It’s 3PM and the only things you’ve gotten done are watching YouTube and Netflix.

But maybe in that time you were watching 8 hours of tutorials, eating breakfast and lunch, and maybe even working out.

Time still flew by and you didn’t get any real work done.

It’s ok to learn, but did you actually create anything in that time? Did you take photos? Did you design that graphic? Did you write that article? Did you call that client? Did you launch that campaign?

Did you accomplish any real tasks?

It’s hard to build a routine and stay productive when it’s easy to get distracted.

There is content all around that is ready to distract us.

  • Blog posts
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • TV Shows
  • Movies

Those are the obvious ones.

If you’re working in a business or on your own, it can be even more difficult to decipher.

Maybe you’re a graphic designer but instead of designing you are:

  • Doing reports
  • Emails
  • Accounting
  • Organizing

And these are all necessary things that make you feel productive, but they’re not pushing you further towards your goals.

I’ve spent years reading about productivity tips, routines, and different methods to dial it in to get that extra 1% improvement.

What I’ve found is creating discipline in your life will improve productivity automatically as a result of a routine.

Here’s what I mean:

  • You need to get tasks X, Y, and Z done before lunch tomorrow.
  • You decide to wake up at 6:30 as opposed to 8:30.
  • You end up waking up at 9.
  • You browse through social media, emails, and your favorite blogs for 1.5 hours.
  • It’s now 10:30.
  • You go and workout at 11.
  • It’s noon and you didn’t even touch X, Y, and Z yet.

It’s easy for this to happen without even noticing. And then you end up kicking yourself at 10 PM when you realized if you just did everything earlier you would be able to focus on other things at night or even sleep earlier.

I know this because this is what happened to me. It’s an endless cycle that if you don’t nip in the bud, you’ll never get to where you want to be.

It’s easy to write a routine of what you want to do and to study what others are doing.

What you’re not understanding is those people had to develop the discipline to build the proper habits to make them productive.

The only way to build discipline is to force yourself and just do it.

Here is what the disciplined day looks like:

  • You need to get tasks X, Y, and Z done before lunch tomorrow.
  • You decided to wake up at 6:30 as opposed to 8:30.
  • You actually wake up at 6:30.
  • You don’t check email or social media.
  • You pray and meditate for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • You read for 30 minutes from a book.
  • You write in a journal for 5-10 minutes.
  • You do some stretching while you wait for your morning tea or coffee. (also a protein shake if you’re me).
  • It’s now been less than an hour and your mind is free to take on your tasks.
  • You can go workout and still be back to tackle your tasks OR you can do your tasks first and then go workout afterward.
  • You do X, Y, and Z.
  • It’s 10:30 AM.

You’ve accomplished everything you needed to do for the day and everything else afterward is a BONUS.

Productivity Routine

You moved the needle in what you needed to do so you can do other things that help you to grow, such as more reading, watching tutorials, and just more creative work.

For me, that might mean I spend 5 or 6 hours just on photography/videography later in the day.

When you start forcing yourself to have a routine, you build the discipline to stick with it.

What happens is it translates to the rest of your productivity by making you disciplined in every other aspect of your life.

One extra tidbit: dressing the part makes you more focused. So when you wake up, don’t just do everything in your pajamas.

Put on that comfy hoodie that you use when you’re busy editing. Or put on that suit that makes you feel more confident when you’re making phone calls.

Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Style is not about what others are doing, it’s what makes you feel comfortable.

In these shots, I’m wearing a blazer by Bonobos that’s extremely comfy and lightweight. It makes me feel confident and it’s effortless. I can throw it on over anything and get to work.

Conclusion

When trying to be productive, understand that “doing” is the only thing that matters. Maybe you want to design your routine so that you do your best work at night instead of the morning.

Or maybe you’re trying to change things up and get everything done before the sun rises.

Either way, it’s all about disciplining yourself and making the right changes in your life.

What is your dream routine like?

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