July 3, 2020

How I structure my day during the covid pandemic and what you can learn from me

Everybody is talking about the new ‘normal’. Things are not going to be the same once the covid crisis is over. Nor are things are going to be the same.

Think about it this way. Are you going to go to the casino knowing that there could potentially be dozens or more people touching slot machines, chips, cards and other items? Will you really sit at the local mom and pop restaurant, sandwiched in between several tables because there is no room otherwise?

But that does not mean that the new ‘normal’ is a bad thing. Many businesses were started in the recession of 2008 which has completely changed how we live today. I’m talking about companies such as Uber and Slack and there are many more examples I’m sure.

The point of this is to say that this is a fantastic time to re-think your routines. How do you want your day to look like? What would you do if your day was perfect? These are no longer dreams, but ones that you can do right now. I would note here that I do not have a full time job having been laid off around the same time the covid crisis started becoming ‘real’, but do think about some of the principles behind how I laid out my routine.

Wake up and consume 30 g of protein

One of the first things that I like to do upon waking up is eat breakfast. I have protein shakes from Costco and I down that as one of the first things I eat. Following Tim Ferriss’ protocol, I consume 30 g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. I then eat a light breakfast.

Write

I will pour myself some tea (I vary from green tea, to milk tea, to black tea, and then sometimes to just turmeric and hot water) and then sit down to write. What I write can vary depending on my mood: I will usually journal and write down my thoughts, goals and dreams. Other times, I will open up my laptop and write a blog post for the day (you are seeing one now that I started in the morning). I have another book that I’m working on, so I will write that book. Finally, I have another writing project I am working on. Having a mix of different projects I could work on is refreshing because it means that I’m not working on a single project. If I get bored, I can switch to another project I am working on. This means that I do not complete a project as quickly as if I worked only on that project, but I find that I procrastinate less because I feel that I have many projects to complete.

Yoga or exercise

If I am traveling, I like to work out in the morning before work. Logistically, it is easier because I do not have to take a long break to go to the gym, change into my workout clothes, work out, shower, etc. Since I have been quarantining myself at home, I like to do yoga or exercise (or both) just before lunch. I like that it breaks up my day into two. I like that I do it just before lunch so that lunch feels like a reward for completing a work out. And exercising before lunch helps to give me an extra boost of energy for the afternoon.

After lunch, read and brainstorm

In the mornings, and this is likely true for most people, our energy and motivation is high. Daniel Pink calls this our vigilance in his book When. The mornings are fantastic for writing, working on difficult problems, and other challenging tasks. The afternoons are great for brainstorming, generating ideas or meetings. I can certainly feel my energy dipping in the afternoons, so I do not fight it. Instead, I like to use the time to brainstorm ideas for chapters of my book. Or think of different blog posts I can work on. Or just read and consume ideas from the numerous books in my library.

Evenings for relaxing

That takes me to dinner, which is typically early in the evening. After dinner, I continue to read, but it is usually the time to spend with my partner and to prepare for the next day. I’m not big on to do apps, but if I do think of something I need to do, I will write down the tasks in my to do app so that I can free up my brain for ideas.

Bed time

A couple hours before bed time, I make sure I am conscious of how much blue screen I am using. This is a great time for me to use my Kindle or to get in a bit more reading in the books that I am reading.


How can you incorporate some of these activities into your routine?

  • Understand your energy levels throughout the day. Save the hard tasks for when you have the highest energy levels (typically a few hours after waking up). Use afternoons for when you need to brainstorm ideas or do administrative tasks.
  • Be conscious of your blue screen time, especially before bed.
  • I find that I am more productive when I have a schedule that I need to follow. For example, when I know I have a meeting in one hour, I know that I need to get as much done in that hour before the meeting. This is another benefit of having an exercise session in the middle of the day.
  • Boost your energy levels with exercise or yoga when you feel your energy levels are getting low

Speaking of routines and habits, I recently self published my sixth book Essential Habits to Amazon. In it, I share my favourite nuggets from hundreds of books, online courses and my decade long work experience. The book is structured based on Benjamin Franklin’s quote “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”, and has three sections: improving your health, becoming wealthy, and being smarter. I hope you will take a look.

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