When you work on your own, whether for yourself, job seeking or in a self-directed way at work, you are free to do things whenever you want. But a lack of structure can be overwhelming.
When I started freelancing, it took me a while to figure out how to find the routine where I was organised and productive. I’ve worked with clients who struggle with this challenge too.
Here's what I've learned from this experience: When you know your strengths and energy levels you can create a routine that enables you to get things done, in a way that works for you, so that you end the day feeling fulfilled.
Find out how in this month’s exercise 👇
Plan Your Routine Based On Strengths and Energy Levels
1. Download Worksheet
In this exercise you’ll use a number of worksheets. Download and either print them, or comment straight on the PDF document if you know how.
✍️ Download worksheet (PDF)
2. Identify Your Strengths And Drainers
Exploring your strengths and drainers is the first step in creating a routine to be more productive.
Your strengths - Activities you do often, enjoy and are good at. More importantly they energise you and put you in a flow state where you don't notice the time passing.
Your drainers - Activities you might be good at but you don't enjoy. They most likely lead to boredom and procrastination.
✍️ On The Worksheet
- Find the ‘List of strengths’ pages.
- Read through and highlight in two different colours the things that energise or drain you.
Note: this list of strengths has been created by Strengths Profile, an online assessment to identify your strengths. Visit strengthsprofile.com to learn more.
3. Assess Your Energy Levels
Throughout your day, we all have peaks and dips in our energy levels. You might already be aware of them, but in this step you’ll create a visual representation.
As you make your way through, think about a typical work day.
✍️ On The Worksheet
- Find the ‘Your energy levels’ page
- Colour the time slots when you are feeling super energised and ready to do anything.
- With a different colour, highlight when you are feeling low on energy and most likely to procrastinate.
- With a third colour, highlight the time slots in between when you have medium levels of energy.
If you're not sure of your energy levels, observe and track them for a couple of days to see the pattern. Over a day, you could set an hourly reminder to check in with your energy levels and note it down in the worksheet.
4. Create Your Daily Routine
Now is the time to match your strengths and drainers, with your energy levels.
🤔 Thinking about your next week
- List all work and personal activities (i.e. household chores, social events, exercising and family activities etc).
- Worksheet, “Your activities” page - Put your activities into either the strengths or drainers column.
- Using the lists in the 2 columns, head to the “Your energy levels” page and plot in when you will do each.
Keep In Mind
⚡️ When you have high energy do the things that drain you first. Then reward yourself with an energising activity. This is the 'eat the frog' strategy.
⚠️ Be aware of doing an energising activity when your energy levels are high. There's a risk you won’t want to put it down and it becomes a form of procrastination, as continuing with it will mean ignoring other important tasks.
🔋 When you have low or medium energy do an energising activity to recharge your batteries.
The Coach's Advice
Experiment and observe yourself, then adapt until you find what works! It might take time, so be patient and rest assured that you will get there in the end.
Catherine is a personal development and career coach. Her mission is to help others find a career that makes them happy and build a fulfilling life. She offers one-to-one coaching sessions, and online courses.
Head over to her website for more tips on productivity, career growth and personal development.
Catherine is a personal development and career coach.