If you’re not at where you want to be in life, chances are you need a new daily routine.
What do Tim Ferris Barack Obama, Ben Franklin, and Winston Churchill have in common?
They all have a daily routine.
And it’s not only them — nearly every successful person you’ve heard of has a routine.
There’s no doubting why…Daily routines are are key to having a productive life. Do you want to increase your happiness, health, and the quality of your work?
Start with a daily routine.
Now, I’m going to take a wild guess.
I’m going to tell you that you already have a daily routine, too.
You wake up in the morning and go to the kitchen to make yourself some coffee. You get dressed, go to work, come home, and scroll through Facebook…again (let’s admit it, you did that at work too). You watch some Netflix, and you go to sleep.
It’s your daily routine. It may not be a good one, but it’s a daily routine, nonetheless.
And it’s time you change it.
Your daily routine can make you or break you. So, it’s about time you ditch the old one and build a routine that takes you closer to where you want to be.
One day at a time.
What’s the difference between a routine and a habit?
This is an important question you need to address if you’re serious about building an effective daily routine.
A habit is an activity you do without giving it a second thought. Like brushing your teeth in the morning or eating ice cream while watching TV.
A routine, on the other hand, is a group of habits you do consecutively. You usually do them in that order because it makes sense. For instance, you might exercise in the morning then take a shower. If you do it the other way around, you’re all sweaty for the rest of the day. It just makes more sense that way.
So, routines and habits are related.
Building a routine is nothing more than building a bunch of habits.
What makes routines so powerful?
So, all those successful people I mentioned have routines. Every day, they get up and know exactly what they are going to do and when they’re going to do it.
The question is:
Why do they make these routines and follow them religiously?
Because routines prevent you from wasting time thinking about what you should be doing now. Routines make sure everything that must be done to get your from where you are to where you should be gets done. Routines aren’t just day-to-day commodities; routines are a way of life!
It’s that simple.
- Save time
- Optimize energy
- Ensure productivity
- Eliminate the need for willpower
If you haven’t already developed an intentional daily routine, you’re missing out on a really powerful tool.
A tool that could change your life.
The Key to Building an Effective Daily Routine
Knowing how important routines are doesn’t make it easier to build a routine and stick to it.
It’s like knowing you should eat healthy, but buying those (delicious, crunchy, savory) Cheetos anyway.
What you need to do is design your routine in a way that maximizes your energy and flows with what you already want to be doing.
How do you do that?
Simple. Just keep these in mind when building your routine:
Determine Your Core Tasks
You most likely already what know what these tasks are.
Your core tasks are the tasks that you need to do every day. The tasks that bring you closer to your goal and that perfect life that you aspire to have.
If you don’t know what your core tasks are, think about what your goals are. Break them into smaller milestones. Then determine what you can do every day to bring you closer to achieving them.
For example, maybe your goal is to own a successful company. Your milestones might be to grow your blog to 100,000 users/month and launch a product. Every day, you’d need to write 1000 words for your blog and work on making your idea a reality. Those would be our core tasks.
As you grow, your core tasks might change, but the time you spend on growing your company will always be part of your routine.
Whatever your core tasks are: Run 2 miles every morning, read for 1 hour, or spend quality time with your family. Write them down and set aside time for them first when drafting your daily routine.
Schedule Your Most Important Work When You’re At Your Peak
I’m sure you know this:
Not all hours of the day are equal.
In the mornings, you have more energy and focus, so obviously, you’re more productive. In the evenings, you’re tired and are less likely to get any real work done.
There are two hours that aren’t like the others. This is when you’re most productive.
You’re at your peak productivity for 2 to 2.5 hours an hour after waking up. According to Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, you are 30% more effective during those 2 hours.
30% more effective! It’s basically a crime to waste those precious hours.
Designate those hours to the work that matters to you. Spend them on your top goals.
Focus on Energy
Most people make a huge mistake when scheduling and planning. I’m sure you make it, too.
Have you ever opened your daily planner and wrote down a schedule like this:
10 am: Meet with team
11 am: Work on project
12 pm: …
If so, I was right. You’re scheduling your tasks using hours and minutes. How long will it take me to do this? When will I be free to do that?
This is a terrible way to plan your day.
While it might seem like you’re on the ball because your To-Do list is all checked at the end of the day, you are actually sabotaging some of your tasks.
Because scheduling based on time is delusional.
If you want your tasks done right, what you should be doing is scheduling based on energy levels.
As Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, puts it, there are two types of work: deep work and shallow work. The deep work is the work that matters. Shallow work is all the mundane stuff you have to deal with like sending emails and making phone calls.
When you have lots of energy (usually in the morning), you should be focusing your efforts on deep work. Flesh out that idea you had. Create that masterpiece. Do the work that requires your cognitive abilities and pushes them to their limits.
Leave the shallow work for when you’re low on energy. In the afternoon, check your email, fill out the spreadsheet, do the things that don’t require much effort and don’t have a big impact on your work or goals.
Keep Track Of Your Progress
If you set New Year resolutions at the beginning of this year, clap your hands…
If you forgot about those resolutions until just now, clap your hands….
Yep, that’s how it goes, you are determined to change, to make your life better, then what?
A month or two goes by and you forgot you even set goals.
What can you do about it?
Track your progress every day.
After you make your routine, you’ll stick to it for a day or two, then you’ll get lazy, you’ll skip a day, then the next…and the day after that, before you know it, you forgot you even had a routine.
But if you track your routines and the habits from which they’re composed, you stick to it.
Every time you open your habit tracker, you’re held accountable. Did you follow your routine today?
There’s nothing you can do to escape it, you must answer… Yes or No?
Even if you’re not consistent in the beginning, you’ll soon get tired of seeing the red/no’s in your tracker, and you’ll think, “There’s no way I’m going to put another red dot on my tracker; I’m doing this!”
Daily routines set you up for success. They eliminate the time-wasters from your days and ensure that you are using your time in the activities that matter. But only if you create your routine calculatedly. Write down your most important tasks, plan your day based on energy, and track your routine every day.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. ~ John C Maxwell
Originally published at https://shutupandachieve.com.