“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
Having no routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be!
By not doing the things I knew would make me better — habits like exercising, meditating, and creating gratitude lists—I deprived my body and mind of the energy that these types of positive activities create. I felt tired…inside and out. And to make matters worse, my dreams and goals were just slipping away.
Finding and adopting the right daily routine will re-energize you and help you regain wasted time. Your mind and body will thank you for the decreased anxiety and extra care you’ve given it. Here’s to a healthier, calmer, and higher-achieving you.
Make a List
First, write down everything you need to get done daily, both in your home life and at work. Don’t worry about how you organize this list; this is a brain dump, not a to-do list. Take 30 minutes with a notebook to jot down everything you do each day, as well as everything you should get done.
If you feel like it’s too hard to remember all the tasks in one sitting, carry around a notebook and take notes throughout the day. In the beginning, no task is too small—if you want to work “brush hair” into your routine, put it on the list.
Structure Your Day
Early birds get things done most effectively before lunchtime, while night owls tend to get their creative burst of energy in the evenings. Think about when you work best, and group your tasks into the time of day that makes the most sense for when you will best complete them.
Mornings: Mornings are often about getting out the door, which can be its challenge. Group all your early tasks here, like feeding and walking pets, unloading the first load of dishes for the day, and putting dinner in the slow cooker. Once the morning rush is over, reserve the mornings for the tasks that require the most critical thinking and troubleshooting. There’s a common saying, “Eat the frog,” which refers to getting the task that you want to do least done first thing in the day, so it’s not looming over you.
Midday: This is a tricky time of day because your energy levels—and perhaps the caffeine from your morning coffee—have likely dissipated. However, this means you might be primed to do the boring, routine stuff that doesn’t take a lot of brainpower. Use this time for tasks like answering emails, setting appointments, and running errands. If you are based at home during the day, use this time for routine cleaning, like emptying the dishwasher and scrubbing the bathrooms.
Stay active during the day
At this time, your energy levels have dissipated. So, you can do the boring, routine things. Use your midday hours for tasks like answering emails, organizing upcoming activities, setting appointments, and running errands.
Take breaks during work, preferably after every hour. Whether you are freelancing or working from an office, taking regular breaks will help to improve your concentration and boost your mental health.
Have an evening ritual
Evenings work best when they’re set aside for planning and preparation for the next day. Layout your clothes, pack lunches, and declutter the rooms where items tend to pile up, like the kitchen. If you follow the weekly organizing routine, you’ll be picking up one room a day for 15 to 20 minutes.
In the evening, you should put an end to your income earning activities and focus on yourself and your family. You should get your mind away from the stress and responsibilities of the day.
Here are other things you can include in your evening schedule:
Have a chat with your family or friends
If you are consistently low on energy and fatigued, you should consider taking vitamins and supplements for energy before going to bed
Meditate on how you spent the day
Think about how you can make the next day better than today
Read a book in bed to catch sleep naturally
Your routine and expectations might not fit in nearly as perfect as you expected, and that is okay. The point is to make use of your productive times for the challenging tasks and your less productive times for the less challenging activities. Very many successful people sleep all day and work at night. If this describes you, don’t be scared to do you!