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How I Manage My Day

My daily routine

Ever wondered how other people fit it all in? I thought I’d share my daily routine to show you how I do it.

It’s a Friday.

The morning

Wake up at 5.30am when the toddlers wake up. I check my email before getting out of bed on my smartphone. I am well aware that I shouldn’t do this and that I am bordering on obsessive. This is one of the downsides of virtual working. I am always on. Plus I work with a lot of people in the U.S. so there is nearly always something that came in while I was asleep.

7-8.30am. Breakfast, getting everyone up and ready for the day. I’m working from home and go against popular opinion about ‘dressing for virtual work’ in that I wear whatever is comfortable. That’s usually sweat pants or jeans and a T-shirt and jumper.

8.30am. Switch on computer (which involves walking out of the house to my little office in the garden) and (walk back into house) to make a cup of tea. The computer takes a while to get going, a bit like me.

About 9am. Start work. By now I am already mentally ready for the day, having had a few hours since waking up to get my priorities straight. I know what meetings I have and what work should be done first.

As a copywriter I work for a variety of clients, and I fit in blogging and my own writing projects like my new book too. Today I’m using Divvy to check the upcoming editorial calendar of one client, see what work has been assigned to me and review my editor’s notes. We often discuss articles through this virtual work management system although we do have a monthly phone meeting as well. I upload my work when it’s done.

Deadlines on my projects change frequently for lots of reasons, including last minute requests from clients. And me forgetting that I was supposed to do something and having to fit it in urgently before anyone realises. That’s why I check email frequently throughout the day.

11am. Work on the weekly project report I prepare for one of the initiatives I am leading and send it out to the project stakeholders.

Lunchtime

12 noon. Come into the house for lunch. Normally we cook something quick or have sandwiches.

The afternoon

1pm. Back out to the garden office with more tea. Check emails. Prepare for a conference call.

1.30pm. I put my headphones on to join a Skype call. We join three people to the call and it’s great to be able to see them during the meeting (I have my camera off due to my ‘wear whatever I want’ approach, and no one has complained yet). We discuss an upcoming webinar that we are working on jointly, reviewing slides, registrations and the finer details for the event.

2.15pm. Virtual meetings take less time than meeting in person as there is less chat and more focus, in my opinion. The trouble with meetings is that they generate work, so I crack on again. That means more writing. On my most productive writing days I can write over 6,000 words. Some days it’s a lot (lot) less than that. I use my tried-and-tested templates for managing meetings so at least that makes the meetings easier.

I also spend a fair amount of time catching up on emails and social media. My job involves being up-to-date with social media and being active on a wide variety of channels so I use a number of tools like Buffer and Coschedule* to make staying on top of everything easier.

3.30pm. Phone calls. Although I work virtually I do speak to a lot of people during the day either on instant message or the phone or Skype. Virtual work doesn’t make me feel lonely!

I work virtually with clients but also my own team. I delegate work by email to my two colleagues and log it to follow up later.

The evening

Between 4.45pm and 5.15pm. I come in to get ready for the children’s evening routine. One of the benefits for me of working most of the time from home is that I can work flexibly and spend time with my family. We play, do dinner, bath and bed. If I’m in London or working at another office location during the day I’m normally out of the house from 6am to 6.15pm so I do make it home for story time and goodnight, and I’ll eat when they’re in bed. If I’m home we all eat together.

7.30pm. The boys are in bed and asleep. I do low brain power work in the evenings, like reading articles in my news feed on Feedly and scheduling them to share with my social networks, responding to forum posts, easy emails and preparing graphics to go with articles. I also work out what tomorrow’s priorities should be and write a big note to remind me of the times of meetings and key deadlines which I leave on the kitchen counter.

8.30pm. I try not to work past 8.30pm but I will always check my emails, social channels and Google Analytics before I turn the light off and go to sleep, which is between 9.30pm and 10pm. People in the office think that’s stupidly early but I know I’ll be up with the boys at least once in the night and then up for good before sunrise. If I don’t go to bed early and get enough sleep I can’t function effectively during the day.

Having read this back I think I have underestimated the amount of tea I drink in a day.

Does that sound like your routine? Or nothing like what you do in a day? Let me know in the comments below.

*That’s an affiliate link, in case you want to sign up for Coschedule. If you blog, you should. It’s fantastic!

Learn how I manage to fit everything in during a day! There might be some tips here to help you

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.

Comments

  1. Anis Malouche says

    29 October, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I like very much the fact that you keep your deliverables that need focus for the morning and your meetings for the afternoon. We’re much less efficient after lunch :-).
    I’ll try to implement this habit in my agenda.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Anis

    • Elizabeth Harrin says

      29 October, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      I’m definitely much less efficient in the afternoons, but at least I know that and can plan for it! I tend to get a second wind about 3.30pm as a final push to get me through until the end of the working day!

  2. Lucy says

    13 October, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Elizabeth! If you swap the children for a dog (and the tea for coffee), this sounds a lot like my routine, although I WFH maybe once a week just to tackle all the stuff that builds up over days of meetings. I try not to check emails first thing in the morning when I wake but I end up doing it anyway like you – I don’t like surprises and it’s a good way to prepare for the day ahead, and like you said, prioritise.

    I switch off my laptop and mobile at the weekend though!

    • Elizabeth Harrin says

      14 October, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Good for you, Lucy! I wish I had that discipline. I think it’s because I juggle two jobs and a family that means I am always so busy, but I really try hard not to work at the weekends as I need to recharge for the coming week.

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