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Getting Things Done And My Daily Habits (Professional and Personal)

artist working from home, Getting Things Done Blog Post
Getting Things Done And My Daily Habits

A different kind of Valentine’s Day love today!

We’re pretty good at showing others love and appreciation, giving time towards the things they like and creating special moments for them. But, sometimes we struggle with this for ourselves, right? I know I do. So, I wanted to write a post about how we can start small and create space and love for ourselves, even in our businesses.

This post is by no means meant to praise hustle culture or convince you to take on even more than you already do. But if you’re reading this then its likely that you’re trying or thinking about growing a business or expanding your knowledge in some way. That’s really good news! But it takes hard work, time and loads of energy. So I wanted to write a VERY honest post about how I make time for everything that I want to accomplish and the daily habits I’ve created for myself so that I have time for all the things, not just in work but in my personal life as well – clients, paintings, blogging, learning, fun, health and adventure with family and friends and self care. 

I’m often conflicted when someone tells me, “You do so much!”, or “I wish I could get as much done as you do”… And this internal conflict inspired this post because I’ve been thinking about why. Why do I feel mixed emotions when someone praises my work? And I think it’s because it’s something I’ve always struggled with, even when I was little. 

Doing was never the problem. 

But balance was

I’m a dreamer and I’m deeply motivated by creating new things and pursuing new ideas. This is like second nature for me. I have so many goals and projects I want to accomplish. And for the most part, I manage.

However, it wasn’t until facing anxiety from changes to my physical health and embarking on a journey of self-discovery that I realized the importance of reining in that endless ambition and acknowledging its consequences. We simply can not do it all without making important choices first. And finding balance and peace in what you’re doing and how you allocate your time really is the most important thing if you want to sustain a healthy and secure lifestyle and grow professionally. One really isn’t possible without the other. It’s all about knowing yourself and creating new habits that free time for all the good stuff. 

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The Right Things – Staying Focused On My Version of Success

Before we get into my daily and weekly habits, I want to talk a little bit about long-term goals and my unique definition of success. 

Success means different things to different people, and for me it really comes from a combination of balancing my health and my professional drive. I think it’s important to ask ourselves (and quite often) what makes us happy, and if we’re still prioritizing that happiness. If we achieved that success we dream of, what would our life look like? What would change? Visualizing these things will help you not only focus on your why but it will also help get rid of the smaller tasks that aren’t serving you. 

Here’s mine. 

Because I have a chronic condition, my objective will always be the same – to ensure that I have access to the lifestyle and resources that I need to take care of my body (self care, physical activity, healthcare) and to have time in my life for fun, joy and learning, and to always have a way to cope with stress, since stress is a big trigger for my body. That definition of success will never change. 

Quick side note. If you’re interested to read a bit more about my daily routine and how I do my very best to live a healthy and happy life with a chronic condition, head to this blog post!

So, for me it’s very clear. My business is very much a means to that objective. Having the flexibility to take on and reduce my work load as needed, to have enough financial freedom to make my own choices and help others do the same is my definiton of success. That’s my ultimate why. 

I am always asking myself, is this serving me and my bigger picture? If not, I consider whether doing it is a good idea, whether it will impact others and if not, what would be the best way to spend my time instead? 

Getting Things Done And My Daily Goals – The Morning Routine

Over the years, I’ve become very good at identifying my strengths and weaknesses. With that also comes understanding how my brain works and what my body needs throughout the day. 

I’ve learned that I’m infinitely more productive in the early mornings – especially when it comes to writing, and pretty much useless for any kind of creative work after about 6pm…so I’ve designed my daily schedule with these things in mind. I’ve also adjusted my morning routine so that I’m using all that really productive time to my advantage. I know that my daily routine is very important to me and my good habits keep me happy and my mental health in check. 

Here’s what a typical morning and work day looks like for me. 

5:30am – Wake up and quietly start my morning. First thing, this includes making an anti-inflammatory hot water, sitting down at my computer and doing some writing… either a blog post, email or newsletter. I do this in the morning because I wake up with a lot of ideas in my head and getting them out feels like the right thing for me. I write better and faster in the mornings, so this is the perfect time for me. 

6:15am – Get Ready For the Gym, Take Supplements and Prepare My Breakfast

6:30am – Hubby wakes up, and we go and wake up the kids. We tag team getting them ready for school, making lunches and breakfast.

Side Note: Our children take up a lot of time and energy to get ready for school so we try to make this as easy as possible for everyone. Having some time alone before this often stressful hour or so helps me get into a less defensive state. I need a bit of time to myself before taking care of others and I’m ok with that. 

7:30am – School Drop Off and Gym.

Together we take the kids to school, and then head to the gym. Regular exercise is a non-negotiable for me, and my gym routine consists of about 70% heavy lifting, 20% cardo and 10% kaleietetics. My weekday gym schedule is usually two days with intense exercises, then a softer, restorative day and then another 2 hard days. 

