James Manske

Manske, owner of Elkhorn Lawn Care, says starting the day with the most important tasks gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Photo courtesy of James Manske

For James Manske, owner of Elkhorn Lawn Care in Omaha, Nebraska, morning routines are taken care of the night before. That includes checking the calendar for what’s on tap for tomorrow and mentally preparing for the next day’s activities.

“By laying out a plan in advance, I am prepared for what I need to wear, what I need to focus on and complete the following day,” he says. “This allows me to wake up, shower, change and head to the office in a timely manner without any distractions or clutter in my mind.”

Here’s Manske’s average day.

During the week, I typically do not eat breakfast. I will grab a protein bar and some fruit on my way out the door. For me personally, I have never been a breakfast person unless on vacation or weekends. I find that I would much rather be productive and start my day as quickly as possible.

My commute to my office typically takes around 10 minutes. While traveling, I listen to our local AM radio station to catch up on any current news. This is not so much about the news but more so a time to understand what is going on in my community and nationally that will help to spark ideas on what to focus on or shift toward.

I typically will arrive at my office around 6 a.m. in the summer months and 7 in the winter months. My very first task is to have my daily morning caffeine intake and start to go through the most important emails from the prior day.

Focusing on the most important “to-do” for the day first sets the standard for the rest of my day. By completing this task, it provides a sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning that continues throughout the day. If you wait to complete these important tasks, you will constantly have the thought in the back of your mind and be more susceptible to keep pushing it back.

Lunch is rarely at the same time each day. Depending on my schedule it may range from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I tend to pick meals based on convenience or by dining out with prospective clients, networking with new individuals or staff members. This allows me to be as productive as possible while on a “break.”

Depending on my schedule and time of the year, I may leave the office anywhere from 5 to 11 p.m. This wide range is based on many factors including afterhours meetings with management team members or clients, or simply if there is an important task or deadline.

While commuting home, I tend to listen to business podcasts or audible books. This helps me to start shifting my mind away from business and into personal development and knowledge.

For me, there is no difference between weekdays and weekends. Every day still ends in a “Y” and I can be efficient for any or all days of the week. That being said, I still plan events, travels, dinners etc. during weekdays and not just on weekends. Once I truly understood this, I started realizing that every day of the week should be celebrated as well as a day to work toward my overall goal. They are all the same for each and every one of us and should not be taken for granted.

My thought process early on was to be available to my clients and employees no matter what day of the week or time it was. If a client is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with our organization, I want to give them the best service in the industry above all of our competition. Your value-add is one of the biggest propositions you can provide to any client, and this is what truly sets you apart.

To wind down each night I typically read for at least one hour before bed. This is my relaxing time of the day where I can expand my mindset and also decompress from the day. Sleep usually comes afterwards which may range from 10 to midnight.

March 2022
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