We’re in the middle of a global pandemic which is seeing countries locked down, people not allowed to leave their homes and likely having a lot more time on their hands than they’re used to.

On the surface this is sweeeeeet, but a few days in and it’s easy to see how a lot of free time with no structure can descend into chaos. I’m talking long lie-ins, cake for breakfast and gin for brunch…which to be fair, sounds like a great day.

Whether you realise it or not, you have habits. So our aim is to make as many of these habits as positive as possible. A few little tweaks to daily habits can be the difference between having a happy, productive day, and a day which leaves you feeling unfufilled and all over the shop.

1. Stick to a sleep routine

I’m sure most of you are now aware of the many massive benefits of sleep on health, performance and emotional wellbeing. Not only is sleep itself worth protecting like toilet paper, it’s really important to stick to some kind of regular sleep pattern, even if lack of normal daily comittments mean you don’t have to. Not only will this have numerous health benefits, but it will make getting back into post-apocolypse work/normal life mode all that easier.

To save me butchering his incredible work, I’ll highly recommend the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. Here’s a great summary of his book on The Joe Rogan Experience…

2. Create a daily routine/structure

Having more free time doesn’t mean you have more free time…bare with me. Personally, I find my most productive days are often the days I have the most diaried work scheduled (training clients, taking group sessions, session planning etc)

Being self employed, It’s easy to get caught in the blurry line between non-essential work you need to get done…and watching Match of the Day, which I used to try and do at the same time during admin work. Instead, I now fully focus on one thing, then allow myself a set time frame to fully relax and mentally disengage from “work mode”.

To get out of this loop, I found it really useful to plan nearly every hour of my day. From clients, to family time, to training myself.
This can be really useful not only on busy work days, but also times you find yourself with no direction or lack of “important” things to do (being forced to stay at home all day). So Jen and I have hashed out a rough timetable during this odd time to give us some structure and focus. Training, family time, walking, reading, creative business work is all scheduled in. This way we go into each evening happy there’s a plan in place for tomorrow.

My go-to resource in this instance is Routine Machine from local Plymothian John Lamerton

John has kindly linked you to a free chapter https://bigidea.co.uk/routine-machine/

3. Make yourself accountable to something/someone

If you’ve been meaning to get something done, make a change, train more regularly, finish a blog post etc, make yourself accountable. A start is to write down what you’re trying to acheive, then it’s a real thing and not just floating around in your head. A next step would be to make yourself accountable to somebody or a group of people (tell friends, family, announce it on Facebook). If you’re feeling really commited, take a terrible picture of yourself half naked, give it to a friend (that likes you) and tell them if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do (meet a deadline etc), they have permission to post it online. Brutal. Effective.

The reason so many of our clients have been with us for years, even though they now know roughly how to structure a session/programme, is accountability. Having to be at a certain place at a certain time ensure they are consistent (and consistency is one the keys to successful training)

As well as knowing what it’s like to be coached, It’s the same reason we encourage our Team at The Studio to get their own coach for parts of the year. Not only do you learn coaching techniques but it keeps you accountable to someone other than yourself.

4. Train/exercise

If I have the choice, the earlier in the day the better. Getting it done early gives you a sense of achievement before the day has properly started, and gets you off on the right foot. Not only will this release endorphins and make you feel good, but I find it makes your perception of others tasks in the day much more positive. Or a slightly more negative, light hearted way to approach it – “Starting your day with a run ensures your day can’t get any worse”. But any time of day is brill and everyone will have their own preference.

Training is great, but also ensure you’re moving enough throughout the day. Whether that’s walking or performing a few mobility exercises, avoid long periods of inactivity to keep yourself physically and mentally on the ball.

5. Have SOME kind of nutritonal principles or guidelines

I’m not talking about a strict diet, but more a set of guidelines to follow to create some level of compliance and structure. For example, some of mine include…

– No caffiene after 1300
– Eat a bit more carbohydrate on training days, and a bit less on non-training days
– Ensure I’m having some protein with every meal

You’ll know your bad habits and weak spots, so ensure your principles work to combat them. Pick a handful of simple principles that are fairly easy to adhere to and it gives you enough structure to stay in control yet still enjoy flexibility. Not only does this help in the short term, but over time this set of guidelines should make a big difference. My go-to resources are The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Hopefully you’ll find a few of these tips useful, and encourage you to delve a bit deeper into a few of the topics.

Stay Strong and Safe,