my new system for having a great day

In inspiration, product management, productivity by Jay Clouse

As you may expect, writing a daily newsletter has its challenges. Most days, I literally write the piece in the evening right before going to bed.

A ton of people ask me how far in advance I write. And, sincerely, the answer is “hours.”

I did this for a couple reasons (or so I told myself):

  1. I wanted to be able to immediately read the piece into Anchor so that it was available for listeners to open the email and click “listen to Anchor.” But since Anchor segments only last for 24 hours, it’s pretty time sensitive and worked out best to record in the evenings.
  2. It’s hard to write every day! I thought by spending all day thinking about it, I’d better be able to come up with ideas to write about.

What I found was that by having that daily deadline looming, and putting off writing until evening, my days were stretching long. I’d spend over an hour in front of my screen trying come up with the thing to write about and finally close up around midnight.

As my days stretched longer, I felt like I was working all the time. Which makes sense – my last activities before bed were work and my first activities waking up were work.

Recently, I’ve started to get ahead of things. I still don’t often get days ahead, but I’ve begun making writing my first priority. I’m more fresh in the morning, it’s easier to be creative, and if it doesn’t come right away, I exercise. During exercise (which is sort of my meditation) I often find some inspiration.

But here’s the real win of writing early in the day or even days before: I still fill out the quality and wins for the day.

I’ve been doing this for months as another system to reinforce and celebrate the positive progress I’m making on a daily basis, as well as share some inside baseball with you all. And by pre-emptively writing how good my day is as well as the wins, two things happen:

  1. I’m not going to start my day by setting an expectation of a Bad day. What kind of attitude is that? So, I rate my day as Good or Great.
  2. I record the most important task of that day as a win. Now I’ve set my focus.

I know that as long as I live out a Great day and accomplish that task, I don’t have to go back into MailChimp and edit the email. Crazy, right?

But you can do the same. This comes down to 1.) mindset and 2.) focus. You can create a system like mine, or you can try and exhibit discipline.

But the bad news: I’m no longer linking Anchor to these emails. To my friends who were listening to Anchor from this email, I apologize.

I haven’t ruled out continuing to audio record, but I’ll likely do so in the morning for that morning’s email, and I can’t promise the timing will be at the same time that the email is shipped. So, I’d recommend creating an Anchor account and just following me there.


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