I used to say that the key to my success — such as it was — was being absolutely merciless with myself when it came to my morning routine. Getting up at dark o’clock and executing a well-timed, precision plan was how I got stuff done.
…and then I started working from home.
There’s no doubt in my mind that both of these plans are possible, feasible, and a great way to get through the day. Who knows? Maybe one is better than the other. All I know is, at some point along the way not having an office to get to makes it a lot harder to stay laser-focused.
But it does have its perks…especially with the additional snuggle time.
Intent: Wake up. Grab a pre-workout and 16 ounces of water. Review to-do list for the day (prepared yesterday), prioritizing first tasks.
Intent: Workout. 30-45 minutes of strength training with a metabolic finisher, or high-intensity burst training followed by static stretching.
Reality: First alarm. Check Facebook. Sleep.
Reality: Second alarm. Roll over. Snuggle with the most beautiful thing in the world.
Intent: Post-workout shake. Breakfast for kid. Jump into grooming routine (neti pot, shower, shave).
Reality: Get up. Grab workout clothes. Consider doing some cardio. Look outside. Snow…damn. Put on workout clothes and make coffee. Check Facebook and email. Check overnight web stats.
Intent: Write the most brilliant blog post ever. Double-check to-do list and prep resource list.
Reality: Start writing. Watch Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn with kid. We’ve seen this one like five times already. She has it memorized, and recites all the jokes. Second cup of coffee.
Intent: Get kid packed up for school. Throw together outside gear for shovelling session.
Reality: Get kid off couch. Spend 30 minutes shouting, ?come on, let?s move it!? through bathroom door.
Intent: Put kid on bus. Clear snow from driveway, sidewalks, and cars.
Reality: Still shouting at kid to get snow pants on. Bus is coming around the corner. Try to figure out how to shovel in gym shorts — maybe throw ski pants on? Jesus will you hurry up! The bus is here! Kid on bus…shut the door. Maybe another coffee.
Intent: Flawless Breakfast (2 eggs + 3 egg whites, avocado, salsa). Start to an insanely productive work day!
Reality: Probably should think about having something to eat. Eat something.
Intent: Check overnight web stats.
Reality: Fine…Shovel driveway.
Intent: Eat a perfectly balanced snack to fuel up for the second half of the morning.
Reality: Time for a break. Check website stats. Do some more writing. Comment on Facebook posts about wage hikes. Argue with friends on and off until noon. Think about that workout.
Intent: Batch read and reply to emails.
Reality: OK seriously…the treadmill is down a flight of stairs. Don?t be a jackass. Maybe work some more. Check web stats.
Intent: Lunch, consisting of perfectly portioned chicken breast on a salad of spring greens and spinach. Maybe go for a short walk.
Reality: Well…technically this is when I?m supposed to eat, so I should do that. Eat something.
Intent: Back to work.
Reality: Fine. Do a workout.
Reality: Think about taking a shower. Have to shovel again anyway…plus another workout later. Why get clean then sweaty again? Do some work. Check web stats.
Reality: Shovel some more.
Reality: Nap. 30 minutes, max.
Intent: Afternoon meditation break. Or maybe a walk.
Intent: Back to work! Slay the rest of the day and close out tasks.
Reality: Ah crap! Slept too long! Scramble to get something defrosted for dinner.
Intent: Batch and reply to emails.
Reality: Maybe do some tidying up. Check web stats.
Intent: Final check on web stats.
Reality: Kid is home. Start acting like a drill sergeant to get chores and homework done.
Intent: Finish up work day with to-do list and mind dump for tomorrow.
Reality: Frantically print out permission forms and must-have photos for kid’s project due tomorrow. Get kid in shower for whatever she’s doing tonight.
Intent: Make supper for awesome family.
Reality: Make supper for awesome family.
Intent: Eat supper with awesome family.
Reality: Eat supper with awesome family. Keep eyeballing the clock.
Intent: Take kid to kid’s thing.
Reality: Shouting, “come on, let’s move it!” through the bathroom door. Eventually take kid to kid’s thing. Arrive five minutes late.
Intent: Relaxing grown up time just hanging out with the most beautiful thing in the world, reading our respective books and enjoying some delightful conversation.
Reality: Trying to stuff that strength training into the time kid is at kid’s thing. Remember I haven’t had a shower yet. Ugh. Maybe in the morning?
Intent: Get kid from kid’s thing. Enjoy a smooth transition to bedtime.
Reality: Rush out the door. Realize kid is the last kid at kid’s thing. Burn rubber home. Field complaints about not bringing a snack. Dammit…I knew I forgot something. “It’s OK. You’ll probably live.”
Intent: Kid in bed. Hang out time with the most beautiful thing in the world, maybe with some evening TV. Enjoy a light snack of blueberries and Greek yogurt.
Reality: Shouting, “come on, let’s move it!” through the bathroom door. “Oh, Daddy…don’t forget I have to [bring money for field trip, wear a red shirt, finish my math homework, get you to sign my assessment that I left at school, etc.].” Ugh…we’ll deal with that in the morning.
Reality: Zone out in front of TV. Down a bag of Goldfish crackers. Remember a mission-critical email that was supposed to go out at 9:00…a.m. Grab phone and send out email.
Intent: Bedtime! Execute perfectly-timed bedtime routine, including teeth, skin care, and a little light stretching. A little light bedtime reading.
Reality: Meh…one more episode of Fixer Upper.
Intent: Fall asleep instantly, and stay that way until 5:00.
Reality: Rummage through leftover Halloween candy for a Wunderbar. Find Smarties instead. Briefly ponder whether it’s worth it to eat Smarties. Eat Smarties anyway. Drag ass to bathroom. Brush teeth. Pet cat. Forget to start dishwasher.
Reality: Still up and talking (because we didn’t have a chance to chill out earlier).
Reality: Go back downstairs to start dishwasher.
Reality: Fall asleep. Wake up randomly throughout the night (only once to pee).
Reality: Wake up. Check the weather for tomorrow. Crap…snow again
OK, as fun as all of that is, there is a lesson here. We can lay out our absolute best intentions to execute the perfect day every day, but expect the unexpected. While it’s important to stay focused and on-task, being completely “merciless” with yourself can be frustrating. Days with a family don’t ever go according to design, and the weather doesn’t really care about your workout schedule either.
Accept the fact that reality will do what it wants, regardless of your plans. It’s definitely important to have a structure and regimen to your day, especially if you work from home. But it’s just as important to remember that sidetracks and deviations will happen. It’s how you deal with those that determines your success.
Have you had your “ideal” plan disrupted enough to take you off course? How did you handle it? Did you just slip into a chaotic routine again (like I have!), or were you able to get back on track? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to share or pin this post so others can get in on the conversation!