busy business womanHave you ever had those days were you leave the office feeling like you have gotten absolutely nothing done? You worked through lunch, randomly checking email and chasing your to-do list with no real sense of accomplishment in your day.

We have all had them but there comes a time when you need to take a more proactive approach to becoming your most productive self.

While I’m very structured in my work today, that wasn’t always the case!  It took a good year of working from my home office to understand the structure and discipline that it requires. I learned that it was up to me to create my ideal day.

Create a vision of your perfect day and week

The first step in becoming your most productive self is to create a vision of your perfect day and week.  Take some time to journal about what your perfect day would look like. For me, I would wake up early so that I have time to catch up on news and reading before the rest of the family wakes up. Three days a week I would run before heading to the office.  Once the girls head off to school, I would head to my office. I would take time for lunch around 12:30. I would work until 3, when my oldest gets home.

Wednesdays are my business development days. My morning routine is basically the same but I keep client appointments off my calendar, though I rarely work on client projects these days.

Fridays are ME days. I head to the gym first thing to keep myself from getting pulled into the office. The rest of the day is either personal appointments or overflow.

Map It Out

Begin by defining your working hours. Because of my family commitments, I don’t generally schedule anything after school Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. This doesn’t mean I won’t work those hours. I will address those times on an as needed basis.  Next, you want to add in any commitments you have with yourself or others. The remaining time on your calendar will be for client work and business development.

Download this planning worksheet to Map Out Your Week

Create Rituals to Support Your Vision:

At first glance my days may seem rather routine but, for those who know me, there is nothing routine about my life.  I create rituals to support my vision. I like to start the day with a cup of coffee, quietly reading. Some days it may be a book but most days I catch up on blogs and news.  I run on specific days and head to the gym every Friday. In the evening I like to take a few minutes to journal.  I try to stay flexible but consistent and find that when I stick to such rituals, I feel most focused and therefore most productive!

Contributed by Christine Morris. Visit her website