Are you someone who starts their day with no plan in place? Or are you an individual who has a gigantic to-do list? There are two groups I think of when it comes to routines. The first one is the “go with the flow, do what I feel like doing today.” The second one is the “I follow a set schedule where I do things at a certain time.” Both of these groups have their strengths and weaknesses in how to create a daily routine. But one thing they have in common is they may not get everything done.
How to create a daily routine
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 out when time flies? 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 post, I'll discuss four approaches you can create a more active routine, including:
1.) Determining what type of person you are
2.) Kicking off your day doing proactive tasks
3.) Making a to-do list that leads to a call to action
4.) Finishing your day doing non-essential tasks
How to create a daily routine: What type of person are you?
Figuring out the time of day when you perform the best is crucial to long-term success. If you're a morning person, use that time to get the most challenging tasks our of the way. 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.
The same method applies if you're an evening person or a night-owl. Now, if you work an odd schedule, then adjust your plan accordingly when you know you'll knock our meaningful work. So if you use a day job along with a side hustle, but you feel more creative in the evening, then set the evening hours to do your most challenging tasks. If 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.
Prioritizing your to-do list
Making to-do lists can help track your daily routine. But here's the catch: prioritize the things you want to accomplish 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 categorize the rest of your tasks as general reminders or the “if time” tasks. This tip will help you figure out what you need to get done today. The rest of them you can do if you have time, or save them for tomorrow or the next day.
My To-Do List
Let me give you a general layout of what my to-do list looks like,
- Write down two-five preferences you need to get done today
2. Maybe- If I Have Time
- Write down two-five 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 filters, etc.
Here is a screenshot of my to-do list as a better example:
The use peak time for proactive activities
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.
My breakdown of proactive tasks
The following is a breakdown of the proactive tasks I do during the mid-morning-mid afternoon hours:
-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, right?)
-Write our my short-term & long term goals, along with my to-do list
(I try to set shorter two-hour time blocks or longer four-five hours for these activities.)
– 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
Use remainder of the day for nonessential tasks
Over time, I've learned that starting my day doing mundane tasks was a waste of time. If you instead spend less time doing non-essential tasks, set time aside for 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 or bookkeeping. Even more distracting can be monitoring social media accounts 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.
My breakdown of non-essential tasks
The following is a breakdown of the non-essential functions 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
Some of these tips you may have been aware of, but ones you can 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, you would be amazed to see how much more you can get done. If the newly developed routine results in changing your habits and saving your time, you are already taking steps in the right direction.
Are there any best practices you have to create a productive routine?
Feel free to leave a comment below, and please share this post with others.
Eric is a time management consultant and owner of the blog, quitkillingtime.com. He takes great pride in helping people manage their time, personally and professionally. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. “Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He likes to go for long walks out in nature and been taking Zumba classes every week at his local gym. You can follow Eric via Facebook and LinkedIn.