Currently, more than 1.5 billion people are on lockdown.
Working from home…
Teaching their kids…
Only venturing out for essentials — food, medicine and fresh air — while observing the rules of social distancing.
This is frustrating. Believe me — I know.
So I want to give you some tips to help you stay resourceful, positive and productive during the coming weeks. Hopefully, the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 will not last beyond that…
My daily activities revolve around three core principles:
I’ll go over what each of them means so you can adapt them to your own situation.
This is absolutely critical: At the end of your day (which I will also touch on when we get to rituals) plan out what you are going to do the next day.
There are always multiple demands on your time… even when schools and businesses are open and schedules are normal. Staying organized will massively benefit you — even if you can’t go anywhere.
I spend 15 minutes each night planning out the following day, breaking down my day into 30- or 60-minute chunks.
Here’s what one of my days last week looked like…
As you can see, I work 7.5 hours per day… which still leaves a lot of time for family, exercise and lots of other activities.
While I’m working, my son Josh is doing schoolwork and my wife, Julia, is managing the house.
Also, this morning I applied to be an NHS volunteer. It’s super-cool — it’s like an emergency Uber driver, transporting medication and supplies between hospitals and from pharmacies to sick and vulnerable people who cannot travel.
Once I get approved (hopefully later today), I will be allocating up to two hours per day to volunteering, so I’ll have to adjust my daily routine.
But like Uber, I can set my availability via an app and be on call when it works for my schedule.
Giving back to my community is hugely important to me. Not only is it good to help those who are less fortunate, but being useful to other people can also help you stay positive.
In a quarantine- or isolation-type situation, zoning is key.
What you must AVOID is mixing all of your activity into the same spaces. You need separate places to work… eat… sleep… exercise… spend time with your family… and so on.
It’s easy for me, as we just moved into a 5,000-square-foot house with a lot of land. However, if you live in a small house or even a one-bedroom apartment and now have children at home with you doing their schoolwork… you can set up zones based on each activity.
Take my friend Scott. He lives in a small house with his four school-age children.
Every morning, he sets the kitchen table for breakfast. They eat and then it’s cleared away and quickly turned into a classroom. Everyone works from 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Then the books are all put away while they eat lunch. After lunch, the table turns back into a classroom.
I remember something like this from high school… My English classroom turned into the cafeteria for lunch and then back again.
Another friend of mine, Craig, has three children at home with him now. His solution: He moved the two youngest into one bedroom and transformed the then available bedroom into a permanent classroom.
Then there’s my friend Lisa who is working out of her garage just to keep her work zone separate.
As for exercise, I like to do it outside. But if you can’t — or it’s raining or maybe you are following a fitness video online — remember to pack up your equipment as soon as you are finished.
Turn the room back into another zone.
Rituals are different from habits. Habits are things you do subconsciously. Rituals are things you do on purpose. They are there to ignite you.
I have two rituals — one in the morning and one at night.
My morning ritual triggers my brain to start the day. My evening ritual triggers my brain to end the day.
Here’s my morning ritual, which I do from 6:00–7:00 a.m. every day, including weekends. I learned this from a great book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.
- Meditation (10 minutes) — Use free tracks on YouTube, tonyrobbins.com/priming or great apps like Headspace
- Visualization (5 minutes) — I visualize achieving my goals for the day and advancing my longer-term goals, e.g., the current deals I’m closing
- Affirmations (5 minutes) — I repeat key phrases to myself like, “I, John Carl Allen, see, hear, feel and know that the purpose of my life is to love, lead, serve and celebrate the amazing life and success I have right now”
- Walking (15 minutes) — I walk around the perimeter of my garden with a coffee and my dogs in tow
- Reading (20 minutes) — I’ve also started listening to audiobooks on Audible…
- Journaling (5 minutes) — What did I achieve yesterday? How did it make me feel? What am I grateful for in my life?
I use a full hour for my morning ritual. Even if you just use 10 minutes to have some quiet time… visualize your day… do a quick burst of exercise… and read something useful… it will set your brain and body into action and make you more productive throughout the day.
My evening ritual is much shorter, only 30 minutes:
- Plan (15 minutes) — I write down the next day’s routine
- Move (10 minutes) — Some deep breathing and stretches to wind down my day
- Get ready for bed (5 minutes) — I brush my teeth (a big trigger to my brain that it’s time to go to bed), kiss my family and dogs goodnight and set out my clothes for the following day.
Following the same rituals every morning and night helps keep me on track and focused. And if you do it consistently, it WILL turn into a subconscious habit.
So — that’s my three-step plan for being happy, healthy and productive during isolation.
Set your ROUTINE in 30–60-minute intervals the night BEFORE…
ZONE your home into the key areas you need: work, school, exercise, family, etc. If you have a tiny space, simply keep switching it around as you move through your day…
And have morning and evening RITUALS to trigger your brain to start and end the day.
I hope this helps you stay safe, healthy, happy and productive.
I will talk to you soon.
Until then, bye for now.
Editor and co-founder, Dealmaker Wealth Society
P.S. Since I showed you mine… reply to this email and tell me what your routines and rituals are. I’d love to know what works for you.