Organization

Designing a Routine that Works for You

Hellooooo everyone!! First of all happy Friday!!

I wanted to wrap up the week writing about something that feels particularly relevant, DAILY ROUTINES! I’ve seen so many posts that give a specific routine, and these are great, but they don’t work for everyone all the time!! Just because a routine works for one person doesn’t mean it would work for everyone.. so I’ve definitely developed a way to find a routine that caters to yourself and your life (As someone who works the most irregular schedule known to man!).

Why do I even need a routine?

You may be thinking: “Why does this routine crap even matter? I can wake up and get everything done in my day just fine!” No!! You may not realize it yet, but having a set routine changes everything!

  • Having a regular schedule improves your sleep DRAMATICALLY! If you go to bed and wake up and a relatively consistent time (Doesn’t have to be perfect), you’ll sleep so much better. I always heard that, but never quite believed it. If you do it right, you’ll even be able to get away with less sleep because the sleep you are getting is quality, and you spend less time tossing and turning.
  • A good routine can increase your productivity (If you let it!) A study found that people who consider themselves to have a consistent schedule were 53% more productive at work, and were 76% more likely to have a hobby!! Those are some wild numbers if you think about it! This comes from setting aside a time every day to get certain things done. Along with that, we’re more productive when we eat and sleep regularly.
  • Our bodies and minds are designed for it! We’re actually hardwired to be ready for certain things at certain times. If you tell your body over and over that 7 am is ‘wake up’ time, you’ll be ready to wake up at 7. So, if you tell your body that 2 pm is writing time, your body and mind will be ready to write at 2 pm. If we have this awesome tool integrated into our psychology, why work against it?

Designing a Routine for Yourself

Now that we know why its important to have a daily routine, how do you make one that works for you? Start out by

asking yourself a few important questions:

  1. Am I naturally an early bird or a night owl? Most people already can answer this question about themselves, but if you cant its definitely worth trying out both and seeing which feels better. Working with your body instead of against it will help you be at your best.
  2. Do I have any hard constraints on my time? Of course, if you have to work early in the morning or late at night.. or if your kids have a specific routine to stick to, that is an important part of planning out your daily routine! When writing out your routine, those constraints have to go down first and then the flexible parts can work around them.
  3. What are my favorite times to get things done? Do you love going to the gym in the morning? Do you prefer to do your work late at night? Everyone has certain times when they physically and mentally peak, and they vary from person to person! This is something worth experimenting with as well, as it may not be obvious at first!

Now What?

First things first, get out a blank piece of paper and a pen (maybe a couple different colors if you’re a visual person!)

Along the left margin, write the hours of the day starting with your ideal wake time and going all the way through your ideal bedtime.

Next, write in your “absolute musts” like work, taking the kids to school, etc. Block those times off completely.

Schedule in your “should do’s” in next, like exercise, hobbies, cleaning, self care, etc.

Take a look at what time you have left and decide how you’d like to use it! The goal is to have as little white space as possible, because if you don’t have a plan, then the time will likely be wasted. Even try to schedule in a time to relax and have fun, so that you make sure that you don’t forget those things! (They’re just as important!)

Time blocking is the way to go with your design, because time blocks are flexible enough that you can your exact actions day-do-day within the blocks, but strict enough to make sure your priorities get attention! This lets you use the same routine outline every day, even though your exact to-do’s change.

The secret is to have your routine go by your design, not just by default of what naturally happens when you don’t plan. This is powerful because you are now being intentional about how things happen in your daily life… and your daily life leads to success with your bigger goals!

Does your routine have everything you need?

What does your ideal day look like? Optimally, your routine should be as close as possible to your ideal day. (Because we want every day to be as awesome as possible, of course!). Make sure that your ideal day includes everything that matters to you.. physically, spiritually, mentally. If you schedule them in, you’re way more likely to do them all every day!

What about the weekend?

Of course, you don’t go to work every day. But, I recommend that your weekend routine is as close to your weekday routine as possible when it comes to sleep/wake times, eating times, exercise times, and times to be productive. Why? Because if you’re conditioning your brain to get used to doing those things at certain times, then you cant let the weekend completely mess that all up! Dont let your routines be so rigid that they stop you from having fun, but keep them in mind.

Try it out!

Try it out!! Designing your routine takes a good bit of trial and error, so keep an eye on how things are working, and make adjustments as necessary. It may take a few weeks to find an exact routine that works for you, but it is well worth it when you get into your groove! You’ll start to see small improvements in your life as you get into a daily rhythm, and your body is working with you instead of against you! Routine has actually proven to lead to better overall happiness. Check out this article! (https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2015/10/the-psychology-of-daily-routine-7-reasons-why-people-who-do-the-same-things-each-day-tend-to-be-happier-than-those-who-chase-adventure/)

Thanks for reading and best of luck in designing your routine! Let me know how it goes in the comments!

Want More?

Once you’ve figured out a routine that works for you, try to pair it with Mind Journaling, a technique I’ve used in my own life to stay on top of the crazy!

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