Habits and routines are powerful - as anyone who's worked to break a bad habit can tell you. As harmful as bad habits are and as difficult as they are to change, good habits and beneficial routines are just as powerful. Creating routines that are meaningful and that you can accomplish, will help you create good habits and will lead to a happier, more organized, more fulfilling life.
Benefits to Creating Daily Routines and Rituals
We all have routines, usually in the form of a loosely grouped list of activities that we do around the same times every day.
By taking time to focus on your routines, you're setting yourself up to win, and you're creating a sense of purpose and confidence. By updating old routines and creating new ones, you'll be building a plan to curate good habits and help break bad ones. Large life goals can be more easily incorporated into your daily life. Instead of waiting for a large chuck of time to work toward your goals, you can take small steps every day and continually make progress.
By taking time to focus on your routines, you're setting yourself up to win, and you're creating a sense of purpose and confidence.
By repeating your routines, you're committing them to memory. You can focus more on doing your best, and less on deciding what's next. It frees you from overthinking and leaves less to chance. You're less likely to forget daily todos when they're part of a repeated routine.
Three Steps to Creating Daily Routines
Depending on your situation, you may benefit from creating a Work Routine Group, which consists of a Morning Routine, a Workday Startup Routine, a Workday Shutdown Routine, and an Evening Routine, or a Home Routine Group, which consists of a Morning Routine, an Afternoon Routine, and an Evening Routine. If that just made your head spin a little, don't fret! Try a Morning Routine. It's the most powerful way to start your day, and you can build from there.
1. List what you currently do
List everything you're currently doing or trying to do. Don't worry about organizing the list. This is a brain dump. If you're not sure you're remembering everything, take a notebook around with you for a few mornings (or for whichever part of the day applies), and add anything to the list that you've missed. Be very detailed. To change, you must be clear on what you're currently doing. We can't improve what we can't see.
2. Ask yourself honestly: what works and what doesn't?
Go through your list and ask yourself: what works and what doesn't? This is the time to decide what stays, what goes, and what to add. What's important to you and how do the items on your list align with your goals? The good news is that no matter how you've done up to this point, you have the power to change your habits to achieve the results you want. It may help to ask yourself, "How do I want to feel when I've accomplished this routine?" Keep the answer in mind throughout this process. Write it down!
3. Implement, review, and update as needed
Write it out and try it out. Beside each item, write down how much time it should take. Take notes as you work the routine. Review it on a weekly basis and update as needed. Study the components and the order, and see what can change to get you closer to your goals. Again: keep good, scratch out bad, and decide what's missing.
Once it feels like it's working, you can review it again on a monthly or even quarterly basis to see whether it's still leading you toward your goals.
Note: If at any point you find this overwhelming, break it down. You're not required to implement your entire routine at once. Add one thing at a time and see how that one thing works before adding another.
Examples and Suggestions for Your Daily Routines
Check out this list for ideas and inspiration. Nothing specific is required. Add items that lead you in the direction of your goals. There is no secret formula, or "should", or "supposed to". Your routines are as personal as your goals, and everyone's list will be different.
Routines focused on health
Routines focused on organization
Routines focused on work/career
Routines focused on motivation
Starting your morning with a question can be a great way to reflect on your day and check in with your goals. Try one of these questions or create one of your own.
Routines focused on relationships and family
With our busy lives, it can be easy to take the important people in your life for granted. Use your routines to connect for simple moments throughout the day.
Why is Establishing a New Routine so Difficult?
You are working on breaking old habits and creating new ones. This is not easy! Your brain is resistant to change, and it will fight you! Good news though: you can win! The very act of paying attention to our habits means we're making a change. You're taking a step in the right direction. Every meaningful change starts in your mind. It starts with what you're doing right now: putting it in the forefront and making it a priority.
Don't feel bad if unhealthy habits have crept in...or creep back in for a time. If you recognize them, you can make a change. Just think: one change a day that saves 10 minutes equals 60 extra hours per year. 60 hours!
My Daily Routines & Routine Worksheets
I've updated my routines several times, taking away what didn't work and adding what was missed. If you're curious, you can see my routine here. I've incorporated things that are important to my health and my work and that make me more productive. It's always a work in progress, but each day I'm moving forward!
You can download either a color Daily Routines Worksheet or a black and white Daily Routines Worksheet to start your journey. Print them as many times as you need. Scribble on them and take notes as you make changes. You can always come back for more.
And as always, if you have any questions, let us know!
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I'm Jen, a professional organizer ready to help you take charge of your space, free up your time, and lead a more organized life! (Read more about me here)