goal for the week ahead. Alas, there are ways to reclaim your sense of control. The following life hacks will not only help you smash your deadlines but also get you ready for some R&R with your favorite bottle of red.
1) Plan only to do 5 hours of “zone work” each workday.
Expect interruptions. So much so that out of an 8-hour work day, expect to only have about 5 hours of meaningful work time. The other 3 hours will likely go to meetings, coffee breaks, and that 20-minute phone call with your bestie who’s still recovering from a break-up and needs to update you on their latest wild getaway trip idea. So skip the multi-tasking and focus on one thing at a time within "zone" hours. You’ll feel more accomplished at the end of the day if you do.
2) Identify the “Must-Dos”.
What do you absolutely, and I mean absolutely, need to get done during the day? Be honest with yourself. You’ll likely have a much easier time and harbor less guilt if you get a few things off your plate that can get done later. Have up to 3 things that you know you’re capable of completing and do them. Knocking them off your must-do list will motivate you for the next day to rinse and repeat!
3) Manage your energy.
Again, doing what you can with what you have will yield better results for your week than stretching yourself too thin, taking on too much, and wishing you had more hours in a day. Staying positive is good for the body as much as healthy eating and exercise. What times are you most productive? If you’re most productive at 7am-11am get the hardest stuff done then. If you lose steam around 3 PM take a 30-min power nap somewhere and come back later to tackle the last productive hour of your day. Remember, it’s harder to perform at your best when you feel like crap or holding a negative and “debbie-downer” attitude.
4) Check your phone battery usage.
Every hump day I like to do the midweek time check. How? With my handy iPhone of course. Not sure if this applies to android but midweek I usually toggle through my iPhone to see where I’m killing the most hours. You can do the same by following these steps:
Navigate to the settings tab on your device
Go to “battery”
Let your “batter percentage” screen load
Look at the percentage of use for each app on the list
Press the clock icon in the right corner for the actual time stamps
I ran a check today and was surprised that I literally spent 2 hours today on Instagram! Yikes… No more Instagram for the rest of this week for me (who am I kidding, it's usually higher than this). If you’ve budgeted time for social media activity that’s outside of the scope of your work, totally fine. Just make sure you stay within that budget and reserve the rest of your social time for the things, and people who nourish your spirit.
5) Read at least 6 hours a week.
Audio books totally count! The richest people in the world share many habits, but the most celebrated of them all is their commitment to lifelong learning and voracious reading. Make sure that you’re exercising your mind as much as your body. Escape from the monotony of day-to-day tasks by jumping into a good book. By reading, you get to escape to far-off places that inspire you and create room to dream. When you return to the present (I’m a non-fiction addict btw) you’ll have new frames of thought to lean on and perhaps a new lens on how to tackle a pressing issue.
6) Commitment block your weekend.
The mundane stuff and administrative necessities such as paying bills or certain chores that can’t be outsourced should be reserved for no more than about 2-hours on the weekend. This could mean taking some time to work on a short blog post or queue up some fun twitter messages for the following week. Whatever your tasks, commit them to a block of time every week and don’t lose or compromise that time unless it’s super important. This way, you don't feel like you're losing free time with "other" work outside of your day-to-day.
7) End your week on a high note.
Most importantly, go easy on yourself. Hey, life happens and as much as we plan, we can’t plan for everything. Let's always celebrate what we managed to get to and not beat ourselves up when we fall short. At least we're trying. Every passing week is an opportunity to keep at it. Over time, you'll get wiser and more intentional with where your hours go. Whether a glass of wine, tickets to a game, or binge watching GOT, end your week on a high note. You will always deserve it.
On to the wine…
And a note on Minervois --
Yasss! Chateau Sainte Eulalie. More please. This beauty was wonderfully juicy and smooth. I served it slightly chilled for ladies night last weekend. The chateau is located in Minervois, a region in the Languedoc area in the south of France. This red blended wine includes Grenache + Syrah + Carignan – typical grapes that can be found in the area. Loads of black fruit flavor such as black cherry, black plums, with a touch of pepper and violet flowers on the finish.
Get it here, or similar here.