Every day is an opportunity to do your best work, to learn something new, and to give value to the lives of those around you. I aim to do this every day, so I can put my signature on the efforts I do, and feel good about the impact I make daily. Hello, I’m Matthew Encina.
I work as a creative professional in beautiful Los Angeles, California. In a previous life, I was a designer, animator, and a creative director working on TV commercials. Now I teach and create content at The Futur, where I help creative professionals sharpen their skills and earn money, doing what they love.
While no two days are exactly alike I hope to share a glimpse of what the world looks like, through my lens. This is a typical day in my life.
I set my alarm every day at 6am… and a second one at 6:30. I don’t always get up on the first one, so I have a backup. I love the early mornings because I have the most energy, and space for myself.
Before anything, I must have coffee. I usually have coffee in one of two ways.
When I want Hot coffee, I use my Aeropress, which takes about 2 minutes to make.
When I want something chilled, I enjoy a smooth glass of cold brew, which I steep 8 hours overnight in my fridge. Most people say staring at a screen the
first thing in the morning is a terrible way to start your day. However, I find
because of the quality of the people I follow I’m often inspired, learn new
things, and can engage in some stimulating dialogue. This helps to wake
up my brain and gets me ready for the next part of my morning.
Once I’m fully awake and caffeinated, I work out my mind or my body. Most days
I’ll head to the gym where I lift weights, rock climb, or do calisthenics.
Working out helps me to keep mental clarity because of all the mood-boosting
chemicals that are released in the process. I know in the long run I’d like
my body to be as sharp as my mind so I make sure to work out at least three to
five times a week to stay healthy. On the day’s I don’t work out my body I stay in
and right to work out my mind. Writing helps bring order to the chaos of my
thoughts. It gives form to what I’ve been thinking
about and helps me clarify my ideas. Lately, I’ve been thinking and writing
a lot about my creative career how I got here, and the process behind it. That’s
because I had to give a talk on the subject recently at a local event. So
it’s been on the top of my mind. After my morning workout I do a quick check of my
email before I head into work. This helps me understand if there are any urgent
matters that have popped up, to help me frame and organize my day.
I usually roll into work around 10:00 a.m. on Monday we do all of our weekly planning so the
entire team can use the rest of the week to work. As one of the managers here I
lead the discussion on what needs to get done for the week. Recently, we’ve been
using these meetings to run Design Sprints to focus on improving the user
experience on the digital products we sell. Design sprints are a facilitated
way of problem-solving and innovating using the collective brainpower of a
group. It was developed that Google years ago, and has been popularized by Jake
Knapp’s book. I’ll leave more resources about this in
the description if you want to learn more. After I’m done meeting with the
team, I recollect my thoughts and plan out my own week. I crack open Notion, my
favorite organization tool, to manage my to do’s for the week. This includes the
content I need to produce, people I need to follow up with, and plan for a little
time to chip away at some of my long-term goals. Monday mornings are when I get the most email. And if you’ve seen one of my previous videos you, know how easy it is to get sucked into a black hole of wasted time… sorting and
responding to your inbox. To save time I use email templates to help me respond
faster to common inquiries. And to manage all of my meetings and calls I use an
app called the Calendly. It’s a link that I send out to people so that they can
book time with me whenever I have an opening. This syncs with all of my
calendars, so I spend less time coordinating appointments and avoid
double-booking a timeslot. One of my favorite times of the day is lunch.
Luckily here in LA we have so many good food options– especially if you’re trying
to eat healthy. My usual go-to is a well-prepared protein with vegetables on
the side. When I get back to the office I prepare for a long afternoon of deep
work. Before I start I make another cup of coffee to fight the 3 p.m. energy
slump. We have the Chemex at work and I usually make enough for me and a
co-worker. Focus ,focus, focus. From the afternoon till the end of the day, I
focus on writing and making content. Wy role as the chief content officer at The
Futur is to lead the editorial team, produce content, and help create the
curriculum for the educational products we sell. This takes a lot of brainpower
to do so I close my door and run a few focused sprints in 90-minute blocks. This
helps me get my work done uninterrupted from my co-workers, and free from the
distraction of the internet. At 5:00 p.m. music plays on the overhead speakers.
This is a cue for the entire company to step away from their work and take a
break together. This helps break up the day and spur up some camaraderie with
the team. One of our favorite activities at the moment is to play Super Smash
Brothers on Nintendo Switch. When I return to my desk I check my email
once again to see if there’s anything I need to respond to. I also spend time
here responding to people in the community. I reply to comments on our YouTube
videos, and answer questions in our private Facebook and Slack groups. For
the rest of the day if I still have creative juice in me, I do one more
sprint of work to wrap up any lingering to-do’s, and close any open thoughts.
During this period I also review the work of my team and give them feedback.
So when they come in the next day they have a clear direction on what to do
next. I usually end my day around 7 or 8 p.m. When I get home I like to cook. It
helps me to relax because it has nothing to do with my busy day. It helps me to
empty my mind and focus on making a good meal. On days when I’m completely spent,
I order takeout Los Angeles has some of the best diversity in food, and we’re quite
spoiled, because every place in town delivers. I usually like to close out my
day playing an hour of video games or catching up on a show. This helps me
detach and escape from thinking about work. It allows me to slow the momentum
of my thoughts and spend some quiet time with my wife. Sometimes she likes to draw during the evenings, which is perfect because I like to chill on the couch.
Once my energy and thoughts have slowed down, I head to bed. I set my alarm and do it all again the next day. And that’s a day in my life. The composition of the
days don’t always look like this. I like to spend one or two days of the week
working from home, or out of the office. Breaking up the regular routines help
me refocus and introduce new stimuli from other environments. If you’re
interested in learning more about how I organize my life or about my creative
process, let me know in the comments, and if you have questions, ask, and I’ll do my
best to answer them. If you’re curious about anything I spoke about in the
video, I’ve left links and resources for you in the description below.
With that out of the way, it’s time to get back to work.