9am – Healthy Breakfast + Work Day Starts. 

I work until about 1:30pm and then head to the school for lunch with the kids, their extracurriculars (which I’ll usually spend on my laptop sending emails or some design work) and then we’re back around 5pm. If my husband isn’t in meetings, he’ll go to the school and I’ll work until about 5pm. Either way, we’ll both be done work at this time and spend about 2.5 hours doing supper, homework, a walk, or anything else that comes up. 

After the kids go to bed, sometimes I’ll continue with some more work for another 1-2 hours, depending on what needs to be done. These tend to be lighter tasks, as I know I’m not as efficient in the evenings. Most day though we relax. 

On a daily basis, here are the things I try to accomplish. 

My Daily Habits:

1. Exercise + Eat Without Distractions

2. Take care of my work environment – clean, organized and quiet. 

3. Draft, write, edit or publish a blog post. 

4. Paint for at least 30 min.

5. Uninterrupted time with our children (either doing homework, an outdoor activity, cooking together, assembling Lego)

6. Slow and Intentional Evening Routine – silence phone 30 min before bed, wash face / gua sha, lay in bed with legs elevated and read at least 3 pages of my book (I know, but I did already say I can’t focus on anything at night!) 

My Weekly Habits:

On a weekly basis, things look a bit different. They tend to be a little more goal / task list oriented and I grant myself the flexibility to do them when it makes sense. 

1. Meal Prep On Sunday or Monday Morning For The Week

2. Send Out Email Newsletter

3. Ship Out All Orders from Week Prior

4. Publish at least 2 posts

5. Close off any outstanding emails before end of day Friday.

6. Schedule in a date night, as well as a family activity with friends or family for the weekend. 

7. Tidy Up Studio Space 

When Taking On Too Much Becomes A Problem

As I get older and mature in my business, I’ve realized that “doing it all” is actually very much being selective with how you spend your time. 

And often, that means saying no. Over the years I’ve really learned to stand up for what I know works for me and unless I’d be hurting or being unfair to someone else, I don’t feel bad saying no anymore. And maybe some of you are reading this and thinking it’s a bit harsh, but it’s really the only way. I think it comes with age and experience as you grow and see that it’s a very empowering thing to say – you prioritize the things that make you a better person. And you’ll start to respect others when you see them do the same thing. 

Productivity is really as much about the things you do as the things you don’t do and that make it possible to maintain balance when you’re running your own business. Here are some of the things that I don’t do: 

1. I don’t wake up and rush into things. All my days are limited by time. Who’s aren’t, right? Rushing through something is actually counterproductive. It leads to mistakes, stress and a lack of ownership and pride of your work. Are you familiar with the saying, “Slow down because I’m in a rush”? I repeat this to myself whenever I’m feeling the urge to rush into or through a task. 

2. I limit social gatherings during the work day to 1 per week. Actually, I just said no to a multicultural breakfast at the school because it’s during the day, two days after the multicultural fair, which I will at all day representing Canada. I’d love to say yes to everything because I love the school events and socializing in general, but if I do that, I’m not giving my business the seriousness it deserves. Some of the most productive people are those that know when to say no. 

3. I don’t clean my house daily. We hired someone that comes every other day to help with cleaning. I love to clean but I don’t have time to do it everyday. And what they charge is less than my hourly rate, so my time is better spent working with my clients than cleaning. With only about 4.5 hours per day to work uninterrupted, I just can’t spend half of that on doing laundry! 

4. I don’t stay up late. Because of my autoimmune condition, I have to prioritize sleep. I’ve learnt that my body needs a certain amount of sleep each day and I feel better and function better as a human when I get my sleep. And because I’m an early morning person, I’d rather go to bed early and wake up early to leverage that productivity! 

Atomic Habits by James Clear

I want to end off this post by sharing a book that I read a few years ago that really helped me with small changes and create really lasting habits that I’ve carried over the years. Things that I will probably never change now that they’re part of my daily practice. James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” is like a really down-to-earth guide with relatable stories and practical solutions in the form of tiny actions that lead to incredible improvements over time. You’ll implement things slowly and then one day look back and think, wow, I’ve come a long way! He also talks about breaking bad habits like we talked about earlier and how to embrace positive change. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to improve the quality of their life and implement some of what the must successful people do when it comes to the power of habit and paying attention to the little things! 

I’m Donata Delano. I’m an architect turned professional artist and I help other artists achieve financial freedom and build the creative business of their dreams.?I write about the importance of a website, SEO, email marketing and everything else that goes into running an online business but all the while keeping our souls and minds happy, balanced and motivated!

I wanted to also share a really great post about what I’ve learned growing my business and what I’d say to my 30 year old self. It’s an honest account of the things that I wish I knew when I was starting my business and what I wish for anyone who is considering doing the same!

Thanks for reading!

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