There is always a time when things feel like they are getting out of hand. When things slip through our fingers and fall to the wayside because we’ve overbooked ourselves or we didn’t remember to put it in our schedule. You all know I have done that and my goal is to fix it. Let’s look at routines and how they can help you and your schedule.
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Your daily routine if designed to create good habits in order to increase productivity. Important tasks are scheduled in to create the perfect flow for your day. Those that are of no value or a time waste are left out.
Having a good routine for your day allows you the fortune to say ‘no’ to request that enter your life as they come in. You may feel you’re always trying to be available for everyone whenever they want. When you have a routine, you know when you’re busy and when you’re available to enjoy a meeting with friends or go on that trip they’ve been bugging you about.
How to Create a Daily Routine
Step 1 – Make A List
As with balance, we have many things that need our attention. Here you will grab a sheet of paper and write down everything you feel you need to get done in any given day for home, personal and work. This is where you are going to brain dump, just get it all down no matter how big or small. If you are having trouble thinking of everything, take a week to write it down as you go, then continue this step.
Step 2 – Separate by Area
It may be pointless to group everything and then separate it into home and/or personal and work areas, but some people find it easier to just get it down rather than trying to think about each area on its own.
So, if you didn’t naturally separate your items into neat columns, here is your chance to do so.
Step 3 – Find your Pillar Points
Your main points are those that begin or end an every day event, such as the start or end of your work day, dinner time, bed time, etc. Things you know will be there at that time each day without fail. These are your Pillar points, think of them as stationary pillars where you are safe and secure in knowing exactly where you are and what you need to be doing at that point during the day.
If one of your Pillar Points is the start of work, then you know exactly what is expected of you, where you need to be, and what you are doing. If it’s dinner time, then you know this is time to sit and enjoy dinner without the interference of work or other things getting in the way.
Step 4 – Breakdown
Here you will break down your lists to things that should be done during specific times during the day. Usually, we work with three areas, morning, noon, and night.
Begin with Your Morning
There is no easier place to start than when you wake up in the morning. What things do you feel need to get done in the morning hours shortly after you awaken from a restful sleep. If this would be easier for you to keep as a list, do so. Others may find it easier to schedule everything out and give them time frames. Do whatever works best for you.
This would be the perfect time to add in anything you’ve been thinking of beginning or have been putting off starting, like exercising, meditation, or even making an actual breakfast instead of just grabbing a bar. You could want to get up earlier to squeeze in some quiet time with a cup of tea. Whatever you’ve got on your list for the morning, set it up here.
Continue with Your Afternoon
Everyone has things that are better left to the afternoon to address. Here is where those things would be placed, how you want to get them done. Perhaps you like to make phone calls, answer emails, run errands during your lunch break (don’t forget to eat lunch) or meet with a friend.
Whatever it is, place it here and organize it so that it is easily completed with the time that you have available. It may be difficult to fit in home items here if it’s a work day, but you may find ways to complete those by batch processing them, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Finish with Your Evening
Here are the things you want to get done before you lay your head down to sleep each night. Plan your day ahead, layout clothes for the next day, meditation, yoga, or whatever it is that you feel needs to be in your routine at the end of the day.
Remember these can be as detailed as you want. If it’s just a few notes outlining how you’ll do what needs to be done or time slots with your events in them, it’s truly up to you how you organize your routines.
Step 5 – Weekly Routine
Now that you’ve done your daily routine, let’s talk about your weekly routine.
You should now have areas in your morning, afternoon, and evening routines that could be filled with things that only need to be completed a few days a week. Remember not to create a routine that is overwhelming and only place things where they can go. Don’t try to fit more in than you can handle on any given day.
This is meant to assist you, create better habits and improve productivity, not create more chaos.
Step 6 – Flexibility
Everyone experiences times within their days, weeks, months, or even years where things just don’t go their way. Something comes up and we have to move things around, things don’t get done and we feel like everything is now piling up one on top of the other in a giant mountain of never ending tasks. You get my point.
While you are planning your routines, be sure to leave some areas where there is nothing. Yep, you read that right. Don’t put anything in so that you can be ready for those flukes that tend to happen and if you don’t have anything, use the time to spend on yourself. Listen to some music, meditate, enjoy something you love and relax. Who couldn’t use that at some point during the day? It’s like getting a nap without actually taking a nap.
Step 7 – Give it a Run Through
Have you ever started something and realized, it wasn’t just right? Here’s where you can fix that. Try out your routines for a week or two, jotting down any areas you feel need adjustments.
As with anything, creating routines for yourself comes with practice and sometimes we find out something would work better with a bit of rearranging. DON’T GIVE UP if you find something out of place, KEEP WORKING AT IT until you have a routine that works for you. It’s easy to set up routines, not so easy to stick to them and even harder to begin again when you quit, so don’t quit.
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Here are a few more things to think about as you create and work through your routines.
Here is that phrase again. It’s where you put like things together and do them on specific days, during specific hours. So if you find your time is better suited to make phone calls right after lunch, make them then. If you have time and have some home calls you need to make, go ahead and fit them in to this batch.
Note: Remember you don’t want to hurt your routine by getting things out of wack, but if you feel you can fit things together that are home and work related, while keeping them separate, so to speak, more power to you.
Think About You
Think about when you are most productive, when you work the best and group tasks and activities during those time frames. If you work best in the afternoon, do your most important tasks then. If it’s in the morning, get them done bright and early.
Bite The Bullet
Everyone has those tasks they hate to do and would like to put off until you feel they would disappear into the fabric of time, but that’s not the way the world works. Do the things you like least first, so it’s not looming over you like a storm could ready to unleash a downpour.
This may seem like you’ve heard it before, and you probably have, but get enough sleep each night. If you need to schedule times you wake up AND go to sleep, then do so. Nothing creates better productivity than a good nights sleep.
As with sleep, there are times during the day when things get stressful, frustrating, or even down right unbearable. This is the time when you need to find the time to relax. Take some time for yourself and focus on you. Write in a journal you keep at your desk, take a walk, read a book, take a bath if you’re home or it may be doing nothing at all. Whatever lets you melt away the stress of the day and find some you time.
Oh no, I’ve written it. Yes, we all need some form of exercise in our lives. It gives us fuel, gets our blood pumping and after doing it for a while, you’ll notice your energy levels rise. I certainly did. Who isn’t looking for more energy these days?
Find Your Rhythm
During your day, you want to find items that will be engaging and moving, while others are relaxing and soothing. If you’re able to, find a way to alternate you activities with things that keep you moving and those that allow you to calm yourself. Follow the flow, and you continue to cruise. Add these into your routines for better flow to your day.
Make sure you’re spending quality time with family and friends every day, eating dinner together, game night, or drink with friends. Find a way to spend quality time with those you love and keep those connections alive and running.
Find a way to disconnect from everything; business, computer, social media, etc. Shut it all down and don’t look at it as least once a week. Spend an evening without looking at any of it. You’ll be glad you did.
Take time to reflect and review your last few weeks. Notice your strengths and weaknesses, your pitfalls and achievements. What have you learned from them? And how do you want to move forward?
Once you have your routines, it’s easy to go from task to task as a flowing river over each rock. Turn everything you do daily and weekly into a habit that you no longer have to think about completing. When you no longer have to think about what’s next to do, you’ll begin freeing up space to do the things you’ve always dreamed of fitting into your schedule.
Take your time with this and don’t get discouraged. Keep working at it until you have a routine that works With you not against you.