What is Your Routine?
Winston Churchill produced incredible work while maintaining balance in his life. So, how did he find time to do it all?
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was a relentless worker, writing over 30 books, countless articles and speeches, and leading Great Britain during WWII. His days were consumed with writing, as well as finding time to take a strict one-hour nap and two baths, with the water temperature at exactly 98 degrees. He also enjoyed nightly parties with friends full of fine wine, whisky and champagne. Churchill produced incredible work while maintaining balance in his life. So, how did he find time to do it all?
Churchill devised a daily routine that fit him perfectly. He would rise at exactly 8 a.m. and eat breakfast in bed, with newspapers from all over the world and a secretary to handle his dictation. The moment he ripped off his black eye shield, welcoming the morning light, he went to work. Churchill followed two principles each day, one acquired from Napoleon. The first was strength of force in the most important places. The second was economy of effort. Churchill understood what was important and urgent, and invested his time each morning in those areas.
After his mid-morning bath, Churchill went to his study to continue his work, and at lunch, he always had someone to share a meal with who could keep him up to speed on British affairs. Once it ended, Churchill took a nap, followed by another bath. Economy of effort allowed him to hit his stride in the evening, and he constantly dictated well into the night after his dinner parties were over. If he didn’t have over 2,000 words to review in the morning, he felt he’d be unable to sleep.
Churchill’s routine fit his rhythms. For us to maximize productivity, we need to devise a routine that suits ours. We must first answer the question: Where should we place our strengths? Then, how can we economize and maximize our efforts? Jeff Bezos, for example, will not make decisions or have afternoon meetings as he feels his strength of force fades at that time. Thus, he schedules all his critical meetings in the morning when his energy and concentration levels are at their highest.
Increasing our productivity can easily occur when we develop our routine and protect our time with great care. It’s our first step toward becoming as prolific as Churchill.