A colleague asked me a question that prompted this blog post:
“Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you. How do you manage your time? I mean, you have four kids, and you run a blog, along with working full-time.”
I pseudo-arrogantly responded with “…and I’m a full-time student.”
“Oh yeah, and you go to school full-time. How do you manage all of that?”
“Well, I do write about how I manage my time on my blog. That’s half of what my blog is about.”
After making him feel guilty for not reading my blog, I answered his question more seriously with two words:
And this article was born. It’s going to focus on the second word if you haven’t guessed by the title.
I thought it might help some of you to see all of the habits I keep and track on a daily basis.
My Morning Habits
I used to keep more of a “Miracle Morning” sort of routine, complete with all of the “SAVERS,” but I’ve found that some things work better in the evening, so my “Miracle Morning” is more of a “Miracle Day,” since it’s spread throughout the morning, and into the evening.
I do follow the same initial pattern everyday: Wake up > bathroom > vitamins > coffee > desk.
One point I want to stress is that few of my habits are strict in execution. In the past, I have tried following strict journal layouts, and keeping strict order to everything, and that failed miserably. For me, it works best to loosely define the habit.
Every day is different, and I do not get to every single one of these 100% of the time, but this is the goal (in chronological order):
- Journal (7 days a week) – Once I have my coffee, I’m ready to sit down and journal. It usually takes about 10 or 15 minutes. I write about recent events and lessons learned from the prior day, and/or whatever happens to be on my mind at the time. It often turns into some sort of theological reasoning or discussion… with myself. I journal on a private blog I have set up through WordPress. This way I can easily search through entries, and go back to old entries by date.
- Pray (7 days a week) – I start by thanking God for the day, and then I pray for my family. I start with my wife and work my way through each one of my children individually. Then I pray for anything else that seems to be on my mind, and spend about five or ten additional minutes in a mixture of silence and meditation.
- Bible (7 days a week) – After my journal entry is complete, I open my Bible reading plan on the computer. I use Bible.com and their YouVersion Bible App for plans. My morning Bible plan is generally short. It takes about 10 minutes or less to read.
- MITs (7 days a week) – I review my Most Important Tasks, which starts with whatever I’m writing.
- Write (6 days a week) – Now it’s time to write. I generally write for MoneyMiniBlog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I write for my other blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And then I figure out where the slack needs to be picked up and take care of that on Saturdays. Once I start writing, I write for at least one solid hour before taking a break.
- Finances (6 days a week) – I use Personal Capital (free) to see an overview of all my accounts, and make sure nothing fishy is going on. “Fishy” could be anything from fraudulent activity to new payments that I forgot to set up. Whatever it is, it only takes five minutes to log in and see what’s going on. If I forget to do this, I still have Digit to send me a text later in the morning with a bank account summary.
- Tiny Habits (5 days a week) – Right now I have two tiny habits: pushups and planking. These are fairly new, and I started them a few weeks apart. I started by doing one pushup and increasing it by one, each day that I do the habit. For the plank, I started with 30 seconds and increased it by 10 seconds a week. I’m up to 19 pushups and 1:30 planking. I do this twice a day, but we’ll get to the second time later
Until recently, I would have went to the gym right about now, but I’ve started going to the gym in the afternoons, so now after I get ready, I head to work. We’ll skip ahead to the gym…
My Afternoon Habits
I usually work around seven hours before heading home to change for the gym. Now for my afternoon habits:
- Exercise (5 days a week) – I’m fortunate enough to have a job that allows me time to exercise during work hours, so I do. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are a mixture of strength training and cardio. Tuesdays and Thursdays are pure cardio. Often times on Fridays, I’ll also do some sort of sport.
- Tiny Habits (5 days a week) – I’ll repeat the same two tiny habits from the morning. Even though I do this right after I work out, I feel like it rejuvenates me a little after I get home. A quick plank and a few pushups can get my blood pumping again, since my heart rate is usually back down by the time I get home.
My evenings are never the same. I’ll be spending time with my family, but we’re always doing something different.
My Evening Habits
Once I wind down, and the kids head to bed, my evening ritual starts:
- Daily Recap (7 days a week) – I’ve been using Grid Diary for this. It seems to be the easiest way to do a quick recap, and I like that I can do it on my phone. As far as what my recap consists of, I’ll write about that soon. It’s eight different questions that make me think.
- Read (6 days a week) – Sometimes I read on Sundays, but typically I only read six days a week. I’ll usually switch it up between books on personal finance, productivity, theology and the occasional novel. I keep my Goodreads profile updated with what I’m reading.
- Bible (7 days a week) – This is when I spend a little more time studying the Scriptures. Right now I use this time to go through the ReadScripture plan, which is an awesome plan complete with videos to teach you about parts of the Bible. I use the iPhone app to see what I am supposed to be reading, and watch any videos for that day. But I actually read my physical Bible during my evening readings.
- MITs (7 days a week) – This is when I actually write my MITs for the next day. I quickly see what needs to be done and write at least three MITs down, but it usually ends up being more than that.
- Prepare (7 days a week) – Now I spend the last few minutes before bed preparing for the next day. My MITs are set, so I know what I need to do to prepare. I use this time to put coffee in my coffee maker, which automatically starts brewing at 4:45am. I lay out whatever clothes I will need for the next morning. I even go so far as to open my browser tabs to my journal, the Bible and my MIT list, in sequential order. Overkill? Possibly.
Another important habit before bed is simply going to the bathroom. I drink a lot of water all day long, so if I don’t remind myself to use the bathroom before bed, whether I have to go or not, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night to pee. Peeing before bed equals better sleep quality. Boom! Science.
I have other little habits that I track from morning to evening. I think I have around 50 in Productive App, but I only listed the ones I thought you might care about. I really hope this helps you to see that even with an extremely busy schedule, you can find time for good habits.
I was going to include all of the weekly habits that I track (mostly planning and reviewing), but this article is getting kind of wordy, so I’ll have to save that for another post. You can get an idea of what I do each week in my weekly review.
What habits do you practice every day? Do you have morning and evening rituals? Share below!