How to Craft Your Ideal Day: A Guide to Boosting Your Productivity and Well-being

If you’re a productivity girlie like me, then you know how much having a solid morning routine can set the tone for your day. I’ll be honest, since the new year, my morning routine has been lacking and I’ve been beating myself up about it. 

There are so many factors that can affect your daily routine, like travel, the busyness of your work schedule, the weather, your mood, etc. What I’ve realized over the last few months is that yes, having a morning routine is great, I’m all for it. But what happens when I can’t do my morning routine? 

Welp, not gonna lie, I usually tend to have just a teeny tiny, ahem, gigantic meltdown because I’m completely thrown off! 

Do you remember that scene in A Bugs Life when all the ants are walking in a straight line going about their day when suddenly a giant leaf slowly falls down and blocks their normal route? 

The ant closest to the leaf screams “I”M LOST! Where’s the line? What do I do? What do I do?” and all the other ants behind him start to freak out and are completely distraught because they don’t know what to do now that they can no longer see the line in front of them because they were hit with a literal roadblock and they exclaim “we’ll be stuck here forever!” 

The panic of the ants is quickly heard by the supervisor ant (supervisor ant? Is that what we call him? lol), rushes over shouting, “Do not panic! Do not panic! Stay calm. We are going AROUND the leaf.”

To which the other ant replies, “ Ummm I don’t think we can do that…”

ants from the movie a bugs life carrying fruit and nuts with a leaf blocking their route

But then they find that they can in fact go around the leaf, they just need someone to remind them that they can and make them feel confident. 

That’s how I feel about productivity. 

Sometimes we get in such a one-track mindset of needing to do all the things in the exact same way that we’ve always done them and then when we are hit with the smallest inconvenience or shift in schedule, we are at a complete loss as to how to recover and move forward. Just me? 

As entrepreneurs, the fact is that most of us don’t have an adorable animated ant showing us where the line is and how to get back on track if something goes wrong, which is why we have to be our own regulators of our time, energy, and capacity. 

This is why today’s post is centered around how you can boost your productivity while also nurturing your well-being through what I like to call an “Ideal Day Punch List”. 

What is an Ideal Day Punch List?

Essentially, this is a set of non-negotiables I know I need in order for the day to run smoothly. I know that if I do these things, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be more productive, energized, and confident. Which all contribute to my overall productivity and honestly, help me sleep better at night. 

The punch list doesn’t need to be long, complicated, or take hours to create. It just needs to be something that you can quickly review. Kind of like a self-checklist to gauge your energy and mood that will help you determine how to structure your day. 

Most importantly, it can give you a list of other things you can pick from if things aren’t quite going right, at least you’ll have some other ideas to help you “go around the leaf” to make sure you can still find your way, even if it looks different from what you intended. 

6 Steps To Creating Your Own Ideal Day Punch List

Let me walk you through the steps for creating your punch list, along with some questions to ponder…

Step 1: Define Your Non-negotiables

Think about those activities that, without fail, set the right tone for your day. Maybe it’s that first sip of coffee in silence or an early morning walk in the park.

If, like me, movement is a big factor in making sure you’re set up for success, then write down a list of what movement looks like for you with a few alternatives you can choose from if the weather is bad, your energy is low, etc. 

For example, I know my ideal day includes a morning jog or walk outside, but on days when it’s rainy or I’m not feeling well, I still make sure I get my movement non-negotiable in by switching up my approach by doing a simple at-home workout or light stretching.

Remember we’re learning to go around the leaf, not throw our hands up and let ourselves get stuck. 

Ask yourself: What kickstarts my day on a high note? 

Step 2: Structure Your Day for Maximum Energy

Energy is SO important, but something I see so many people ignore. 

The beauty of owning your own business is that you get to have control over when you schedule projects and tasks. I see a lot of people (myself included) fall into the trap of forcing ourselves to work within the traditional 9-5 schedule when maybe that’s not how we actually work best. 

Instead, consider how your energy levels fluctuate on certain days of the week, or times of day and plan your tasks accordingly. 

Whether you work best at 5 am Monday through Friday or like to burn the midnight oil on the weekends, you need to figure out your energy and plan accordingly. 

I suggest trying to align the most challenging tasks within your peak energy periods to maximize focus and efficiency.

Ask yourself: When do I feel most alive and ready to tackle the world?

You can read more about my take on working based on your energy in this blog post. 

In the meantime, here’s a chart I made to help you visualize what working based on your energy might look like for you…

Time of Day ⏰Energy Level ⚡Mood 🤔Task Type ✅
Early MorningHighOptimisticCreative work, Planning
Mid-MorningModerateFocusedMeetings, Collaborative work 
AfternoonVariableVariableAdministrative tasks, Emails
Late AfternoonDecliningReflectiveReview, Low-energy tasks
EveningLowRelaxedLeisure, Family time

Step 3: Incorporate Breaks to Avoid Burnout

Your brain isn’t wired to go at 100 mph all day every day. I know, as solopreneurs we fancy ourselves superhumans, but REST is truly one of the most productive things you can do for yourself. 

Make sure you take the time to schedule in some chill time to give your body and mind what it needs. Sometimes that’s as simple as taking a few moments to breathe and just be.

My personal fave is taking a vitamin D break—during my lunch, I step outside, close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and let the sun do its thing to recharge my batteries and boost my mood. 

Ask yourself: What’s my favorite way to take a breather?

