How on earth do you get so much done, Tash?Productivity planning system Tash Corbin small business

Do you really work less than 25 hours each week? Surely not, I see you everywhere!

These are some of the most consistent things I hear whenever I talk about productivity and hours of work.

AND YES – I sell a planning system, so I have a bit of a bias towards using a planner to know what you’re doing when you sit to get work done.

BUT I’m not talking about the bigger system today. Instead I want to focus on the core of my productivity, which I believe can be attributed to the way I start and end my day.

SO – in this episode I’m sharing my morning and end of day routines that boost my productivity. That way, if you want to try some of these out for yourself, you can!

Ready to boost your productivity with some simple ways to start and end your day?

Let’s do it, shall we? Let the productivity pod… BEGIN!

productivity boosters morning routine tash corbin podcast


Here for the links referenced in the show notes?

Grab my quarterly planning process and template: tashcorbin.com/qplan
Join the waiting list for the next year’s planning system: tashcorbin.com/planner
My previous podcast about income tracking: tashcorbin.com/385


 

EPISODE 398: Listen using the player below, or click the links to your fave platform to subscribe and listen over there:

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These are my top productivity boosters, that I use at the start and end of my day… most days. 

Let’s start by covering the end of day first, because my end of day routine feeds into my start of day routine on the next day that I work in my business.

Firstly – I have the same end of day routine, no matter what time I finish up! Some days, I’m finished my day by 10am… because my key tasks are DONE, and I get to decide if I want to dive into more, or if I’m done. The end of my work day can be at very different times of the day, but I always end off with the same little closing down routine:

  1. Tracking my income: I calculate and track my income received since my last income tracking (generally the end of the previous day).
  2. Quick journaling: Usually this is simply 2-3 sentences about how I’m feeling. The prompts vary, but it’s generally about my output (what I’ve done today) or my outcomes (what results have come in today).
  3. Tomorrow’s priorities: I flip to the next day of my planner, and I write down my top three actions for the next day. This is particularly important, because that sets up my ‘start of day’ routine for the next day (as you’ll see in the following section).
  4. Laptop shutdown: Once I have my top 3 tasks for the next day, I shut down my computer. YES, every day, I close all the tabs down. I shut down properly, and then close the lid of my laptop.
  5. Planner on top: My final step – I pop my planner on top of my laptop. I’m literally making it impossible for me to open my laptop the next day without picking up my planner.

My end of day routine is something that’s taken years to refine… but it works so well for me.

Why income tracking and journaling?

I track my income every day, because what gets measured, is improved. I believe it is one of the most critical influences on my income, because it allows me to notice my thoughts about my income and actions, and gives me juicy fodder for my journaling. (See previous podcast about income tracking if you’re not sure: tashcorbin.com/385).

I journal because I am someone who can get so hyperfocused on what I’m doing, I don’t stop and pay attention to how it feels, or the bigger picture. This gives me time and space to just stop and listen to my inner mentor, my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I have also spent a large portion of my life being told that my feelings and emotions aren’t valid, or aren’t correct – so this further ensures I am listening to myself and validating my feelings.

My planner and shutdown routine is a big productivity booster!

Why do I write tomorrow’s tasks and shut down my laptop every day?

Because when I do these consistently, I have a clear mind as I step away from my business. Every single day.

Writing down the next day’s priorities helps me to switch off for the day. If I don’t do that, I find myself thinking about tomorrow’s work – even when I am having dinner with Davey, or I’m out at the movies. Rather than just try and keep everything in my head, I ensure I get it down on the page. That way, if I have a pop-up thought of ‘Ooh I have to XYZ tomorrow!’ I can simply remind myself – it’s all sorted, it will be there tomorrow when I open my planner. Not only that, I literally CANNOT open my laptop without picking up my planner. This means I am going to see my most strategic tasks FIRST, and that means I am far more likely to prioritise those strategic tasks.

If you can’t shut down your computer… what does that say about your brain?

I’m neurodivergent, and I am someone who has a lot of ideas, and a lot of projects on the go.

But I also noticed two things:

  1. If I didn’t shut down my laptop regularly, it would get slow and glitch more often.
  2. My ‘open tabs and applications’ on my laptop reflected the same issue in my brain.

If I can’t shut down my computer, because I have too many things on the go, and that I need to remember – my brain is overloaded too. That’s when I have trouble sleeping, and when I have trouble being present with life outside of my business. There’s too much to remember – literally too many open tabs!

