Offering Flexibility Can Maximise Life Engagement

I’ve always been an early bird. Ever since the corporate world came along and swept me up off my feet I have woke early. I have always blamed online marketing as the reason for this. What other career do you have numbers, ideas and techniques all flowing through your brain at once? It’s enough to make anyone wake up suddenly from a hot sweat.

But in all seriousness when I tell my friends what time I start work sometimes at 5:45am their faces fill with dread. ‘But why?’ They ask. The answer is simple; it works!

Monday through Wednesday I wake at 5:15-:5:30 and start work between 5:45-6am. I stay in bed a little later Thursday-Friday but still manage to start before 7am.  Partly this is due to working with an organisation on a different time zone (+7 GMT for those interested) but the main reason is for productivity and designing my life to maximise everything I do. There are four main things I want to maximise in my life.

  1. Full Time Work
  2. Gym Time
  3. Blog Time
  4. Family/Friends Time


These four activities craft who I am, particularly Monday – Friday. These are what drive me forward and are the four key components which mold me as an individual. Sounds dramatic? I guess it is a little.  I spend hours talking to friends about my sites, what I do and how I work. They seem interested when I mention the fantastic opportunities which stem from my work and seem to want to do the same. As soon as I mention the time I put into it I’m met with the same answer.

‘I haven’t got time for that’.

My answer?

‘Everyone has time…..just no desire’.

How do I find time?

I simply wake early. This morning when you were in the land of nod I had started my day job. 6 am to be precise. I was typing away and making things happen. This is the only way I can maximise all the areas of my life I want to be great at to make me a better person and achieve what I want to achieve in life. Here’s a rundown of my schedule, granted this isn’t a daily occurrence but when I’m fully on song this is a typical day.

**Typical productive day, not all like this **
5:40am –
Wake Up, Super Fast shower, coffee & breakfast at my desk
6am –
Start Work
10:30am –
11:30am –
12 – 3:45pm –
Continue Work
4pm – 6pm –
6pm – 7pm –
Spend time with family
7-8pm –
Prepare dinner
8-10pm –
Spend time with the partner.
10pm –

But what if I can only start work at 9am?

Use your time as a road map for your life. Can only start work at 9am? Hit the gym in the morning. Struggle to blog on a night time? Blog before work or on your lunch break. If you have goals you want to achieve then there’s nothing stopping you but yourself. Be motivated and tailor, cut and alter your day around what you want to achieve.

Why an early bird routine?

If you’re fortunate to work in a position which allows flexible working then I recommend the early bird routine. Even if you have to travel to your office then I still recommend it. It’s a well known fact that a lot of the industry’s leading exec’s start work early. Wasn’t it the late Benjamin Franklin who said ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’? He was right you know.

I can’t for give you Benjamin’s reasons for this statement but I can give you mine. I’m sure they are pretty similar.

Nobody really does anything mid week:

Unless your leading an unconventional lifestyle or are still a student then it’s a true fact that nothing really happens mid week. Everyone is in the work zone. We usually go home, get our PJ’s on and watch TV. Occasionally you may do something but if you do it’ll most probably be a Thursday night to back onto the Friday.

Use this to your benefit and start to accomplish the things you want to achieve deep down. Get up an hour earlier and go to bed an hour earlier. Hit the ground running and keep on running. Video games are awesome but they won’t help you achieve those life goals so put the controller down and hit the sack.

Less Interruptions:

Mornings are quiet. Most people are doing what you are doing right now and sleeping. Fewer emails enter your inbox and generally it’s silent so you can get more work done. This doesn’t matter whether you are home based or office based as your work colleagues will still be persisting with the 9-5 grind schedule. Most are shrinking violets and won’t even consider been the wall flower and asking for a change in working hours. Be the big man/women (metaphorically)

Work Interruptions

Maybe this dude is waiting to Interrupt you?

There is nothing worse than noise when you are trying to write a strategy document, especially if you are office based. Use the early morning time to your advantage. It also serves as great motivation for the rest of the day ‘Shit I’ve just written a strategy document and its 9am….rock and roll!’

Less distractions = more productivity. Use the early morning hours to steal a march.

Productive Morning:

I’m a firm believer in nailing the majority of your working hours in the morning ‘stint’. It’s common that people are less productive in the afternoon. Whether this is tiredness creeping in or the after affects of a lunch time binge. Whatever it is you’re certain to feel more tired in the afternoon.

Most of us, especially on our day jobs work 8 hour days. My theory is to work 4 ½ to 5 of those hours before your lunch break and leave the remaining 3- 3 ½ hours until after lunch. The next step I suggest is getting your important things out of the way in the morning. Strategy documents, client reports, emails to senior management and so forth should all be prioritised and completed in the morning when you are full of caffeine and as fresh as a daisy.

The afternoon then can be used for other things. Meetings, general admin. Less taxing jobs on your body and mind. Productive mornings equate to productive days. If you have an unproductive morning the chances are your full day will be unproductive one.

Finish Work Earlier:

In a previous lifetime (or it feels that way) I worked for a Digital Agency. Standard 9-5:30pm hours with rush hour traffic home from work then an immediate gym session. I wouldn’t get home until 8pm. By that time I couldn’t be bothered to eat anything which took longer than 20 minutes to cook and talking to my girlfriend was firmly at the back of my mind. Life wasn’t fun.

Since my change in role and the introduction of flexible working hours I finish work earlier, gym has already been completed at lunch time and my time after work is my own time. This allows me to spend that time how I wish. I choose to blog until 6, prepare dinner and spend time with the loved one.   This is all possible due to my ‘start early’ mentality. This strategy is not just for those with flexi working hours, not at all. You can use the early mornings to complete some other things on your ‘life’ to do list. Use your time effectively and stop making excuses, they fool no one.

If flexi hours are possible however grasp them with two hands. Leaving work early gives you more time to do things you have a passion for or have more structure to complete those life goals.

Morning Glory:

There’s many out there who burn the midnight oil to fulfil all their daily aspirations but I’m more of a morning glory type of guy (Ooo’er). But in all seriousness, your brain is more active in the morning hours rather than late at night. Why not activate that brain a little earlier and use the evening to relax and recuperate from the day? None of us are ‘morning people’ or ‘night owls’, it takes a little training. Don’t dismiss the option before it occurs. Trial working early for a week and see how you get on.

Do you have four things you want to maximise in your life? How does your working schedule help accelerate this? How could a change to that schedule help you even further?


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About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.


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