How To Create A Daily Routine- While Saving Time And Getting More Done
Are you someone who starts their day with no plan in place? Or are you an individual who follows a schedule with a mountain load of tasks that need to get checked off your to-do list? There are two groups I think of when it comes to routines: the “go with the flow, do what I feel like doing today” and the “I follow a set schedule where I do things at a certain time,” and repeat it over and over again. Both of these groups have their strengths and weaknesses, but one thing they have in common is they may not get everything done along with losing our valuable time.
If you have a routine, that’s great. But, are you able to get more done while opening up more time for other things? If you don’t, do you find yourself stressed our when time flies? Whether you’re a student, a busy professional, or a parent or all of these, creating a routine that works best for you leads to taking action while helping you save time. I believe if you set up a method that involves commitment, discipline, and patience, your life will change for the better.
In this article, I’ll list four ways you can create a more active routine. These include determining what type of person you are, kicking off your day doing proactive tasks, making a to-do list that leads to a call to action, and finishing your day doing non-essential tasks.
Approach # 1: Are You A Morning, Afternoon, Evening Person, or a Night-Owl?
Figuring out the time of day when you perform the best is crucial to long-term success. If you’re a morning person, this is an ideal time when you’re energetic and get your creative thinking going. Use the morning period to get the most challenging, difficult tasks our of the way when you have more ideas in mind. For example, I consider myself a mid-morning-mid-afternoon individual where I’m the most alert. I got my blood flow going, I’ve had some breakfast and caffeine (coffee) in me, so my creative thinking is at its best. So I utilize this time frame to do challenging tasks such as writing a great article or filming a YouTube video. In recent weeks, I found that I’ve got more done during this time of day and feel more productive as well.
The same method applies if you’re an evening person or a night-owl. Now, if you work an odd schedule, such as juggling school and work, then adjust your plan accordingly and set time aside when you know you’ll knock our meaningful work. So one example could be: if you work a day job along with a little side hustle, but you feel more alert and creative in the evening, then set the evening hours to do your most challenging tasks. Another example could be: If you work an overnight job and go to school during the day, but feel that you work best in the middle of the night, set some time aside during that time frame. The point is you’re a morning person, develop your routine to get more done in the morning. If you’re a night owl, do the same otherwise.
Approach # 2: Write a To-Do List Prioritizing Your Most Important Tasks
Making to-do lists can help track your daily routine. But here’s the catch-prioritize the things you want to get today at the top of your list. In other words, list two-three priorities you need to get done on a given day before you write anything else. After that, you categorized all the rest of your tasks as general reminders or the “maybe-if time” tasks. This tip will help you figure out what you need to get done today, and the rest you can do if you time, or save them for tomorrow or the next day.
Let me give you a general layout of what my to-do list may look like,
• Write down 2-5 preferences you need to get done today
2. Maybe- If I Have Time
- Write down 2-5 tasks of what else you can accomplish should you have time, and if not, set off these tasks for another day
3. General reminders
• Write down quick reminders you can do within a few minutes each day. These may include paying bills, replacing your water
Here is a screenshot of my to-do list as a better example:
Approach # 3: Use Peak Time Of Your Day For Proactive Activities
To coincide with the second point made earlier, you want to use the best time of your day to doing proactive tasks. More so, these are activities that get your mind stimulated and moving around. Also, it allows you to do something meaningful. At least in my experience, I believe using my peek time effectively leads to making significant progress on a goal or project. When talking about proactive tasks, it could be writing your dissertation for school (Ph.D. students), creating a presentation for a work conference for (business professionals), or even do basic exercises such as reading or writing. Any tasks that involve some mental use can easily accomplish during that peak time when you are likely to get more done.
The following is a breakdown of the proactive tasks I do during the mid-morning-mid afternoon hours:
- Quick Tasks:
-Drink at least two cups of water, & at least two cups
of coffee to get myself caffeinated
-Practice meditation for about 10 minutes
-Read a book or article (when pressed for time, I read
at least 1-2 pages- hey, its better than nothing, r
-Write our my short-term & long term goals, along
with my to-do list for the day ahead
- Longer Tasks (I try to set shorter 2-hour time blocks, or longer 4-5 hours for these activities- more about time blocks in a future blog post)
-Write an article or blog post
– Record a YouTube Video
– Take a training course online to learn a new skill or improve my skillset
– Brainstorm, research ideas for creating original
content (whether it’s writing a content article or video presentations)
Approach # 4: Use Remaining Time Of Day For Easier/Non-Essential Tasks
Over time, I’ve learned that starting my day doing small, mundane tasks was a massive waste of time. I cannot tell you how frustrated I used to be and how many times I told myself, “I don’t have enough time to do all the other important things.” Within the last year, I’ve reversed that practice to put those tasks off toward the end of the day. If you instead spend less time doing non-essential tasks, set time aside to do those tasks later in the day. If you run a business, you know that administrative work can take a lot of time away from your most important work. Unless you have a receptionist or administrative assistant, you have that work cut off to someone else. But if you need to do some administrative work, hold off on it toward the last two hours of work each day. These tasks include checking email, bookkeeping, or sorting through large loads of paperwork. Even more, distracting at a time can be monitoring social media accounts, reading news feeds, or being attached to your cell phone when those annoying notifications go off. So once again, if you want to get the most of your daily routine, put off these repetitive tasks to the bottom of your list after you have done more of the essential things first.
The following is a breakdown of the non-essential tasks I set aside toward the end of my day:
- Sorting through my mail, or checking my email (for personal & business)
- Paying bills
- Organizing work files or belongings- I try to keep things tidy from turning into clutter
- Scrolling through social media
- Reading news articles
Well, there you have it. Some of these tips you may have been aware of, but they are convenient ones you quickly apply to develop a more productive daily routine. For some people, they may not work exactly the way it helped me become more productive. But, if you are willing to try it out and get used to them, you would be amazed to see how much more you can get done daily, and ultimately saving you a significant time of your day. If the newly developed routine results in changing who your habits and saving your time, you already are taking steps in the right direction.
I will write future articles on best practices for routines, along with writing a run-down of my daily routine in more detail. Either I’ll write or do a short video of my day, or even a separate training video where I do a walkthrough of my daily routine.
So stay tuned, feel free to leave a comment, or if you have any best practices to creating a productive routine, please share in the comments section.