Starting a daily routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Having a routine brings so much structure to your everyday life and the benefits go far beyond just having a productive day.
When you have a routine in place, you are more organised, less stressed and working towards your goals and self improvement seems that much easier.
My days used to be all over the place. I was trying to juggle between so many work things without having a proper direction or idea of what I need to get done and how I will get it all done. And forget about having time for myself and working on my personal development goals.
But ever since starting a daily routine, I no longer worry about the things I have to do. But making a routine is not as simple as writing a to-do list and tackling it head on. Of course making a to-do list is one of the crucial steps to being more productive. But when you have no structure, you’re still planning to fail.
Imagine having a routine that works for you, instead. A routine that allows you to get things done and still have time to relax and unwind. That’s a routine you can actually stick to. I mean, I am all for the hustle, but I am so past working to a point of burning out. That’s just not my vibe anymore.
People romanticise hustle so much that taking a break seems like a waste of time. But I have learned that it is so important and is actually super productive as well. And having a daily routine that I can stick to makes sure I can rest as well along with being productive and achieving my goals.
WHY YOU NEED A DAILY ROUTINE:
Before we make a routine that works for us, the question is why do we need a routine. And well, the thing is, you already have a routine anyway. It’s what you do on the daily.
Whether it is waking up late, rushing to work and grabbing a bagel for breakfast. Or it is having control of what your day looks like, being intentional about your habits, working towards your goals step by step.
We all have days where we don’t have a lot on our to-do lists, so we often procrastinate on doing the tasks. How often do you tell yourself “Oh I can just chill for these many hours and get the work done later”. Only to be stressed later on and having your work stretch your sleep time as well.
But making a proper routine that you can stick to no matter what your to-do list looks like will help you have more structure and balance in your life.
HOW TO MAKE A DAILY ROUTINE:
Everyone’s daily routine is different because we are all different people and are at different stages in our lives. Our routines keep changing as our lives change. But the idea is to make a routine that works for you and that adapts to the changes in your daily life. Having that flexibility will make it easier for you to stick to the routine too.
Write your ideal routine:
I know you probably want to have an elaborate morning routine, a really productive day at work, have time to catch up with your friends after work, make yourself a home cooked meal, spend time with your family/kids, watch some television and get proper sleep too.
And I am not (right away) asking you to reconsider those things. For now, let’s write down what your ideal daily routine looks like.
Take a pen and paper and write down that you’d like to do on an ideal day.
Think of how you want to spend your mornings before going to work. Then write down what you want to do during your lunch break and after work hours.
While writing down your ideal routine think of the things you’d want to do everyday. And drinks with friends post work may not be something you want to do everyday, so leave that out.
For me, an ideal daily routine involves having time for myself in the mornings. Working on the blog during the day(without a lot of distractions), logging off work at a reasonable hour and spending time with my baby and husband in the evening. Cooking dinner and having it together as family and then spending some quality time with my husband (after the baby is asleep) before going to bed after doing my night routine.
Decide how much time you have:
We all want to do a lot with out time and days. But the fact is, we only have 24 hours in a day. And that’s where we start prioritising where we want to spend these 24 hours. And deciding how much time you have for your daily routine is an important step.
When you know how much time there is, you can choose where you want to spend it and plan your to-dos better.
For work things, even though I work from home, I always have a fixed time to log off work. It allows me to have a better balance between work and family time and gives me time to focus on other things like self improvement and personal growth as well.
Consider how much sleep, rest and relaxation you need to be your productive self. I always take into account cooking and eating times too. And then decide how much time you have in a day.
Consider your energy:
Some tasks are more draining than others. I am sure you often feel like you’re crashing in the afternoons. You feel lazy post lunch. And sometimes, you have the most important tasks of the day left for you to do at that time.
That’s why it is important to consider your energy as well. We are all human and not productivity machines. And we do not operate on the same energy level 24×7.
I often have the most energy in the mornings, maybe you have more energy at night.
Put those things into consideration because that will make scheduling and structuring your days so much easier and efficient.
