How to Create a Daily Routine in 5 Steps
Where to start and why it’s good to have a daily schedule, that’s what we are going to discuss in this post. Having a daily schedule keeps you on track with your tasks and “to do” list. It helps provide structure to your day and in the long run get more accomplished. In addition, it also reduces decision fatigue allowing you to spend more brain energy on the tasks that really matter. It’s easy to jump from one task to another when you don’t have a game plan. And even the best laid plans… (we all know what happens to that). This post provides tips to help you be better situated when you start off each morning.
So, let’s start with the first step:
Make a List
- When you wake up in the morning make a list of what you would like to accomplish during the day. Why the morning? I’m not saying roll out of bed and jump on your laptop but we all have a routine in the morning and ultimately what we do in the morning sets the tone for the day. Consider this a "brain dump" and don’t forget to include both personal as well as professional “to do” items.
- Designate your most important tasks while keeping in mind that there will always be additional distractions. Prioritize these tasks. I suggest grouping together the smaller tasks and allocating some time later in the day for the lower priority items.
Keep It Flexible
- Schedule in time for flexibility (a little “wiggle room”). Reminder that things will come up that you may not have planned for.
Structure Your Day Around Peak Periods
- Structure your day. Take into consideration when you are most focused or your “peak times.” For example, I’m a morning person which is when I also feel most creative and spend my time on writing/graphic design projects. Is it beneficial to schedule a majority of your meetings in the morning or afternoon? We all have peaks and valleys throughout the workday. You just need to figure out what works best for you.
Give Yourself a Break
- Include Breaks. Taking a break boosts our productivity. A new study demonstrates that even brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. The study goes on to say that by doing the same task for any length of time you begin to lose your focus and your performance starts to decline. It’s beneficial to take a step away (literally and figuratively) and divert your attention to something as simple as making a quick call to a friend, watching a funny video, etc. There are several apps available that promote taking a break. A few that I have checked out include: Take a Break! Meditations, Pause Time, StretchMinder: Exercise Snacks, and Stand Up! Smart reminder. Just doing a quick search on your phone will turn up several.
Try out your new routine and figure out where you need to make tweaks. For example, you perform the same chores every night, maybe you don’t need to write them down every single morning. Maybe you are more productive in the morning. Once you start following a routine, the process will get easier.
Just to reiterate, these steps should serve as a guideline to get you organized and prioritize what really needs to get accomplished each day. Sometimes writing down everything in the morning can be cathartic but it’s important to prioritize. There is always more that we would like to accomplish each day. Make sure that you cut yourself some slack.
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