routines & tools for executive functioning

as a follow-up to last week’s routines for mental health, I want to talk a bit about routines and tools for productivity.

want the quick-and-dirty work-from-home version? here you go:

pardon my awkwardness, I’m still SO not used to this whole being-on-camera thing.

want more details about the tools and my workflow? read on!

first, let’s talk setup. because I spend an inordinate amount of time sitting in front of my computer, I have my laptop sitting on this stand so the monitor is at eye level, and I use an external keyboard and mouse. most of the time, I just use the earbuds with integrated microphone that came with my phone since I don’t do anything particularly sophisticated with sound, and my laptop has an integrated camera.

next, let’s talk workflow. a typical work-from-home day for me looks like this, based on today’s example :

07:47 – after snoozing seven different alarms (I’m terrible about this!) I roll out of bed and grab my med disk for the day to take my morning meds. (I carry this over to my workstation so my afternoon and evening meds are easily accessible when my alarms go off.)

08:00 – grab a bite and take my meds. track my food and meds (which, to be perfectly frank, I mostly do for the reminders—or I will forget to eat and/or take my meds.)

8:15 – make coffee, take daily WFH selfie for Insta story, check email and Calendly and Google calendar to double-check on the day’s commitments.

8:45 – look at the calendar view (my nonnegotiable power-up) on all my Trello boards to see what’s on the docket for the day—and then I determine my work and personal priorities for the day so I can tweet them. 🙂

9:00 – get started on my first work block. I know I have a meeting at 10, so I decide to spend my two 25-minute work blocks (I like to use the the Pomodoro technique for academic work) grading work that students have turned in over the past week. when working on my computer, I make sure to have my timer set on the XNote Stopwatch because it will overlay over any app so I can check how much time I have left—one of my techniques to fight time-blindness. (find some more here!)

10:00 – hop on Hangouts Meet for my team meeting.

11:00 – hop on Zoom for my post-meeting debrief with my co-leads. (Zoom is my preferred platform but district wants us to use Meet for official meetings, so this is how we split the difference. some days we use the debrief to rehearse for our next meeting or record videos for kids, so Zoom is ideal for that.)

11:45 – water and stretch break.

12:00 – do two more pomodoros of grading while listening to Spotify’s Deep Focus playlist, separated by a 10-minute stretch break, and I check that off my list.

1:00 – switch to doing personal tasks using UFYH‘s 20 on/10 off system. I set my phone on this phone holder and use my alarm clock‘s timer on full screen—and then roommate and I disposed of the new couch, assembled our new one, swept and reorganized the living area, and took out the trash.

2:30 – since we’re done with our cleaning, I take a late lunch break here and watch some YouTube.

3:00 – check-in meeting with my student teacher on regular Hangouts. we consult our planning document on Evernote, work on our shared Trello board, create a Google Doc for ideas, and link Dropbox documents with potential assignments.

4:20 – quick dance break to BTS’s On followed by a quick cuddle with the cat.

4:30 – I record the YouTube video above and then record a quick Aspen tutorial for my colleagues with Screencastify.

5:00 – YouTube break in preparation for upcoming webinar.

5:15 – post WFH selfie I forgot to post.

5:30 – join Zoom webinar.

6:45 – stretch, order food.

7:00 – go back to the UFYH 20/10 so I can edit/post the YouTube video and work on my content calendar.

8:00 – have dinner and start writing this post!

(on late start days, I’d push everything in my morning back an hour so I can do a workout on obé first thing and then take a shower… but I’d also have fewer meetings OR house tasks to compensate)

and that’s that! I know that’s a long work day—but “working” 12 hours is pretty normal for me because I have built-in breaks and time for tangents. all in all, I’m probably actually working a “normal” amount of time when you subtract that time—and, if you take out the housework time, I’m really only WFH approximately 4-5 hours a day, which is much more reasonable.

hope this helps people visualize things a little better and let me know if you have questions or want to know more about any tools/processes!

(note: some links may be affiliate links—but no part of this post has been sponsored by any of these companies or products. I just love to share the things I love!)

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