I want to be PRESENT with whatever I am doing. If I’m hanging out with friends, but my brain keeps drifting back to my business, I’ve left tabs open. I’m expecting my brain to remember things that should have been put into my plan, or passed onto my team, or documented in some way so I didn’t have to ‘remember’.

This routine doesn’t just boost my productivity, it sets me up for success.

PLUS – my partner David and I have a CEO date together each evening as well.

He is responsible for ensuring we do it, and we even have a template that we use. Usually straight after dinner, or as we are getting ready for bed, Davey gets his template out and we note down:

  1. My calendar for the day
  2. When he’ll feed me
  3. Our top three goals for the next day
  4. Things Davey can do to support me
  5. Our pump up theme for the next day

The types of things Davey can help me with vary – it could be that I need him to remind me to drink water, or to knock off at a certain time. Or it can be more practical, like I need him to collect the mail, or I have a certain item I want to wear to record a video. Our pump up theme might be a song, or a phrase – but something we can repeat to each other throughout the day to stay on track.

Is it over the top? Probably. 

Now I know that to most people, our CEO date probably sounds a bit cringey… but honestly, doing this together has really helped both of us feel more effective, successful AND supported.

  • We are both neurodivergent.
  • We are both chronic people pleasers.
  • But also, we both sometimes struggle with knowing how to be of best assistance to each other.

Before we worked out this routine, poor Davey would often over-engineer ways to try and help me, and would spend time doing things that I didn’t need or want, or he actually overcomplicated my day.

With this structure instead, Davey feels confident in how he contributes to our goals, and how he supports me. I feel so supported as a business owner, and as a partner. Our individual contributions to our shared goals are both so critical, and I want to ensure that he understands just how big the impact is of what he does.

In summary – I have my solo end-of-day routine in wrapping up my biz for the day, and then we also have our shared CEO date together.

My morning routine is also a productivity booster. 

In the mornings, I have a really beautiful little morning routine. But the most important thing to note first and foremost is that my morning routine is not exactly the same, every single morning. It’s certainly NOT at the exact same time each day, that’s for sure.

During the menstrual phase of my cycle, for example, I get up later. During the ovulation phase of my cycle, I get up as soon as I wake up, and sometimes that’s as early as 5:30am. That’s because during ovulation I’m naturally waking earlier, and during luteal, deep luteal and menstruation, I need a lot more sleep. I need that extra rest.

This is something I have come to learn only in the last five or so years, and I am so glad that I did! I’m not an expert on hormones, but learning the difference between the testosterone hormone cycle (daily) and the estrogen/progesterone cycle (monthly), I no longer subscribe to the assertion that I should have the same day each day.

I don’t have a 24-hour hormone cycle that’s the same each day.

Because I menstruate. So I don’t try to behave like I do!!!

I now recognise that most advice about morning routines actually comes from research that was conducted only on men. So it wasn’t actually created for people who menstruate or previously menstruated. So why would I follow that advice? Why would I take on that belief?

When I worked in corporate, I used to get so cranky at myself, because I could never sustain the morning routine that I had set for myself for more than a few weeks. I would set this intention to nail my morning routine, and wake up at the same time every day. I could sustain it for a couple of weeks, and then it would fizzle out. I would feel frustrated with myself, but I just couldn’t get it working long-term!

You know that saying:

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will always feel like a failure.

That’s how I felt trying to have that morning routine be at the same time every single morning.

In saying all of that, here’s my morning routine. There are some things that I do fairly consistently every morning, but the time and pace at which I do them is very different depending on my cycle.

  1. I have a warm lemon water each morning, Davey brings it to me in bed. (YES, I’m very spoiled.) I’ll drink that, and then take my meds before getting out of bed.
  2. We get up and go for a walk together with our dog Munchkin as our first thing most days.
  3. When I then sit down to get work done, I open my planner before I open my laptop, and if possible, I do my top 3 tasks that I noted the night before first, before I start anything else, check emails, or open social media.

That’s pretty much it!

I know this isn’t a ground-breaking morning routine – but we have made it work for us.

And that’s the most important thing! Being willing to try things, and experiment, to find what works for YOU, rather than subscribing to someone else’s perspective of what works, or what is best.

