As a work-from-home entrepreneur, I am in charge of my own schedule. I don’t have a boss checking up on me, I don’t have colleagues looking over my shoulder, and I don’t have to answer to anyone about how I use my time. And, over the years, this has been both a blessing and a curse.
Space to daydream is also space to sleep in.
Freedom to set your own hours is also freedom to work no hours at all.
However, of all the filthy habits that I have developed in this authority vacuum they call ‘working from home’, the one I am most ashamed of is my trash YouTube habit. There, I said it.
‘90 Day Fiance’
‘Married at First Sight’
‘Love After Lock Up’
For my sins, all my YouTube ‘guilty pleasures’ are lowbrow, voyeuristic, trash TV, created more to help me zone out than to lean in.
But things came to a head a couple of weeks ago. Several big deals were on the horizon for my company: the launch of our new flagship programme, our first live event, and a client celebration in London.
And zoning out on YouTube clips was totally out of sync with the identity I was stepping into.
And so, in search of different results, I decided to do things differently, very differently.
My new routine looked like this:
- Wake up at 5am to pray, write in my gratitude journal and work out
- Spend less time on email, social media and YouTube
- Be more productive and present throughout the day
- Go to bed by 10pm
My new morning routine changed the entire rhythm of my day: I literally felt like I had won the day before it had even begun.
I felt more alert, more mindful, more energised, than I had felt in months – and I didn’t even feel like sneaking back into bed after the school run! I was already up: primed for a day of purposeful action and mindful presence.
The Sound of Silence
Deleting YouTube and Facebook was a wrench, I am not going to lie and, during the week, there were times I regretted not being able to upload content to Facebook with ease. But the benefits far outweighed the inconvenience: I no longer picked up my phone every other minute, just to see what was ‘going on’. My phone sat by my side, still and silent, while I got on with creating new content and working on my business.
I also stayed away from my email inbox except for one hour at the end of the day, when I would respond to important messages, add to my to-do list and delegate, delegate, delegate.
Early to Bed
Rather than working into the late hours, or binge-watching Netflix or scrolling Instagram, I put myself to bed by 10pm, with a hot mint tea and my new copy of ‘Rocket Fuel’. I limited myself to reading one chapter before turning out the lights and turning on the Headspace app.
That flat, nasal British voice worked like a charm. The guided meditation slowed my racing thoughts, cleared my cluttered mind and allowed me to let go of whatever stimulation I was still holding on to. I was able to drift, quite literally, off to sleep.
Each and every night.
A Week of Wonders
My week of stillness was interrupted by the half term and a trip to London but, while I was away, I was able to reflect on what was a pretty amazing week.
Aside from being one of the most productive weeks I have had in a long time, in which I accomplished a number of goals that had been haunting my Passion Planner for months, deleting YouTube and committing to a new rhythm had other benefits.
Throughout the day, I was more at peace, in flow. I experienced a stillness, a quietness that I didn’t feel needed to be drowned out by the sound of other people’s drama or the latest post on Facebook.
As I wasn’t constantly reaching for my phone to check on other people’s content, I was able to focus more on creating my own and actually working on my business. You could say that I was in creation mode, rather than consumption mode.
Another pleasant side effect was that I spent more time listening to my children and connecting with them.
I was aware of being in tune and in flow.
I felt like an addict who was finally clean.
As I said, the half term knocked me off-course but, as the children prepare to go back to school, I am eager to go back to my more peaceful, more productive routine again.
And the YouTube phone app? Well, I don’t think I’ll be re-installing it any time soon. After all, 2020 is just around the corner and we all have big moves to make.
Apps that I found useful (ironically enough!)
Headspace – for meditation
Streaks – to keep a track of my daily habits
Seven – a 7 minute exercise app
‘Rocket Fuel’ by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters