A New Regime

By Steve Higgins
October 19, 2015 1:48 PM

Today is my first day of a new way of living and working, so I thought I'd blog about it, initially on a daily basis and ongoing, at least weekly. The idea of blogging my progress is in the hope that it will keep me motivated and on track and perhaps someone else my find my experiences useful.

So, what am I changing. Well, I'm already on day 13 of a healthy eating change, not a diet. I "quit" social media a media a week ago and I've been avoiding caffeine for over a week now. But none of these at the lifestyle change I want to talk about.

The biggest change I've made, as of today is to how I spend my time, organise my working day and how I work.

I currently work in a full time job, based in an office four days a week and one day at home. I'm currently finding the Friday at home a little frustrating as I generally get up early, do some chores, sometimes go shopping AND then start work. During my working day, I can through some clothes in the wash, wash up while I'm making a cup of tea and get other bits done around the house but still I'm more productive and efficient than I ever am in the office. There's less distractions, no meetings, very few phone calls, I can just work and I enjoy my working day a lot more.

As well as my full time job I also do some freelance work and run a YouTube channel, I'm also looking into the potential of crowd funding a start-up. All of these extracurricular actives are obviously done in my spare time. As I enjoy working from home so much, I'd love to be able to shift my work life so that my freelance work becomes my primary source of income, so the changes I have made to my life today are designed to help me build a safety net of income which will allow me to work and live as I like.

I'm originally from Bristol, I initially moved to London to work in my dream job in radio, which I did. I worked for the biggest commercial radio group in Europe and it was a dream for a while, it was a job people would kill to do, but it wasn't going anywhere and I needed to get out. After eight years in London, the novelty of being in the big smoke is starting to wear off and the reason that I moved to London, to work in radio, is no longer holding me here. The thought of moving back to Bristol to be near friends and family is becoming more and more appealing, which is why the idea of freelance working is also so appealing.

I'm not desperate to become a freelancer, one option is to carry on working for my current job but from Bristol, but like with most companies, my boss likes to see staff on seats in the office, so this may not be an option.

As of today, I've decided to put more of my energy and effort into freelance work and my YouTube channel. I've done this by removing distractions and turning my day on its head.

Previously I started my full time job at 10am and then came home from work, already tired and fed up of working and worked on my own projects in the evening. This morning I got up at 6:30, had some breakfast while scrolling through Twitter and Facebook (I know, I said I quit. I'll get to that) and then at 7am I started work.

I can work 7-9am easily giving me two solid hours of uninterrupted work time. At that time of day most people are still in bed or rushing to work, there's no phone calls, text message or Facebook chats. There's nothing on TV distracting me and I'm not working in between cooking my dinner as I had been in the evenings.

This morning I set myself two tasks to do. Knowing there was a two hour deadline is much more of a motivator, working in the evening I tend to think "I'll do that after dinner" and it gets pushed back again by something on TV and then a chat with the housemate or a friend or family call.

Not only did I finish my two tasks this morning, I finished them with time to spare and used the time by going shopping, admittedly I was unwashed and in yesterday's clothes but I got some shopping done and got home in time for 9am, the end of my morning shift. I then have half an hour to get showered and dressed and leave for work at 9:30.

The best thing about this, besides getting more work done, is that I've freed up my evenings. I've come home tonight knowing I've done a good chunk of work today, I can be lazy without feeling guilty.

To help me stay productive and undistracted, I've started checking my email just twice a day. Once at 7am and once in the evening after work. I've turned off all of the notifications on my phone so now reading, sending and replying to emails is a daily/twice daily task, not a time wasting task across the day.

When I think about how I have been managing my emails, I'd get an email alert, read the email then probably mark it as unread as a reminder to deal with it later and then ignore it until later that day or the next day. Having two fixed times to manage emails means I log in to my account and read and action any emails which are there first thing in the morning.

The benefit of checking my emails in the evening is that I can then look at any requests from clients and pick up on any other task which are needing to be completed and then schedule that work in for the next morning. I'm planning to limit myself to two tasks a day so that my to-do list isn't too overwhelming.

As well as removing the distraction of email, I've also removed the distraction of social media. I haven't posted anything for over a week (other than posts/tweets to promote my latest YouTube videos but that's business. I haven't yet worked out how I am going to manage social media ongoing, I'm not against using it but I don't want it to be a distraction. I've turned off Twitter and Facebook notifications, I no longer keep the tabs open in my browser like I used to and I've unfollowed accounts like BuzzFeed, these kind of content publishers were responsible for wasting hours of my life. BuzzFeed especially managed to make me click out to pointless listicles, probably around 5-10 times a day.

I will return to social media, I think I just want to get myself out of the habit of posting for the sake of it without thought and I want to ensure that when I do log on to these sites that they don't suck my time away. Of course, with my new found time in the evening, there's nothing wrong with wasting a bit of time on social networks.

I was a little unsure about blogging because blogging could become a distraction itself, I don't want to put off something more important using my blog as an excuse. The reason I am writing this is purely because I'm hoping that by writing about my experience, I'll be more keen and motivated to stick to it.

I think that's it for day one, tomorrow I'll post some more about how my morning went and about how and why I'm removing caffeine from my diet.

Later this week I'll write about my new healthy eating regime and my research into hiring a virtual assistant in India.

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