To be a successful entrepreneur, I need a solid daily routine that will enable me to maximize productivity and do my best work. All of my work stems from very solid habits that I’ve built for myself. They help me stay focused on developing my businesses and staying motivated. Not everyone is productive in the morning. Believe me, I never thought I was a morning person. When I started to implement better habits starting the night before, the rest of my day fell into place. If you are looking to build better habits and maximize your productivity, these are the habits I do on a daily basis to maximize productivity and build two online businesses at the same time.
Wake up at 4am everyday
This habit was developed by pure accident. When I lived in Holland, I would go to bed at 3am and wake up at 11am every day. When I returned to the United States, the time change was surprisingly easy for my body. The Netherlands is 8 hours ahead of Denver, CO. Instead of getting tired at 3am, I would get tired at 8pm and wake up 8 hours later at 4am.
There are a ton of entrepreneurs that vouch for waking up early as a way to maximize productivity. They are totally right. When I wake up at 4am, the day feels longer. I can wake up slowly, make a hot tea, and prepare for my next task at 8am. When I start my day early, my day feels fuller. I am able to accomplish so much more when I wake up at 4am. My morning is quiet, peaceful and relatively undisturbed. Most people are still asleep. At 4am, I get the peace of mind and quiet time that I need in order to accomplish the most pressing tasks of the day.
I Drink Green Tea Every Morning
For years, I started my day with a Matcha green tea. Some days it’s a latte, other days it’s plain ol’ tea with no sugar. Either way, matcha green tea increases my focus and wakes me up in a much gentler way than coffee. Green tea is about a 6 on the scale of caffeinated drinks, while coffee is at an 8 or 9. Coffee is much too strong for me when I’m first waking up.
For maximum productivity, I prefer a gentle tea that encourages my body to wake up slowly and gradually. With a matcha in my hand, I take the time to post on my social media accounts, check emails and respond to facebook messages from the night before. Green tea gives me the laser focus I need to do small but mundane tasks that I would have no patience to do as the day progresses. If you're interested in my favorite matcha, this is where I buy my matcha.
I Eat 3-5 Hours After I Wake Up
I almost never eat breakfast in the first few hours of waking up. I find that eating breakfast straight away causes me to be groggy and unfocused. I prefer to drink a green tea, wait a few hours and when my body really needs food, then I indulge. The point of needing food is usually 3-5 hours after I wake up.
In the morning, it’s extremely important for me to be alert and in a place of fasting. I choose to eat 3-5 hours after waking up to assist my body in the intermittent fasting process. For those that don’t know, intermittent fasting is the absence of consuming calorie dense foods for 14-16 hours a day reducing the window of eating to 8 hours a day. Most people who are fasting choose to stop eating sometime in the evening and pickup on eating in the morning or early afternoon.
Intermittent fasting has allowed my body to heal itself, detox and focus its energy on helping me work more efficiently. If I ate first thing in the morning, my body would spend its energy digesting my food instead of helping me think through my emails, creating instagram posts or responding to messages left by friends and clients. I need my brain to be clear and refreshed in the morning. Intermittent fasting and waiting to eat until later in the day allows me to do just that.
I Workout Before Breakfast
After I drink my green tea and accomplish my morning tasks, I usually workout right before breakfast. I like to work up a hunger before I eat. I want my body to really be hungry so I can avoid eating out of boredom and habit. It’s a way to discipline my body to only request food when it truly needs it.
To get the energy going, I like to do one of a few daily exercises. I either run a 5K for 30 minutes around a park or in my neighborhood. Other times I do my 50-40-30-20-10 workout routine at home. This involves me doing 50 jumping jacks, 40 fire hydrants, 30 crunches (with variations), 20 squats and 10 pushups. I do 3-5 reps on the floor in my living room for 20 minutes and call it a day. Lastly, I enjoy dancing. Some days, I want to grab my hula hoop, pop in my headphones and just go. Other days, I skip the hoop and just bust a move. All three of these exercises work to keep my body toned, healthy, and vibrant. None of these exercises require me to drive anywhere or pay expensive gym memberships which I’m vehemently against.
I don’t like gyms at all. I don’t enjoy the idea of being in a confined space running on a treadmill like a mouse while others are sweating, coughing and farting in my clean oxygen supply. I much prefer open air or private workout spaces. Thus, nature and my living room are the perfect places for me to get a workout in.
I Work for 4-8 Hours A Day
After I drink my tea, do my workout and eat breakfast, I tend to pack my things and go to a quiet place in my house or a coffee shop and crank out 4-8 hours of work a day. I usually work 6 days a week. I can’t help it! Every day offers a new task that needs to be accomplished. I wear several hats and do different jobs at the same time. Therefore, it’s really important for me to organize my schedule to reflect which days I’m working and on what tasks.
For instance, I teach freelance English lessons 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So I spent 4-8 hours preparing lessons, interfacing with students, and posting on my social media pages to gain more clients. I also run a vegan food blog that I must create content for. 7 days a week, I am curating content that is valuable to my followers and encouraging them to buy merchandise and services from my website. Then, on Thursdays, I do bookkeeping for a small business based out of Florida. I work remotely for 1-2 hours with the director of the organization. After my bookkeeping session, I jump back to my Afro Feminista Vegan work and write blog posts, keep up on my membership program and create Instagram posts. With all of these jobs combined, I am easily working 6 days a week with maybe a Tuesday or Sunday off.
