- in Productivity
There is no doubt. There is immense power in routine and habit. Once you get a pattern locked in, it just sort of keeps on going on automatic pilot. And if you are reading this sentence, you likely have a read a few (or a lot!) of books about self-improvement, achieving your goals, etc.
I wrote recently about focusing on frequency of effort and action over marathon sessions. The aim is to just keep tap, tap, tapping towards your goals, gently, regularly, unfailingly. I believe you are much more likely to achieve something through this steady application rather than through occasional mega sessions that burn you out and actually make you less likely to form long-term habits. If you haven’t already read that post, go ahead. I’ll wait. I don’t mind at all ;).
However, in addition to the frequency of habit post, there is another area where people fail when they go to implement the often great advice found in self-improvement books. They are totally unrealistic about what can be accomplished in the short-term, and they try to conquer the world all in one giant rush.
The Half Day Routine
Beyond simply focusing on routine and forming habits, we need to be realistic about how we structure our daily schedule over time. Here’s one approach that I often use. I call it the half-day routine, though it is probably more like at two-thirds day approach in reality. The basic idea is to work with great focus for a half or two-thirds of the day, and then just do whatever you want for the rest of the day. Now, I admit that this routine may be hard if you are working a full-time job while also developing a side hustle or striving to reach pure financial independence through investing.
But regardless of your situation, the notion remains valid. Be realistic about what you can do each day such that you don’t burn out. Work with great concentration and focus for a half or two-thirds of the day, and then do whatever you want with your free time in the afternoons and evenings. I often maintain this pace six or seven days a week. I love this pacing because you tend to be much more productive if you aren’t trying to work all the time. In addition, I love reading, writing, investing, learning tech, building websites–the whole game. So it hardly feels like work to me, including on the weekends.
A related concept that I picked up from Mel Robbins in one of her books (I think it was The 5 Second Rule) is to have a specific time you quit work each day. I find this mentally relaxing; otherwise, as an entrepreneur you feel like you should always be working. To be clear, after my designated quit working time (2 pm on weekdays, around noon or 1 pm on weekends), I often keep working. But that extra work it is all gravy.
Focus Like A Laser, Then Enjoy Your Free Time!
So that’s my half-day routine. I start anywhere from 7 am to 9 am, and I work until around 2 pm. Yes, I often keep working longer, but I don’t have to. I should also add that I’m not at all militant about this. After about 10 or 11 am, if I bump into a friend while working at Starbucks, and we want to chat for an hour or two, I let that happen. Another bonus of this approach is that you don’t let your goals and ambitions totally crowd out simply enjoying life from day-to-day. Especially for a certain type of person, you might barrel towards your goals for years while mentally excluding enjoying the present moment. This helps guard against such extremism.
So what about you? Is there any part of your life where this might apply? Are you overdoing it in the short-term and then falling away from your routine? I’d love to get reactions from this post as I’m guessing it flies in the face of how most entrepreneurs think about work.