If you want to become a success or a high achiever, the key to your success is linked to your routine. If you change your routine, you will change your productivity and your level of focus. This well-known practice is responsible for changing the fortunes of many people around the world who went from wage earners to millionaires. Examples include Terry Saville Foy, Mel Robbins, Robin Sharma, Tim Cook and Richard Branson.
Why are routines important?
It seems simple, but the devil is in the detail and in the consistency of your routine. When you set clear times for specific tasks and habits you take control over your morning or evening hours. You are scheduling in these hours the things that are of the greatest value to you in an effort to make sure they get done every day. The consistency with which you apply yourself will outwork into real results towards a specific goal.
Secondly, a set routine helps you to invest in yourself. By doing so you will yield a return on this investment immediately and cumulatively in the future. You can invest into your personal, professional or emotional growth. Investing in these skills makes you more marketable and better able to handle any personal or emotional challenges.
Thirdly, you reduce emotional decision fatigue. When you create habits around specific tasks you make them part of the unconscious daily choices. You don’t have to invest ‘energy’ in the same way you would have to for a new and unfamiliar choice. You reduce your ‘decision fatigue’ whilst simultaneously making sure you are achieving your goals. So, when you leave the house you’ve already conquered the most important tasks and you’ve made progress even as the rest of the country was still sleeping.
Why can’t you leave that same task for later?
Well you don’t know how the day will turn out especially if you are in a full-time job or even if you are a care giver. The day unfolds differently to what we plan, and we can easily miss the opportunity to spend 30 minutes on a specific task. But if you schedule that task into a time slot that you always have control over, then its likely that task will get done with minimal disturbances.
Look at your goals. What do you want to achieve and by when do you want to do it? Do you want to meditate more, write a book, learn a language? This will determine how you can set a morning or evening routine.
How much time you have available will help you determine what you can realistically focus on. If you have an hour, you might only be able to do short, high focus bursts on a select four items for 15 minutes each. But if you have more time you can do the same for longer or more tasks altogether.
Your routine will change based on the season of life that you’re in. If you’re single, your routine will be different to when you get married and subsequently when you have children. But whatever the case you need to have a routine in place in order to achieve maximum success in the season that you’re in.
How to start
Decide on the best and realistic evening and morning times to block out. Consider your family and friends as well so you achieve a balanced life. Set aside the time you know you can definitely plan for every day.
The morning routine starts the night before
You will have successful mornings only if you have successful evenings, so make sure you have planned out for both and you are keeping out disturbances that will affect your productivity at the beginning and at the end of the day.
Identify the time wasters
Be brutal with time wasters like TV, social media and just loitering around the house (acting busy but not doing anything!). They distract you from real goals/tasks. They make you feel busy, but in reality you become unfocused and unproductive.
Start with the biggest rock
Always put the big rocks in first! Always make sure you start your routine with the most important task. What ever it is that when done will make you more successful, that is the thing you should do first every day. For many this is meditation, exercise or listening to something encouraging.
How I started
I scheduled by mornings by blocking out 2 and a half hours for myself. And then I scheduled the evenings with anything else that I needed to do that was important. Scheduling means I wrote down my timetable and set the necessary alarms.
I take 10 minutes to pick my clothes every evening in preparation for the next day. I also plan my tasks (writing down) and set out my purse/ bag e.t.c. (everything I’m taking with me into the car, I put into one spot ready for loading).
I aim to get a good night’s sleep as early as possible. If I sleep well, I wake up on time, bright and early and my brain is ready for the day.
Because I have kids, some days get disturbed even in the wee hours of the morning but at least I am largely on track to meeting my goals.
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