First off, I don’t do morning routines.
I don’t like relying on the time of day to tell me when I should be productive because having a strict schedule inhibits my ability to think ‘outside the box’ and be creative with my work — writing.
It’s something Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, explains best in his essay, Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. He says creators are less likely to start something ambitious in the morning if we know our day is going to be broken off in meetings or appointments that we must attend. And that if we had to switch tasks at certain times, it’d change the mode in which we work — sometimes lasting the entire day.
That’s why it’s better to work without a schedule and to instead employ ways that’d keep your productivity high throughout the day.
2Keep your to-do list in a highly visible place
Every time I open a new tab on chrome, I see my to-do list staring back at me. It’s on every tab and every window.
I use a chrome extension called New Tab Draft which basically turns your new tabs and windows into a type-able notepad. I use it to jot down random thoughts, quick reminders but most importantly, my to-do list.
Having your to-do list in a highly-visible and accessible place gives you a constant reminder to stay on track.
It’s been highly effective for me because everything I do is on the internet. By having my to-do list the first thing I see when I open a new tab, it becomes impossible to even open Facebook or Youtube because it reminds me of the things I should be focusing on.
This trick works well with everyone — I’ve seen startup founders use it, kitchen caretakers, mothers, office workers, lawyers, etc. The key is not to overwhelm your to-do list with tasks and focus on solving no more than 3 (preferably 1) major task that day. More details below.