If you’re looking to make some positive adjustments to your life, a good place to start is your daily routine. Sticking to a routine can create consistency and set up a successful framework for good habits. A few key components of setting a daily routine include reflection, establishing morning and evening habits, and scheduling out your daily tasks.
Take Time to Reflect
Before creating your daily routine, take time to reflect on your recent days. Ask yourself these questions: Were there distractions that wasted your time or drained your energy? When did things feel the most hectic? Did you carve out enough time for things that matter the most to you? Understanding where you’ve been (and where you want to be) will help you create a sustainable and more intentional daily routine.
Establish Consistent Morning and Evening Habits
Establishing morning and evening habits can help your body adjust to a consistent pattern, which in turn relieves stress and anxiety. Start with a pen and paper or a journal. First, insert your high-priority tasks – such as exercising, daily chores or packing lunches – into the routine. Next, identify how long each habit takes to ensure that you allow sufficient time for every task. If you want to take it a step further and write the corresponding hours and minutes for each, go for it! Detailed routines work well for some, and routines with more flexibility work better for others. Follow your new morning and evening routines for the first week, and then adjust as necessary.
Another key part of establishing your morning and evening routines is understanding your sleep schedule. If you fall asleep around the same time every night, your internal clock is regulated and not disrupted. A recent study shows that having a regular sleep pattern lowers your risk for obesity, hypertension and heart disease. So, if possible, go to bed at the same time every night and set your alarm clock so that you rise at the same time every day (even on the weekends). For more morning and evening routine tips, check out this blog.
Make Your Daily To-Do List
Many of us may scratch out to-do lists haphazardly, but taking time to create a prioritized list may help your focus and efficiency. By intentionally investing your time into the list, you can increase your productivity and remain on task throughout the day. Although other parts of your daily routine can be set far in advance, your to-do list is more susceptible to change. Therefore, you should write your list either the night before or the morning of and allow space to add more tasks as the day progresses.
Ideally, you will want to write this list in a place that is easily accessible as you move through the day. Think about what you need to accomplish. What tasks need to be completed today? Do I need to allow time to work on an ongoing project? Will I need time to plan a future goal? Look it over and prioritize each task, moving the lowest priority items to the bottom of the list or to a new list for the following day. Consider color-coding to visually sort your tasks. By creating this list, you can easily see your day at a glance and intentionally focus your time.
Working towards a productive daily routine can help you accomplish both your short-term and long-term goals. As you put your new routine into action and start to see success, you can add new action items and build on your foundation. Don’t forget to revise as necessary and celebrate each win.