Step 4: Optimize Your Work Environment

I can’t stress enough just how much your environment plays a huge role in your mood and productivity! A cluttered space really is a cluttered mind in my experience, which is why I believe in keeping any workspace clean and tidy. 

This is why in my office, I make sure to clean everything else off my desk and fill the room with things that inspire me like my plants, my favorite scented candle, and a comfy office chair. 

However, optimizing your environment can be super challenging if you don’t have a dedicated room like an office to work from, but even if you’re working from the kitchen table, a co-working space, or the public library, there are ways you can enhance your environment. 

For example, I know that bringing my noise canceling headphones, putting my phone on ‘do not disturb’, and getting myself a lil treat like a coffee or my favorite snack contributes to creating an environment that will help me stay focused and productive. 

Ask yourself: What changes can I make to my space to feel more inspired and focused? If I can’t change my space, can I put myself in a different environment for the day?

Step 5: Find Ways to Increase Your Confidence 

Confidence can significantly impact productivity. 

Think about what you need to feel GOOD about yourself. Maybe it’s taking a few extra minutes to put on a cute outfit, do your hair, throw on your favorite lip gloss, dance to your favorite song, etc.  

Maybe boosting your confidence includes a lil pep talk in the mirror to remind yourself how awesome you are! Try repeating positive affirmations, journaling for 5 minutes, or anything else that you know gives you that instant confidence boost. 

For me, getting dressed in “real clothes” is an immediate confidence booster—what can I say, when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you want to show up. It’s a win, win, win in my book. 

Ask yourself: What makes me feel like I can take on anything?

Step 6: What Do You Need to Sleep Better at Night?

Ahhh a question I ask myself literally every day haha. 

I don’t know about you, but just before bed, I tend to get a second wind of energy and anxiety. Just before my head hits the pillow, I start to think about everything that went well and no-so-well during the day. 

To be honest, sometimes I’m riddled with guilt of not getting everything checked off my “to-do” list, but I’ve recently been allowing myself to look at the success of my day outside of my list and focus on how I feel. 

Because at the end of the day, our worth is not tied to our productivity, despite the world trying to convince us otherwise. 

So ultimately, you need to find a way to be satisfied with yourself at the end of the day no matter what you “accomplished”. 

That’s why I created this list in the first place. I know that if everything else goes to sh*t, knowing that I got my non-negotiables in helps me sleep better at night because ultimately those non-negotiables help to regulate my nervous system, and that is how I define success.

Personally, I like to ask myself…

  • Did I approach the day with an open mind and optimistic heart?
  • Was I kind to myself and others?
  • Did I take 5 minutes to sit in stillness and let myself be? 
  • Can I go to bed knowing that I put my best foot forward even if the day didn’t turn out the way I imagined? 

Again, these are the questions I like to ask myself in relation to how I define success, but that will (and should) look completely different for you. 

So I encourage you to…

Ask yourself: How do you want to end your day? How do you want to feel when your head hits your pillow—peaceful, excited, accomplished?

Maybe you’re someone who needs to tick off everything on your list or maybe simply knowing you’ve taken one step toward your goals will help you sleep better at night.

Keys to Creating a Successful Ideal Day Punch List

Every punch list will look different, and that’s the beauty of figuring out what YOU need to be successful in your ideal day. So to help you out, I’ve listed a few things to consider when creating your own.

  1. Be Realistic: Aim for attainable daily goals.
  2. Listen to Your Body: Adapt your list based on your mood and energy levels.
  3. Be Proactive and Flexible: Prioritize effectively and be open to adjustments for days when you’re challenged to “go around the leaf”.
  4. Simplicity is Key: Don’t overcomplicate your list!
  5. Grant Yourself Grace: It’s okay if things don’t quite go as planned. Remember this is an ideal day and things might fluctuate based on different seasons in your life and business. 

A Real-Life Example: My Ideal Day Punch List

To give you a little inspo, here’s a peek into my own punch list. 

Things Lorin needs to be successful today…

Solo run or walk in nature, preferably in the morning at sunrise 

✅ Journal/morning notes—I set a timer for 20 minutes and brain-dump everything  

✅ 5 minutes of silence, visualization, and gratitude–I don’t meditate per se, but I do like to give myself a few minutes where I sit in silence, screen-free, and visualize how I want my day to go. I also use this time to remind myself of little things I’m grateful for…honestly, sometimes it’s as simple as having indoor plumbing lol. 

✅ Get dressed in real clothes/do my hair and makeup—what can I say, when you look good, you feel good. 

✅ Drink enough water—I have a gigantic 64oz water bottle with time stamps on the side that remind me to stay hydrated. Hydration = happiness. 

✅ Take a full lunch break—as a solopreneur who works from home, it’s so easy to convince myself to work through lunch, but I find that when I actually take time to step away to eat, rest my eyes, get outside, etc. I feel a million times better. 

✅ Read—I usually set a timer for 20 minutes before bed to catch up on reading and to also give myself time to wind down screen-free. 

And there you have it! I really hope this blog post was helpful in showing you some ways you can organize your day to not only boost your productivity but also incorporate a little self-care. 

I’m curious, have you tried making an “Ideal Day” punch list? What’s on your list? I’d LOVE to know! Shoot me a DM on Instagram and let’s chat about it. 

P.S. If you liked this blog post, the Productivity category on my blog might just be your new favorite place on the internet!


Lifestyle, Productivity

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