Ideally, you want to schedule your most important tasks and meetings at times when you are your most productive self. And leave the easier to-dos for times when you’re low on energy like the post lunch hour.
Structure your day:
Simply writing your to-do list in the morning or the night before will not help you in being productive. Failing to structure and schedule your tasks will lead to chaos and you’ll end up wasting your time deciding what to do next.
Structuring your day helps you give more balance to your everyday and allows you to maintain a good balance between work, rest and family time as well.
Structuring my day essentially lets me know the flow in which things are going to go, no matter what I have going on in the day. So irrespective of my to-do lists and appointments, my days are mostly balanced and I am usually able to make time for things that matter to me.
Let me explain.
Focus on building sequences:
Life is quite unpredictable and if you are someone who loves have a routine and a plan for the day, may I suggest trying to build some sequences instead. A sequence usually means a logical flow in which things progress. So, for me it could look like going to the gym, then taking a shower and then having breakfast and starting with work after breakfast. For you, breakfast could come earlier.
The idea is to have a sequence that makes sense for you. Having a sequenced structure helps you start new habits more easily, because you’re essentially building new habits on top of the ones you already have. This also makes it more difficult to miss doing these new habits.
So for example; I want to start meditating and I usually always have my morning water in the balcony. So It makes sense for me to get to meditation right as I finish my water. This makes a sequence for me. Whenever we are trying to add on new positive habits to our day, think about when and where it’d make most sense to do that thing. If you want to start doing a speed declutter around the house, you can do it in your night routine after dinner or you could do so right after your morning tea/coffee.
Atomic habits & how they carry on in your day :
“Making a sequence of things you do daily” brings me to my next point, which is “atomic habits and how they carry on in your day”. Short story is that you need some atomic habits that have deeper impact in your life. One such habit could be working out everyday. Have you ever noticed how when you start working out, you become more conscious of what you consume as well?
And in order to build a life you truly love, you need to have a strong foundation at the atomic level. You need to have these habits in place so that you can add on other habits with these when you need to.
Make a schedule:
Once you have decided what you want to get done, how much time and energy you have and your priorities and have also made a sequence in which things would make sense, make a schedule for the day. You could either make a hourly schedule (I don’t) or divide your day in 3 sections (which is what I do). Having the day divided into 3 sections (morning, afternoon & evening/night) helps me manage my time better. I usually write my to-do list accordingly as well. I know the kids will nap in the afternoon and that’s when I get the most important tasks done that require my undivided attention.
But what suits me might not suit you, so make a schedule that works for you. Leave some room for flexibility, specially if you have little kids.
Stick to schedule & don’t waste time:
When it comes to actually executing what you have planned for the day, the best tip is to avoid procrastinating and simply get down to work. I know it is easier said that done, especially if you have the habit of scrolling social media for hours. time management is something that you need to master if you want to get anything done.
Here is my 14 day time management challenge that takes you through various tools that will help you manage your time better.
Celebrate-wind down everyday:
Having a routine that allows you to have some time to unwind at the end of the day is important. Leave room for things that you enjoy doing, even if it’s netflix. But you gotta have that self control to turn the TV off after watching 1 episode and not throw your routine out the window every time a show gets interesting.
I personally don’t watch a lot of tv, but I do enjoy reading books, decluttering and cleaning the house and that’s something that I do every night. Yes, that’s my way of relaxing, yours could look different. But I am always thinking about my future self and keeping her best interests in mind while making any decisions.
It’s something I started doing very recently and it makes sticking to a routine and adopting new good habits so much easier. Don’t want to clean the house before bed? Think about how the your future self would have to do it in the morning. Don’t want to workout? Think about how thankful your future self would be that you went.
It pretty simple really and once you get into the habit, it starts coming naturally to you as you become more mindful of your decisions on the daily.
If you are just starting out, I highly recommend having something fun planned for the evenings. Something that gets you excited to get things done during the day and something that you look forward to at the end of the day.
And that’s everything for this post. I hope you’ve found this post helpful and it helps you create a routine that you absolutely love and I hope you get to experience that magic that happens when you are consistent with a routine. 🙂