The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. – Mike Murdock
Routines make our daily lives easier. They are crucial for effective time management because they give structure to our day, allowing us to make life a tad bit easier. Sometimes, though, developing routines can be a bit tricky, so I’m here today to help you create and carry out the perfect routine for you and your best life.
The Mission: BEST LIFE series will be continuing through the month of April, so if you want to be sure you never miss a post, feel free to sign up for my email list below. I have many more self-improvement posts coming your way that you won’t want to miss!
Or, if you prefer, you can follow along via WordPress as well. This way you will see my posts every Sunday in your WP reader.
Alright, here’s 6 steps to creating a systematic and productive routine that you will have you waking up excited to go about your day.
creating your ideal day.
1. list out everything you need to do on a daily basis
The first task of creating your routine is to display all of your daily “must-dos” in front of you with the amount of time each of them takes to complete. This is essential to making sure you don’t forget any important components in your schedule or overlap events.
Here are some great places to start:
- set non-negotiable wake-up and bedtimes (Related: Why You Should Wake Up and Eat at the Same Time Everyday)
- eat breakfast/lunch/dinner (estimate time taken to cook as well)
- block out time spent at work/school (note: if you’re homeschooled, try setting a strict starting time for school work to add that element consistency even though your work time is more on your terms.)
- morning/evening commute (average how long this usually takes)
- daily mundane tasks: hygiene, dishes, laundry, house tidying
2. incorporate your goals into your daily schedule
If you were present for my last post, The Step-By-Step Guide to Living your Dreams & Achieving Greatness, then you remember I talked about breaking down your life goals into achievable baby steps. These can be tasks or good habits and are important to schedule into your daily life so you continue to make progress on your goals with daily.
Some of these tasks/habits in my routine include:
- reading a chapter or 2 a day (Related: The Benefits of Reading)
- daily exercise/walking
- practicing self-care
- meditation (I recently started meditating right after I wake up in the mornings and I’ll admit, it feels pretty darn great and helps to prep me mentally for my day. I recommend it 1000%)
- listening to podcasts/audiobooks
- downtime (it’s more essential then you realize. Be sure to schedule some in your evening routine)
3. prioritize & weed unnecessary tasks
The next step is pretty straightforward: get clear on your priorities and cut tasks that aren’t necessary to do on a daily basis. You want to make sure you aren’t jam-packing your schedule because that will only cause you to stress and overall complete less.
If there are still tasks you would like to add to your routine but don’t seem realistic to do on a daily basis, try scheduling them for once a week on a Sunday. That way they’ll still get done but not stress you out by cramming them into your limited 24-hour day.
implement your new routine.
4. give it a go (but expect some trial and error)
After you have your routine set in stone, start carrying it out and simply see how it goes. A great way to see where you could use improvement is to use a time log to track where your time is going in 30-minute increments. This will pinpoint when and why you’re more likely to get off track or procrastinate so you can adapt your routine accordingly.
I know the idea of tracking your entire day can seem a bit daunting, but it ain’t rocket science. There are only two things you need to track: your actions, and your energy (you’ll use your energy tracking in the next step).
Set a reminder on your phone for every 30 minutes and take a minute to jot down those two things – really that’s all you need to do. The purpose is to help you identify where you need to edit your routine, not to stress you out. Give it a go, and if it doesn’t work out, try, try again.
5. know your BPT (Biological Prime Time)
In one of my favorite self-help books, The Productivity Project, the author discusses how important it is to accomplish your high-impact tasks (meaning the tasks that are going to make a positive, long-term impact on you and your dream life) during your Biological Prime Time or BPT.
Your BPT is the time of day you are most energized and productive. By tracking where your time goes, you will be able to identify when your unique BPT is and schedule your highest impact tasks for that time of the day. It may take a few days of tracking to determine, but once you do, you’ll be able to really amp up your productivity game.
6. creating your weekend “routine”
My weekends tend to be too hectic for a daylong routine, but I keep my morning and evening rituals the same, meaning I wake up and go to bed at the same times all seven days of the week. Consistency in your sleep routine will help you stay more energized throughout the day, plus makes it easier to wake up and feel refreshed on weekdays (which is easier said than done).
I use my Sundays to execute my weekly tasks. I call them my G.Y.S.T. days, aka Get Your Shiznit Together days (genius, I know). This is a great way to prime yourself for the new week and start Monday feeling prepared and rather than panicked.
Utilize your BPT hours during your weekend to get work done, but use your low energy hours to rest up. Watch a little TV, take a nap, dial up a friend. After your productive week, you deserve it! You need to be rested and prepared for the week ahead – remember that. It will make the week ahead a whole lot less mentally draining.
other tips to keep in mind:
- utilize the time you spend on your daily commute by listening to an educational podcast or audiobook
- schedule in 15-30 minutes between tasks for when life throws you the wild card
- reward yourself when you successfully complete your routine (dark chocolate, watching an episode of The Office, and hanging out with friends are a few my personal favorite rewards)
- read self-help books like The Productivity Project and The Power of Habit for more ideas on how to create an effective and productive daily routine (Related: 5 Self-Help Books That Will Get You Hooked on the Genre)
Being creatures of habit, we love routines. They give us the elements of consistency and structure that we need in order to retain our sanity with all we have to do in our days. It is important to not only schedule in our daily “must-dos,” but also our daily habits that are in line with how we want our dreams to be because we must work at our goals every day in order to reach our best life.
By tracking where our time goes, we can identify when our productivity and brain power is at its peak and when it’s at it lows and adjust our routines accordingly. Remember, making routines is a science that will get easier with practice as you continue to learn what works best for yourself. Keep experimenting and getting stuff done, and your life will start to change for the better.