I developed this “ideal” daily routine (for me) to address the goals of learning about healthy habits, improving my sleep quality, reducing back pain and enhancing my diet – while also prioritising productivity at work and overall well-being. I try to follow this routine as closely as possible 🙂 but there are times when it’s not feasible. Let’s see!
7-8 h. Wake up at the same time every day. Establishing a consistent wake-up time can improve sleep quality.
8-9 h. Start working: check emails, read papers, organise the day. To maintain high energy levels and prevent a caffeine crash later in the day, it’s important to minimize caffeine intake and wait at least an hour after waking up before consuming it. This allows the body to naturally release cortisol, a hormone that regulates energy levels, before introducing external stimulation. Additionally, choosing decaf coffee can help reduce overall caffeine intake.
9-11 h. Breakfast (including coffee) and long walk (outdoors). Have a nice healthy breakfast to fuel the day to come. I enjoy my decaf coffee at this point. Also, getting sunlight exposure in the morning can help improve sleep quality, boost vitamin D levels, and enhance mood. Additionally, taking a long walk (around 2 hours) can be a great form of exercise and promote overall well-being.
11-14 h. Focused work. These three hours are likely to be the most productive work hours, as one has ample energy from the morning routine – that includes breakfast, coffee, outdoor walk, and shower. By prioritising important tasks during this time, you can make the most out of your energy to achieve your daily goals.
14-15 h. Lunch and (optional) short power nap. Lunch should include a balanced mix of carbohydrates (25%), protein (25%) and vegetables (50%) to provide your body with essential nutrients and energy required to sustain focus throughout the afternoon (rough percentages according to my nutritionist). If you do need to take a nap, it’s recommended to limit it to 20-30 minutes and avoid napping too close to bedtime – since it can interfere with night-time sleep and disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
15-17 h. Focused work. I schedule my meetings and other collaborative work during the afternoon, once I’ve completed most of my important tasks of the day.
17-17:30 h. Take a break, eat a fruit or two, stretch and move. Sitting for prolonged periods can have negative effects on health, so it’s important to take regular breaks to stand up, stretch and move around. Avoid eating food after this time, as it may disrupt your sleep. Late-night eating can interfere with the body’s natural sleep cycle.
17:30-19:30 h. Focused work. I use this time to wrap up any remaining meetings, launch experiments, and send emails to close out the day. Note that due to the nature of my work, I require a time overlap with the American timezone – which is why I need to work until “late” hours.
19:30-22h. Have fun. After work, prioritise spending time with friends/family and engaging in activities that you enjoy. This time should be reserved for relaxation and disconnecting from work-related stressors, which can help you recharge, boost your mood, lower stress levels, and enhance overall well-being, which can ultimately improve your focus and productivity at work.
22h. Prioritise sleep. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and create a sleep-conducive environment (lights and temperature down!). Engage in relaxing activities such as reading, listening to podcasts, taking a warm bath or stretching. Avoid using screens before going to bed!