Right after I moved to Switzerland I figured out I needed a routine. As a digital nomad, my whole life was a mess. I didn’t eat properly, had crazy work hours and didn’t exercise often. All these things together made me very unproductive.
So, when I finally found a base where I could actually build a routine I started a new chapter in my life, both personally and professionally. I could finally live without the stress of moving around too much and having to find out the best restaurants, supermarkets or gyms in the new place while trying to juggle work, personal life and all the changes from the first days in a new location. Building a routine made me able to be more productive, do my work better and even have more time for myself.
For a while I thought I loved the fact of changing places often and having a messy schedule – which I called “doing what I want whenever I want” and turned out being something like “always postponing, never doing anything”.
So, when I finally realized this was not doing me any good I figured out that having a routine is even more important when you’re a digital nomad or a freelancer working from home. Having a schedule where you include essential habits make it easier for you to focus, avoid procrastination and have a balanced and healthier life. That’s why I decided to share with you the 5 habits to be more productive that I included in my routine when I moved to Switzerland.
5 everyday habits to be more productive
1) Make plans for the next day
The most effective way to be productive was to decide on the day before what my next day would be like. I didn’t value this task until I started doing it. Now, at night, I take some time and write down everything I need and want to do on the next day and, then, on the next day, I just need to read what I wrote down before and do it.
This is so important! This way I don’t need to take any decisions in the very beginning of my day. After a few days I noticed that what was making me unproductive when I didn’t make plans in advance was the thought of having to make decisions. Making decisions during the beginning of my day was slowing me down and draining my energy. I was not able to be creative and productive.
Now, with everything prepared for the next day, I am finally able to wake up and simply start doing whatever I should do.
2) Plan a routine
Well, it turns out that for you to have a routine you need to plan a routine. And planning a routine is something that has helped me to be even more productive.
Having a plan – in other words, having things that you do on a daily basis – creates some kind of anchor that allows you to stay more focused during the day. Even though you sometimes can’t control what is going to happen at work, at the traffic or your life in general, having things you do often guide you through your day.
So, besides planning my next day during the evening and having steady sleeping hours, I also included in my daily schedule a delicious breakfast, meditation, reading and exercising.
3) Wake up – and go to bed – at the same time
One of the worst things for me while I was traveling often was my sleep. Jet lag, the stress, work, weird mattresses and stinky bed linen were only a few of the things that bothered me when I moved to a new place every month. But I’ve also always found it difficult to have healthy sleeping habits.
Some days I worked until very late. Then I woke up very early. Then took a 2 hour nap. Then went to bed late again. And it happened over and over again.
So, when I finally settled down I decided to go to bed and wake up
almost always at the same time. This was lifechanging. I was finally able to make room for everything I wanted to do, like having a good breakfast, exercising, reading and meditating.
4) Meditate and read
Before I leave the bed in the morning I take my smartphone in my hands and stare at the screen. But, I swear, it’s not to check my social media notifications – it’s one of the most unproductive things you can do to start your day, by the way. I take my phone to meditate and read.
First, I practice mindfulness for 15 minutes on Headspace. Meditating is really important for me to start my day well. I can free my mind and be aware of my own body and how I feel in that morning, and this makes me more prepared to face the day ahead.
Then, after meditating, I read during 30 minutes to one hour. Including these activities in the very beginning of the morning is the way I found to have no excuses to skip them. When I tried to meditate or read at the end of the day I always ended up skipping them because I was too tired, had too much to do, or had a last minute meeting with my friends. This way, I can cross these off of my list every morning and have a delicious breakfast afterwards.
This was, for sure, the best thing I could include in my routine to increase my productivity. I was traveling for months and I wasn’t able to exercise anymore. So at the end of a whole year travelling, my body started to ask for help. I was feeling all sorts of pain – due to the lack of exercise and working from a laptop.
A while back, when I was still in Brazil, I started training with a personal trainer and the results were amazing. So, in Switzerland, I decided to look for someone that could help me to feel more motivated and get me back on track.
This is when I found coach Michael. He is not only a fitness coach, he is a coaching that helps people, mostly leaders and entrepreneurs, to reach high level of performance using training, nutrition and mindset control.
I didn’t know how to start and how to feel more motivated, but it turns out that meeting him a couple of days a week made me feel more driven to set goals and achieve them. Having a schedule and a commitment with him helped me to start. The exercise itself made me feel much more focused during both short and long term. Besides that, when I went there and finished the workout routine with him I felt happy because I have accomplished the goal for that day. And, last but not least, exercising has also really improved my sleep which makes everything else easier.