Daily Done: Part 6 - The Kickstart Workday Routine


This is part 6 of a series of articles that started here: Daily Done: a sustainable paper-based productivity system.

Today, we are going to speak about a routine that I do every day at the start of my workday and that I call: the Kickstart Workday Routine. It is an essential part of the Daily Done system. Without it, my workdays would be miserable.

And you will get to know its power in this article.

What is the Kickstart Workday Routine?

This routine is a bit like the typical Morning Routine famed by books like “The Miracle Morning”, except that you do this at the start of your workday and it does not take as long.

I do this almost every single day to power up my workdays, and you can nicely couple it with the Daily Done Productivity System. Until now, in the Daily Done series, you have reached the point where you have a full Daily Plan for your day: a complete set of scheduled blocks of time that look like this:

Today, we will add another little block called “KR” (for Kickstart Routine) at the very beginning of your Daily Plan like so:

Each day, you will place this block here, and it will contain a set of tasks that you need to do to ensure you are consistent with your work discipline.

This Kickstart Workday Routine is a little bit like a checklist that you need to do in order to be effective during your day. Personally, this little routine has saved me many headaches, since I am so much absent-minded at times (I’m a hardcore daydreamer).

A full routine example

As an example, let’s see what is contained in my Kickstart Workday Routine:

Restart my computer

It might look strange, but I don’t shut down my computer when I finish work in the evening. This is because I work remotely and because I use the same computer for other tasks than work.

One possibility is that you put your computer in hibernate mode each evening, which causes the same kinds of problems.

When you don’t shut down your computer for a long time, 2 problems can happen:

  1. Your computer gets slower and slower as the RAM memory gets saturated.
  2. Many open applications and/or open browser tabs from your previous day of work start to clutter your workplace and confuse you.

So this first item ensures you get a fast and clean computer by restarting it.

Fill yesterday’s journal entry

This refers to my gratitude journal. Obviously, it’s not fully related to work. But writing each day the things that I feel grateful for helps to uplift my mood. So I like to take 5 or 10 minutes to write the 3 things that I’m grateful for during this routine, which also ensures I am consistent with this gratitude journaling habit.

Fill my timesheet

This is a critical one because my employers use this information to rate my work and pay my salary. It is especially painstaking to do it if you miss a couple of days, so I like to do this day after day to ensure I am up to date and the information is accurate.

Say hello on Slack

That’s an easy one. As I work remotely, I like to say hello to my remote team on Slack at the beginning of my workday. It signals I am connected and ready to interact with anyone who needs me.

Check my meetings

Then I check my meetings for the day. Hopefully, I already know most of them. But sometimes I have surprises.

Write my Daily plan

I also ensure that my Daily Plan is fully completed. This is the daily plan I introduced since part 4 of this series of articles. It helps to anticipate your day and to always have a clear picture of what you need to do to be most productive.

Ensure Freedom is running

I use the Freedom application to block distracting apps and websites while I work. It helps to stay disciplined all day long. So I like to check if it is running at the start of my workdays.

As you can see, these are very short tasks, that can usually be done in 20 to 30 minutes. Once I have done that, I’m relieved, because I know that I’m in control of my workday.

Ensuring consistency

Putting this routine at the very beginning of your day is strategic. This time of the day usually gets fewer interruptions as people understand that you just arrived at work. It also ensures you are full of energy to set your priorities straight, an activity that usually consumes a substantial share of mental energy. So it’s an ideal moment.

However, you might still have challenges to do your routine from time to time. For example, you might have an emergency right at the beginning of your workdays, such as a client or coworker asking for assistance. Also sometimes you can have an early meeting, although people usually understand that meetings should not be scheduled right at the start of the day.

I rarely skip my routine, but when it happens, I know it soon enough since it becomes harder to juggle with my priorities. One thing you can do if you really are in a hurry is to have an emergency routine, which would be a subset of this kickstart routine. For me, my emergency routine is simply to check my meetings for the day.

The Kickstart Workday Routine in practice

To finish, let’s cover some additional practical details. First, you might add all the items contained in your Kickstart Workday Routine next to the block you created for it – remember, you named it with the abbreviation “KR”.

When you write down each action of your routine, it’s easy to strike through them as you complete them. A good way to do this is to use abbreviations in order to save space, like so:

If you don’t like to copy this checklist each day, you might use a digital checklist instead.

Also, there will be variations in your routine at the beginning, as you stabilize your workday’s “secret sauce” and experiment with several kinds of routine.

When you revise your routine by adding or removing items from the checklist, you might like to keep track of the different versions of the checklist. So you might create version 1.00, then 1.01, etc. You get the idea. This sometimes makes it easier to delete some items without getting second thoughts about it since you can still access the old checklists in your archive.

I hope you enjoyed today’s part of the Daily Done Productivity Method, and that my checklist item examples have been compelling enough to give you a broad idea of the possibilities.

If you don’t already have a Kickstart Workday Routine, I would warmly recommend you to give it a try. You don’t have to create the perfect routine. Just create an imperfect one, and you will refine it along the way.

About the author 

Alex Philippe

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