I Eat a Nutrient Dense Lunch High In Fat
Once I’ve hit the middle of the day, I have been working for hours and am in need of a boost. I usually make a meal at home or bring it to where I’m working for the day. My meals are always 100% vegan and usually high in fat. Why vegan? Vegan food is extremely high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Foods like bananas, beans, rice, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers and so on give me lasting energy versus hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and processed foods. I noticed that when I eat foods that are processed, full of simple sugars, and breads, I feel groggy and in need of a nap. To maximize my productivity, I need to eat foods that give me a boost when I hit my mid-afternoon lag. Healthy, plant-based foods give me the energy I need to continue to work throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
I particularly enjoy eating plant-based foods that are full of healthy fats.
Fats are necessary for the brain to function and are a preferred source of energy for the brain to use. When I eat foods rich in avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, my brain really thrives. I do a lot of creative work when I create English lessons or write a blog post for Afro Feminista Vegan. When I’m hungry, I am incredibly uncreative. When I eat plant-based nutrient dense foods high in fat, my brain tends to work better than when I eat processed, carb-heavy and unhealthy foods. Food is the ultimate source of energy for the body. For maximum productivity, it’s best for me to feed my body foods that will enable it to perform during my working hours.
I Spend Quality Time With My Loved Ones Everyday
This part of my routine is key. Working is fun but if I’m neglecting relationships in my personal life, my work feels meaningless and unfulfilling. There’s a balance to be had between work and social life. I find that dedicating at least one hour a day to spending quality time with a loved one can refresh my spirit and allow me to be more productive in the long run.
I alternate spending quality time with my friends, family, professional acquaintances, and my dogs. Yes, I said it. My dogs are also a part of this equation. I enjoy working on a lesson for a student and having one of my dogs curl up next to me and lick my hand. It’s not distracting, it’s rejuvenating. At times, it’s a family member I spend time with. I’ll be working on a blog post and my mom will unexpectedly come home. I’ll put a bookmark in whatever I’m doing and spend the next 15-20 minutes talking about how our days went. Every now and again, I’ll organize time on the weekend to spend some one-on-one time with a friend that I have been meaning to connect with. All of these groups of humans and animals need my attention and when I give into those relationships, I find myself feeling fulfilled and refreshed afterward.
I Do Yoga Before Bed
I try to make it a mission to do yoga every evening. After a long day of working, I enjoy turning the lights low, making a cup of chamomile tea and doing some restorative yoga. I prefer the lights off so I can really focus inward and find the spots in my body that need the TLC. I usually lay out my yoga mat, take off my socks, and begin in child’s pose or mountain pose. I focus on my hips and back, the places most effected by my sitting posture when I am working. I enjoy doing neck rolls and releasing tension in my shoulders. The neck and shoulders are where I hold most of my stress. I allow them to release at the end of the night to give my body a chance to recover for the next day.
Yoga at the end of the day deepens my sleep and enhances my dreams. When I do yoga, I release tons of stored energy from the day that I may not have noticed. Stress hangs out in certain areas of my body and if I don’t release them at the end of the night, I carry them over into the next day. I am not at my most productive if I’m still carrying the weight of yesterday on my shoulder. I allow my body to relax and my dreams to carry all of my worries out of my consciousness. This is the ultimate end of the day detox and self-care regimen for me. One that I do not like to miss.
I Eat a Protein-Rich Dinner with Turmeric and Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods
After yoga, all of my energy centers are awakened. My hips are open, my third eye is engaged and a ton of energy is flowing throughout my body. It’s the perfect time to fill my body up with protein-rich anti-inflammatory foods. After a workout, the body needs protein to repair muscles that were damaged in the workout process. The body really enjoys repairing itself at night when you’re sleeping and fasting. I take the opportunity to give my body the tools it needs to repair itself by filling it up with protein-rich foods. These foods also keep me full throughout the night so I’m not hungry when I go to bed. I hate that! There’s nothing like feeling hungry in the middle of the night and going to the kitchen for a late night snack and messing up your intermittent fasting routine. So I like to prevent hunger from happening by eating protein-rich foods like rice, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables amongst other things.
I also enjoy eating turmeric rich foods at the end of the night because it’s anti-inflammatory and can help heal parts of my body that became inflamed throughout the day. Dishes like a simple vegetable curry are very healing for my body. I like to do a chickpea curry at night over a bed of brown rice. I get the protein and the turmeric all in one go! When I eat turmeric and other anti-inflammatory foods before bed, I wake up less puffy with no bags under my eyes or other signs of inflammation. It helps me wake up feeling refreshed and looking beautiful.
I Go to Bed at 8pm
This isn’t always perfect but I try my best to get to bed around 8pm. Some nights, I’m restlessly tossing and turning. I sometimes think about the things left undone and what I need to do tomorrow. My goal is to let all of those things rest as soon as I hit the bed. When I go to bed at 8pm, it allows me to wake up at 4am with relative ease. My body is firm about getting 8 hours of sleep a night. When I go to bed later, my body wants to wake up later. If I have important things to accomplish the next day, I need my body to have the rest it needs to do the work. In order to wake up at 4am and be my most productive, I need to go to bed at 8pm.
If I’m feeling restless at night, I like to put on a Wayne Dryer motivational video that lasts a few hours so I can lull my brain into a meditation. Meditations always help me sleep. Paired with positive affirmations, I tend to wake up the next day feeling motivated and refreshed. If that doesn’t work, I like to put on a Youtube video of vocabulary from a language I’m learning. I put on videos about Russian grammar and vocabulary when the Wayne Dryer videos don’t do it for me. The grammar videos are just soothing enough to lull me to sleep but engaging enough for my brain to be working while I sleep. Now that’s a win-win situation. Either way, getting to bed and laying down by 8pm is extremely important for the other parts of my day to remain stable and productive.
I hope my daily routine for maximum productivity helped you on your journey. Which of these steps do you want to incorporate into your routine? Leave a comment below!
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