18 Reasons Why a Daily Routine Is So Important
All of us are aware that kids need a routine to provide structure and discipline in their lives. When we were younger, most of us were told to go to bed at a certain time, wake up at a certain time, do our homework after school, eat dinner at a regular hour, shower, even play with our friends at a specific time. But what about adults? Many grownups do not have a set daily routine and ‘wing’ their day. They have no idea what they are going to do when they wake up each morning because they have not thought about creating a schedule to adhere to. As a result, many people feel like they are stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and falling short of their goals and true potential. The answer lies in carefully designing a routine that works best for each of us, one which helps us be productive, in control, and be the best person we can possibly be.
I used to view having a routine as being boring, rigid, and stifling, and I know that many people share this view. They live their lives in a capricious and whimsical manner, believing that it frees them somehow. On the contrary, I have learned that designing and adhering to a personal daily routine is the path to freedom, productivity, happiness, and fulfilling our true potential. Here is why all of us would be better off with a set routine:
1. Makes Us More Efficient
When we have a routine that we follow daily, it reduces the need to make decisions each day. It enables us to know exactly what tasks we need to do each day without having to contemplate, decide or think too much. When we are finished with one task, we know what comes next without much thought. Activities become standardized and we become more efficient as a result.
2. Reduces Our Need to Plan
When we carefully design a set routine to follow, it eliminates the need to plan our activities every morning and budget and allocate our precious time. It takes the guesswork out of our day and allows us to wake up and ‘do’ instead of wake up and ‘plan’.
3. Creates Structure in Our Lives
A daily routine provides structure and a logical sequence in our lives. It provides the framework within which we live our lives and conduct our daily activities. Soon we become familiar and comfortable with what we have to do each day. It allows us to experience a flow to our day.
4. Saves Time, Our Most Valuable Resource
Time is the most precious asset at our disposal because, once lost, it is non-retrievable. By following a routine, we free up time that would otherwise be spent on planning, decision-making and preparation. Our routine has predetermined our schedule, allowing us to use our time efficiently.
5. Instills Good Habits
The secret to building good habits is repetition. When we design a personal routine that works for us, it facilitates developing good habits by encouraging us to repeat the same tasks over and over again. Just like brushing our teeth every morning, adhering to a routine allows us to foster habits that match our goals and aspirations.
6. Breaks Bad Habits
While our routine helps us develop good habits that are in line with exploiting our full potential, it also helps to eradicate bad habits that do not serve us well. We can slowly replace our bad habits with good ones through repetition.
7. Helps Us Become More Proficient
When you have a routine, you start to become better at doing certain things because you do it regularly. That is one of the keys to mastering any skill. Think about something you are skillful at. More likely than not, you developed your skill because you have performed the task over and over again. Practice makes perfect!
8. Helps Us Get the Most Important Tasks Done
When we carefully design a personal routine and stick to it, it allows us get the most important things done first and out of the way. There is no room for forgetfulness or neglect. Because the most important tasks have been predetermined by us, as long as we follow our routine, we know that we will complete what is important and not spend time and effort on frivolous things.
The beauty of designing a set routine is that it forces us to prioritize and decide what is important to us. Rather than make these decisions on a daily basis, we already know what we need to do and in what order because we have carefully planned it. For example, after some soul-searching and careful introspection, I decided that being mindful and healthy were goals that I wanted to attain, so I incorporate meditation and exercise into my daily routine.
10. Reduces the Need for Determination and Willpower
When we brush our teeth in the morning, it does not require a lot of determination or willpower because most of us have made it a daily ritual. We hardly think about having to brush our teeth; we simply do it. The same holds true for other tasks when we follow a routine. It simply becomes, well, ‘routine’!
11. Reduces Procrastination
When a set of tasks and activities become routine, it reduces the chance that we will procrastinate doing them. It becomes ingrained into our system and we almost do it subconsciously. For example, I do a few minutes of yoga every morning when I wake up. I do not have to think about it. I simply do it because it has become a habit. We all know that procrastination is a waste of time and having a routine is one way to combat it.
