We talk a lot about scheduling time for writing. But here are some other things to consider building into your schedule so you can save time and increase productivity:
Morning devotional or meditation.
All my life I have risen regularly at four o’clock and have gone into the woods and talked to God. There He gives me my orders for the day.—George Washington Carver
You don’t have to get up at four, but talk to God or meditate before you start your work day. Feed your brain with Scripture or other inspirational writings before you clutter it with workday minutiae. This will help you focus and stay centered on your goals and can improve your emotional and spiritual well-being.
Exercise. This is where most of us — including me — are most likely to make cuts, and we can least afford to do so. You’ll be of no use to your family or readers if your health fails because you’re not taking care of yourself. You’ll be more productive if you’re fit. Make working out part of your autopilot schedule.
Menu planning and grocery shopping. If you do this on the same day every week , you won’t waste time (and money) on restaurant meals or going to the store multiple times a week. This is another one to put on autopilot.
Winding down. Studies have shown that staring at bright glowing screens tricks our brains into thinking it’s still daylight. This disrupts circadian rhythms and can cause sleeplessness.
Allow at least a half-hour to unwind before bedtime, and during that time, do something that doesn’t involve a bright glowing screen. Kindle devices that don’t have a backlight are OK, as are paper books.
Sleep. It sounds silly, but allow enough time in your schedule to get enough sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours a night. Yet this is another area we tend to cut back on when we feel we need to accomplish more.
Margin. Go back and take a look at Michael Hyatt’s Ideal Day spreadsheet. Notice the gray hashed-out areas. That’s margin. We have to be as intentional with our leisure time as with our work time. If we fill every hour of every day with something, we leave no room for unexpected pleasures.
Dr. Richard Swenson, the author of Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, put it this way: “Margin is the space between our load and our limits. … Margin is the gap between rest and exhaustion, the space between breathing freely and suffocating.”
Don’t suffocate yourself with work.