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Back to School

August 22, 2018


It’s that time of year again. The unofficial end of Summer. For many, the focus shifts from lots of recreation and lazy schedules to a structured routine and learning. 

Whether or not you have children heading back to school, this can be a great time of year for all of us to incorporate some discipline and focus into the routine.  Maybe a new hobby, or a new diet or fitness plan?  These 4 productivity tips can help you essentialize your weekly routine in any season of life.


Wake up before the kids, pets, and neighbors.  Take some time to think and/or pray, read, journal, and drink a cup of coffee.  I like to say this is “waking up on purpose.”  By starting your day intentionally, you’ll be more prepared and energized.  Consider doing this for weekends as well.  Many studies show this practice works best when done consistently.  Try it, and see if that's true for you.


There is a lot to be said about to-do lists, and while we have several tips we could share on how to best manage them, one of the most effective strategies is to organize tomorrow today. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Identify a priority for tomorrow and be intentional.  Structure your day around accomplishing that priority as early and as excellently as possible.

  • Take this further.  You can review the day and make a list of three tasks that are “must do’s” for the next day.  Accomplish those first before running errands or moving on to other less essential tasks.

  • Make lunches and snacks for the following day during dinner or right after getting home.  This prevents you from rushing around later in the evening when everyone is likely home and ready for some study or family time.

  • Keep a paper calendar (I use this one) and review it every evening. Reconcile test dates, new activities and events, etc. that you may have been notified about from the school or a child.  Compare calendars with a spouse, business partner, or manager and make sure everyone is on the same page. Check your computer or phone calendar and compare to identify conflicts and/or omissions.

This simple process keeps you in control of your time and allows for easy mid week course corrections.  You can also expand ideas, write down questions for that upcoming meeting, or jot down additional event details that you otherwise can't easily include on your electronic calendar.


These two are obvious, right?  Drink more water.  Get enough sleep.

If you get dehydrated, you’ll have less energy.  The most common recommendation is the 8 x 8 rule - drink 8oz of water 8 times a day.  This equals 64 ounces, or 2 liters per day.  Besides the necessary hydration, more energy, healthy skin, boosted metabolism, and an increase in brain function are a few of the potential benefits.

As an essentialist, we prioritize sleep.  We call it “Protecting The Asset.”

I’ll quote Greg McKeown here: “The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution. One of the most common ways people—especially ambitious, successful people—damage this asset is through a lack of sleep.”*

Plan to get 7-8 hours each night, and don't cheat yourself.  


Make plans now to finish your year strong.  How many times have you looked up during the holidays and wondered "where did the year go?"  Take time now to evaluate your year to date progress.  If you haven’t yet, schedule a quarterly meeting with yourself, and use the rule of three from our Essential Planning Approach.  Take control and identify some year end life, business or financial goals and begin the year end push now and on your terms.

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*Excerpt From: Greg Mckeown. “Essentialism.” iBooks.