Creating a routine that works for you

Last week I was invited to speak at a Sage Small Business Saturday session, along with Brendan Flattery, President of Sage Europe and Maria G del Pozuelo, CEO of Womenalia.com on how to create a routine that works for you.

Technology prevented me from actually speaking in the session (that’s a whole other story!) but here are some of the tips I shared:

1. Energy levels – know what energises you and what drains you, and organise your routine around that. It’s one thing knowing when you’re at your best compared to when you’re in zombie mode. What also affects your energy levels is what you do. If you are energised by being around people, then consider breaking up a day in front of a screen with some well-timed conversations. If it’s being in creative mode that energises you, make space in your routine to tap into your creativity and you may find that everything else flows smoother too.

2. Recovery & performance – Sustaining peak performance depends on taking recovery seriously. Recharging is not a luxury it is fuel for your productivity. Planning in how and when you recharge is just as vital as planning the work itself. The same goes for making space for the things that matter to you. Brendan and Maria both have family time they commit to before the work gets planned in, rather than waiting for ‘when they have time’.

3. Manage your availability and communicate it clearly – There are times when you need to have your brain to yourself so that when you are available you are fully available. Whether you are CEO of a large organisation where everyone wants a moment of your time, or Chief Everything Officer where there is nobody else to take that call, everybody benefits when you take the lead and set clear boundaries around your availability.

4. Margin – leave space in between fixed commitments. Don’t fill in all the gaps. Leave room for the unexpected, for breathing space, thinking and flexibility. Brendan shared that he comes up with his best ideas when he has time away from the office to think. I find that without margin, I am far less human than I’d like to be.

Finally, make it personal – I loved that Maria defies the stereotype of CEOs who do their most productive and successful work before 7am. Yes that may work for others, but she knows it doesn’t work for her, so she starts her day at 7am. When we are true to ourselves, we let our best selves show up.

Productivity is about giving yourself what you need to be at your best, because that’s when you do your best work.

Over to you. What tips, tricks or lessons learned would you add when it comes to creating a routine  that works for you?

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