I know your life is busy. I know you’re juggling a million and one things while trying to stay on top of your seemingly endless to-do list. Sure you enjoy the hustle (most of the time!) and you also thrive on the challenge. But sometimes you wonder if there was an easier way to get it all done.
Good news — there is.
And it’s called your daily routine – a simple, yet powerful practice that high-achievers and peak performers use to manage a crazy workload and avoid overwhelm. Best of all, it’s a practice you can use too.
This time-tested practice involves more than ticking off the items on your to-do list. Instead, setting a routine inspires you to establish helpful habits which lead to greater levels of success and a more meaningful life. In fact, it’s a practice that can help you achieve your goals, juggle multiple balls, and make your success inevitable.
So if you’re curious to develop a daily routine that works for you keep reading because this article will show you how.
Here’s why your daily routine is a non-negotiable success habit
A routine is simply the set of habits that help you get things done. In other words, habits that you feel compelled to do (often on autopilot) because things feel amiss if you don’t. [Ever gone to bed without cleaning your teeth!]
Chances are, you already have a routine. True, you may not have consciously designed it, but there are likely a set of steps you take to get yourself ready for work or get the kids off to school.
The secret is to intentionally create a routine that helps you switch on your A-game so you can fire on all cylinders, switch on productivity like a tap, and stay on top of your goals and commitments.
But why is it routines work so well for this?
Check out these scientific reasons:
Firstly, a daily routine helps you cut down on wasteful multitasking and decision fatigue. If you follow a repeatable structure, you can work through essential tasks while spending less mental energy in the process.
Secondly, a routine guides you to focus on one task at a time. Multitasking is one of the greatest productivity lies. Doing multiple things at once doesn’t get stuff done faster. Instead, it drains your mental energy leaving you with less bandwidth for dealing with more complex issues later.
Thirdly, routines are vital to our development as humans. If you’re a parent, you’ll know that kids thrive on routines — but did you know that adults do too? A routine helps build confidence, organization, and self-control making us better equipped to deal with the demands of modern life.
It’s why plenty of top performers swear by them including:
- Winston Churchill woke up at 7:30 am and stayed in bed to eat breakfast, catch up on the news and dictate to his assistants. By 11:00 am, he’d head out to take a walk and start work for the day (always with a whiskey and soda!). At 1:00, he’d take a break for lunch and often play cards with his wife until 3:00 pm. After working for a few more hours, he’d take a quick 30-minute nap at 5:00 pm to recharge in time for dinner and drinks with friends at 5:30 pm. At midnight, he’d squeeze in an hour of reading before heading to bed.
But that’s just one man. Mason Currey has compiled the daily habits of some of the world’s most successful people in his book, “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work”. For example:
- Maya Angelou would wake up at 5:30 am, have coffee with her husband a 6:00 am, and be off to work by 6:30am in a small hotel room she reserved for writing only. By 2:00 pm, she’d wrap up for the day and head home to re-read her work, disconnect, and prepare dinner.
- Novelist John Grisham wakes up at 5 a.m. in order to arrive at his home office desk by 5:30 so he could write one page before heading to his day job as a lawyer.
- Toni Morrison drinks a cup of coffee and watches the sun come up before she sits down to write.
How to create the right daily routine for you
The most effective daily routines are those that are designed to help you stick to good habits and achieve your goals.
With a finite amount of time in your day, high-performers know they have to leverage their minutes to cultivate focus and concentration to get everything done.
And it’s not about mastering a monster to-do list alone.
The right daily routine should create time and space in your day for everything that’s important to you. So as well as creating focused time for work, your daily routine should consider your health and wellbeing, your relationships, your hobbies, and anything else that lights you up. If you fail to make time for these things there’s a good chance they won’t happen — and that won’t lead to a happy or fulfilled life.
Your daily routine is also about prioritising. High-achievers know they can’t do everything. It’s why they prioritize their workload to ensure there’s time (and bandwidth) to get the most important stuff done.
So when it comes to creating a daily routine that works for you, the first step is to figure out what’s most important to you.
Get clear on all your priorities (and your goals) and you can get clear on the habits needed to make it all happen
For example, let’s say you want to achieve the following:
- Daily power walks to boost your health
- Regular journaling to clear your mind and cultivate self-awareness
- Time to prepare ‘proper’ food from scratch
- Quality time with your children
- Nurture your mind by reading more
- Date time with your partner
- Focused time to write the book you’ve had in your head for years
As well as sufficient time to plough through all your work/business related tasks and to-dos.
It sounds like a lot, but it all becomes possible when you create a daily routine — and stick to it. For example, you might:
- Timetable a daily power walk after you’ve completed the school run
- Put aside 30-minutes to journal when you’re back from your walk
- Timetable a one-hour slot to work on your book
- Schedule an uninterrupted block for building your business/work time
- Include a buffer here to allow yourself to switch from work to home mode
- Finish work by 5pm – no excuses – so you can prepare food
- Spend quality time with your children until their bedtime
- Read for 30-minutes before you go to bed
What might a daily schedule look like for you?
Stay disciplined around a flexible routine
You won’t get results from your daily routine unless you stick to it, sounds obvious, but life will throw those unpredictable spanners into the works. It’s why you want to get your schedule out of your head and onto paper using a tool such as the SELF Journal.
Practice timetabling your day to get everything done and you’ll increase the likelihood of making it all happen.
Writing it down also helps you to reflect on your scheduling choices too. So don’t be afraid to admit if something isn’t working. If you haven’t giving yourself enough time to connect with your employees or get your busy work done, you can adjust your timings. If you’re consistently missing your power walk, develop a new plan.
As with any road map, your daily routine is a learning curve that can grow with you. So periodically switch and shake things up to ensure your daily routine empowers you to show up as your best self.
Your daily routine can become a game-changer if you use it to get organized, get more stuff done, and fit in more of the things that matter.
So start today.
Make a list of what you want to create for yourself — then schedule your day using a tool such as the SELF Journal to make it all happen. It’s a powerful step you can take towards your best self.