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Creating a perfect workday

By September 2, 2014May 24th, 2021verve

If you could have today to do whatever you wanted – what would you do?

You might start the day off with a good breakfast, take a walk and call a good friend – finishing the day with a nice long bath.

Here at Verve… we’re starting a ‘perfect workday’ revolution.

Last year, we were really busy – that type of crazy busy where I would start work at 6.30am and not get home until 8pm. My health suffered – and while I was still loving my work, I was forgetting other things in my day which made me happy.

But that’s just what you do when you start a new business – you work! Work. Really. Hard.

I saw a comment on Facebook last week that talked about how people were increasingly giving up their 40 hour per week jobs to work 80+ hours per week and get paid less. When I read this I got a lump in my throat as I thought, “That’s me!”

Don’t get me wrong – I was still happy and I was loving every moment of running my business. But I wasn’t performing at my best. I was tired and drained at the end of every day and I was lacking in inspiration because I was in reactive mode instead of proactive and creative mode.

In November I read an article about creating a workday you’d be happy to do even if you had a day off.

This article talked about the importance of incorporating daily rituals into your workday that you enjoy and feel energised by. And even though I love doing what I do everyday, there are extra little things – like taking a walk, having a nice long bath or treating myself to breakfast at my favourite cafe – that would make my day all the more ‘perfect’.

Cue the ‘perfect workday’!

I put it to my team one morning:

“If you could have a ‘perfect workday’ where you could use the hours in your workday to do something else that you loved – that isn’t work – what would your day look like?”

So we broke up our workday into hours…

As individuals, what are our most productive and creative working hours?
Similarly, when do we feel a slump during the day?
What hours do we wish we were out of the office getting inspiration?
How do we make sure we are nourishing ourselves with good food throughout the day to keep us healthy and happy?
What sort of environment do we work best in? (ie. music playing in the background, complete silence, interruptions or no interruptions, collaborating with others or working solo? etc.)

Following some fun and enlightening brainstorming, we began crafting our ‘perfect workday’.

Here’s what my ‘perfect workday’ looks like:
6am – Wakeup
6.15 – 7.00 – Take my two lovely pooches for a walk by the lake
7.00 – 7.45 Meditate and do some stretching/yoga
7.45 – 8.15 – Make myself a yummy breakfast and sit on my verandah taking in the sunshine
8.15 – Get ready for work
9 – 9.30 – Get to work/answer emails
9.30-10.30 – Schedule a meeting with someone inspirational and/or discover inspirational blogs/art online
11.30-1.30 – Do some productive and creative design!
1.30 – 2.30 – Lunch time (I try to step out of the office and get a yummy nourishing lunch somewhere)
3.00 – 5.00 – Review work with my team
5.00 – Hometime!
5.30-6.30 – Yoga, Walk my dog, Prepare a yummy meal

During my morning, I start by doing some of the things I love doing on the weekend – so my workday almost feels like a weekend!

Later in the morning I always try to do something inspiring – whether it’s meeting a new and inspirational client, trawling through inspirational blogs, or creating mood boards for an art direction client.

I’ve found I do my most productive and creative design work between 11.30am – 1.30pm. Knowing that I’ve kick-started my day with feeling like a weekend and filled my morning with inspiration – I know that by this time I’m ready to rock and roll with my best creative work! It’s also the time that my team are out having their lunch (so the office is quiet and there are few distractions).

Of course, not every day runs precisely like this – but I know I’ve built a framework I can work with.

The beauty of our industry is that there only needs to be one person in the office at one time to man the phones and to do any urgent jobs that might come in. This allows me to also be flexible with my staff.

Stephen’s idea of a ‘perfect workday’ centres around a 2 hour break in the middle of the day:

“I’d love to have a siesta in the middle of the day! I’d make myself a great lunch, spend time with my wife and my baby girl and maybe have a little nap”.

Stephen also alternates his siesta days with later start mornings where he takes a bike ride down to the beach. I love it!

The results?

A happier, healthier and very very productive work environment where my team feel valued and are working at the best times of their day.

Who said 9-5 works for everyone!?

So what would your ‘perfect workday’ look like?

– Jot down some activities that you love to do
– Then jot down the times in the day when you work best and are most productive
– When you have your activities and productive times mapped out in front of you, pull out your calendar and start shaping your ‘perfect workday’!

Trust me – you’ll be so excited to implement it!

If you don’t currently work in your own business, perhaps you could pass this blog post on to your employer.

Or maybe you know an overworked friend who needs a shift in their routine?

It’s time to think outside the box and join the ‘perfect workday’ revolution!