I thrive on structure, particularly in my mornings.
With so much I want to accomplish in a day, I don't really have a choice. I can either be strict with how I spend my time, or I don't get what I want done. It's that simple.
The morning routine is the embodiment of this. By the time I've started work for the day, I'll have been up for three hours and already knocked most of my most important tasks off of my to-do list.
This means waking up at 5am. And when I tell people that, I usually get looked at like I'm insane. Why wake up so early?
It's simple. My motivation and discipline is highest in the morning and wanes over the day. Either my job gets my high-discipline hours, or I get them.
I choose to use them for myself.
Are there sacrifices I have to make to make that happen? Of course. Waking up at 5am means going to bed at 9pm. That can definitely interfere with socializing sometimes, but overall it's been easy to accommodate.
My morning is filled with coffee, walking the dog, journaling, reading, and planning my day. These are non-negotiable. Depending on where my focus is for the month, the remaining time goes into creating crap or learning something new. No matter what, I'm able to say that I've accomplished something important to me before most of my day has even started.
Short term, that sense of accomplishment is like a shot of nitrous oxide into the engine. It's the flywheel that keeps me going through the day. Long term, it's like compounding interest.
Do you get your productive hours, or does your employer?