I know for the morning walk for example, it’s taken time for me to pay attention to what my body wants and needs. In certain parts of my cycle, I am not up for anything other than a dawdle down the nearest street and back. And that’s about it. But then there are certain times where I’m full of energy, and I want to go for a big long walk. I listen to my body when it comes to that morning walk and how much I really want to stretch myself.

I have also realised that when it comes to the way that I wake and start my day, I’m actually better off having a nice, gentle, slow start. That sets me up to have consistent energy throughout the day. If I get too much in my adrenals and challenge myself too much in the mornings, by 11am, my energy is starting to plummet. That has only come through experimenting and understanding my body, along with being willing to experiment with some of those different types of approaches.

I make it almost impossible to start my day distracted. 

As I shared in my evening routine, I set it up so I physically can’t open my laptop until I pick up my planner. That means I pick up my planner, I look at what my top three tasks are for the day, and if I don’t need to open my emails, or be online or have client calls straightaway, then I aim to get my top three tasks done first.

To get those top three tasks done as quickly as possible, I set timers. I love gamifying my task list. By making a game of how quickly I can do those tasks, I am more likely to get them complete quickly, and it also quiets my inner perfectionist. I don’t have time for perfection! I’m racing against the clock!

Now all of a sudden, my top priority tasks for the day are done.

If I have any appointments or meetings, that’s all I have to do for the rest of the day. If I do nothing else between my meetings, if I just flop down on the couch and watch some Netflix, or scroll through Instagram and watch funny dog video reels… I don’t feel guilty about that.

Because my day is done. I’ve done the things that I needed to do.

Not only that, the more that I’ve refined my task list down to my top three things each day, the more strategic those three tasks are. More and more consistently, those three things are all I need to do.

It’s such a powerful way for me to approach my day.

For example, today I am recording podcast episodes, but that wasn’t actually on my plan. But I had finished my top three tasks at 10 o’clock this morning, so now I’ve got some free time before I run a group call for one of my programs later this afternoon. I tuned into what I feel like doing, and I felt like recording a few podcast episodes. It was on my list to do them on Friday, but now I’m ahead!

This is how I feel most weeks. I’m ahead of the curve. I feel like I’m on top of it.

How many other online business owners can say the same thing for themselves?

Do you feel that every day? That you’ve succeeded? You’re ahead on your to-do list?

In my planning system, that’s a big goal we set together. Over the course of our year together, participants are learning how to structure their own days, their own morning and end of day routines… so that they can work out how to self-manage effectively, in a way that feels easy and joyful. I love nothing more than seeing someone go from consistently feeling behind and overloaded, to feeling far more effective, productive and successful. And without this becoming a sales pitch for the planner – here’s the kicker: Most people feel more successful, but they are actually doing LESS things each day. They are working fewer hours.

I love that I’m creating this movement of entrepreneurs who no longer end their day thinking “Oh my gosh, my to do list at the end of the day is bigger than it was at the start of the day!”

You don’t want to feel like a failure. You don’t want to feel like you’re behind, and that there are too many things to do, and not enough time to do them. That does NOT create a joyful experience of being a business owner. NO THANK YOU!

Why would we be business owners if that’s our daily experience?

Instead, we’re creating a movement of business owners who are feeling successful at the end of each day.

Who start their day knowing what their top three things are that they need to get done – and they do them. Because they’re joyful, and easy to get done. They’ve found ways to incentivise or gamify, and create a snowball of momentum, which is built on feeling successful every single day.

So powerful. So game changing. I absolutely love and adore it.

I hope that every business owner gets to experience that feeling, whether it comes from working with me in the planning system, or just creating that same sense of accomplishment at the end of the day for themselves.

If you’d like to play with some of the key elements of this system, I have some resources for you!

The first one is a quarterly planning template that will walk you through how to prioritise your focal points for 3 months – it comes with guidance on the process, and you can access it at:
tashcorbin.com/qplan.

The second is the link to jump on the waitlist for next year’s planning system: tashcorbin.com/planner
(Just in case a year of being successful sounds like a good idea to invest in for yourself … wink wink!)

Doors to each year’s planning posse open in October most years, so we can get the planners posted out in November, and start our year together in January.

Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of the podcast. I would love to hear and changes you’re going to make to your morning or end of day routine, or feel free to share some of the things you’d like to experiment with as a result of this conversation. Get in touch!  

And of course until next time, I cannot wait to see you shine.

Tash Corbin Business Mentor and Strategist