A Day in the Life of The Productivity Maven

Ever wonder what a day in the life of The Productivity Maven is like? Here's your chance to find out.

How does your day begin?

Sunrise2 082710 wdr I get up very early. On most days, I’m out of bed by 5:15 or so. We have an automated dawn simulator that begins “sunrise” at 4:30 and the light awakens me. I almost never use an alarm.

After I get up, the first 30 to 45 minutes are spent drinking coffee, chatting with my husband, and watching Mike and Mike. I’m a huge sports fan and that’s my daily fix. We always eat breakfast together, usually a plate of fruit and a piece of toast.

The rest of my morning routine varies depending on the season of the year. In the spring and summer, I usually go hiking around 6 am. In the fall and winter, I take the dogs out for walks later in the day and I start my day a little differently. Today, for example, I did a few housework chores before sitting down at my writing desk to get started. I’m very sensitive to the long dark winters here so I turn on my light therapy for about 30 minutes every morning. While I’m photosynthesizing, I read my Bible and have some time for silent meditation or prayer. Then I spend the remainder of my time in the light with my journal. I may journal about a writing project or something that’s on my mind or I may sketch out my day.

How do you prepare for the workday?

Most of my days are very calendar-driven. I review the next day’s calendar the afternoon before so I know what’s coming up the following day. If I have client meetings, those come with tasks to do before and after–I put those into Omnifocus.
 
When I have big blocks of unallocated time, I’m either referring to my task lists in Omnifocus or I’m concentrating on a project that I’m working on. I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of resource slack lately–how do I keep enough time open to work on big projects (what Michael Bungay Stanier would call great work)–and I’ve reworked my schedule to make sure that I have enough slack to make that great work happen.

You write a lot. How do you get it done?

I learned to write on demand. Writing the first edition of Genetics for Dummies taught me how to do that. I learned to write whether I felt inspired or not. I became very workmanlike. It helped a lot in all areas of my life. I learned that I don’t have to “feel like” getting things done, nor do I have to force myself. I can just do it. Writing Genetics for Dummies also taught me how to write fast. I don’t allow myself to get off task very much and when I wander off, I’ve learned how to bring myself back. Those skills have saved my rump a number of times.

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