When it comes to daily routines, a lot of people are against this idea because they feel that routines are rigid and make their days time bounded. They couldn’t be more wrong about this. When your to-do list starts to overwhelm you, you seek for more stability in your day. That’s why making a daily schedule comes in handy. It makes you better equipped for the day, increases your productivity and allows you to stay organised. You can plan your days to be as flexible or as tightly scheduled as you like — your daily routine is meant to support you and make your life easier.
According to Harvard, 48% of what someone does is on autopilot. So basically, half of the tasks that we do in a day, we do unconsciously. Now the question is, Is your autopilot serving you? Do you have habits or routines that are getting you closer to your goals effortlessly. Majority of people wake up 15 minutes before they have to leave their house, make no plans for the day, head straight to work, tackle what comes their way, and return home. Their life just becomes dodging things all day long. No wonder they get exhausted at the end of the day, without even getting much done.
If you have a goal for your day, you need to make an action plan to achieve it. It’s very easy for you to talk yourself out of things. Having a plan before hand reduces resistance in your day. It also helps in building momentum and having a proactive approach throughout the day.
Steps to Create Your Daily Routine
Having a schedule for your daily activities helps you to form good habits and break bad ones — to become your best self. Here are 5 steps that you can follow to create a daily routine for a more productive, happier life.
The secret to your success can be found in your Daily Routine.
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1. Make a list
In fact, make 3 lists.
• To-do list
List out all the tasks that you want to complete today. Even the smallest ones that you keep on forgetting, like replying to a mail. It doesn’t matter how long the list goes — just brain dump everything. Now, pick 3 most important things that are a priority and focus only on those things for the day. Make sure that these things somewhat align with your end term goals, this helps to avoid chasing artificial goals. Once these 3 tasks get completed you can move on to the others, if needed.
• Mark Your Schedule
Note down your schedule of your regular days. Basically how you spend your days. There are certain parts of your day that you can’t make changes in, eg: If you go to school or office or have a tuition or a gym session. You can’t really bend these time slots. But your 2 hour Netflix sessions at night can definitely be traded for something productive. Analysing your schedule will help you find the areas where their is a scope for change. I use Google Calendar and Notion to plan and schedule.
• Good Vibes List
Many Goal Setting experts say, that you should plan your personal goals before professional goals. Because our end goal is to be happy and satisfied in our lives, right? Your good vibes list is a list of all the things that makes you happy — taking a walk, driving, dancing, spending time with your pup, talking to friends, cooking etc. This list could be as long as you want. We often forget to enjoy the present moment as we rush through our days. This list would be your escape on a bad day. You can keep on adding things to this list as you go on. Remember,
You are here to have an experience.
2. Start Planning Your Daily Routine
Now that you have your lists, start planning accordingly. Take your schedule. Analyse the time slots that are time constrained and the slots where you can make some changes. Then, append your top 3 priority tasks from the to-do list in your schedule. Next, take your good vibes list and try to add as many things in your routine as you can. Look for the free spots. This will keep you from getting exhausted during your day.
You can also break your day in chunks and manage your daily plan according to your productivity spike throughout the day.
This is considered to be the most productive part of the day. It’s a common saying, “Eat the frog first thing in the morning”— do the most important task first so that its not looming over you throughout the day. You can also follow a morning routine to build momentum for the rest of the day.
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It’s the part of the day where your energy levels are a little low and your caffeine spike has dropped. Try to complete the tasks that don’t require critical thinking, can be accomplished even with a sloppy mind. Reply to your emails, set appointments, run some errands.
Finish up the rest of your tasks and call it a day. Evenings are best used for planning for the next day. Prepare your meals, layout your clothes or declutter your room. You can also have an evening routine.
3. How Specific You Want to Get With Your Daily Routine
Some people like to micro plan their day. They schedule their day down to the minute. Others just like to have an idea of how their day is divided. Whereas some like to keep it more flexible. It’s your routine, personalize it according to your own lifestyle. See what works out the best for you. Choose a routine that balances both productivity and rest.
Personally for me, micro planning doesn’t work. It causes a lot of haste and often make you discouraged, if you don’t cope up with the time frames. Try not to overcommit yourself. This will only make it harder to follow your routine.
4. Have Time for Flexibility In Your Routine
Because here’s the thing, life gets in the way. Something urgent may come up anytime. Make sure that such things don’t ruin your routine. Having room for flexibility will allow you to cope with the unexpected much better than if you have a rigid schedule. Also, you need to use your free time wisely. Instead of just scrolling through Instagram, include something from your good vibes list!
5. Track, Evaluate, Enhance
Always, have a habit of keeping a weekly check. You can practice this method called — Start, Stop, Repeat — where you list out the habits that want to create this week (Start), that you don’t want to carry forward (Stop) and the habits from last week that you want to keep (Repeat). This simple exercise would give you some useful insights. Evaluate your routine. See what works for you and make the necessary amendments.
What Does Your Ideal Routine Looks Like?
Leave your answer in the comments below. Creating a daily routine seems intimidating at first, but you will soon reap the rewards when your productivity rises, mornings become organised and you have more spare time in your day. I hope this has given you some inspiration to create better routines in life and an idea on how to do it!