12. Builds Momentum
As we all know, when you do the same things repetitiously, it builds momentum, making it easier to persist. That is why going to the gym gets easier the more frequently you do it. Momentum is a huge factor when it comes to ensuring success and following a routine helps build that momentum.
13. Builds Self Confidence
When we adhere to a routine and stick with it, it helps build self confidence and gives us a sense of tremendous satisfaction. That provides us with the ‘fuel’ to continue our routine and reap the benefits associated with it. And a lack of self confidence is one of the main reasons people find it difficult to change their lives for the better.
14. Saves Us Money
When we follow a routine and do the same things over and over again, it can help us save money. For example, part of my routine involves juicing fruits and vegetables each morning. Because I know that I will follow this routine religiously, I can buy my fruit and vegetables in bulk, saving me money. The same holds true for many other things such as the cost of a long-term gym membership.
15. Helps Reduce Stress and Facilitate Relaxation
There will always be things in our lives that are beyond our control, and we need to accept that. However, there is so much that we can control, especially if we follow a routine. When we design and stick to a routine, it eliminates a lot of stress because we do not have to think and worry about what needs to get done. The act of ‘doing’ gives us a sense of control and helps us relax instead of fretting about the tasks at hand.
16. Frees Up Our Time
Contrary to what some people believe, following a routine that prioritizes repetitive tasks actually provides us with more free time to do as we please. Not every aspect of our lives needs to be scheduled or incorporated into a daily routine. There is a time and place for leisure, relaxation, and ‘non-doing’, and adhering to a routine frees up the time for it. In fact, as we discussed before, our routine makes us become better and more efficient at performing certain tasks. This means that we often spend less time completing the tasks listed in our routine via repetition.
17. Helps Us Achieve Our Goals
Our goals and aspirations are rarely, if ever, achieved all at once. Successful people accomplish their goals by doing the same things over and over again. An athlete gets good at his sport because he practices daily. An artist hones his craft through repetition. Developing and sticking with a routine that is congruent with your goals is one of the surest ways to ensure success.
18. Keeping Track of Our Success
When we slack off and fail to follow our predetermined routine, it is a clear sign that we are falling short. It is an excellent way to monitor our progress. We can subsequently make adjustments and get back to following our personal routines while having the confidence that we are on the right track again.
Keep in mind that it is fine if you decide that you only want to follow your routine on weekdays and not on weekends, or if you have a different routine on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, etc. It is also perfectly okay to set aside certain times to do nothing. The point is that you have thought about it carefully and are mindful about your choices. After all, having a routine is nothing other than a conscious choice to live your life in a certain way through healthy repetition. It is one of the keys to success and happiness.
Each of us is different and has different goals, needs, desires, and resources. That is why it is important to develop our own routine after carefully deciding what we want to achieve in our lives. The rewards to be reaped are definitely worth the effort. Today is a brand new day and it is never too late to start your own routine.
The following is a sample from Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine. If you’re having trouble coming up with your daily routine, then I recommend this book to help you get started.
Identifying what to work on is a constant, daily struggle.
As an entrepreneur, you’re faced with a seemingly infinite amount of opportunities. What do I write next? Do I need to answer the 40 emails in my inbox? Should I pursue a new project that might take my business to the next level? These are the questions you might wake up to every morning.
The problem is, we don’t have a boss telling use what’s important. Often, we began each day by working on the tasks that seemed urgent, but aren’t critical to the success of the business—like checking email or social media.
Why Does a Daily Routine Helps
I used a simple (but effective) productivity hack. I start each day by identifying two to four critical tasks and adding them to my Most Important Tasks (MITs) list. These are the tasks I work on first thing in the morning. The key here is to use specific metrics so I know whether I’ve accomplished my goals or not.
As an example, I’ll create tasks like these:
- Write 2,000 words of the daily routine book.
- Record five podcast episodes for SelfPublishingQuestions.com.
- Complete conversations 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 (each number represents a specific meeting).
- Create a new squeeze page for the Develop Good Habits blog.
This small daily action has had a positive impact on my business and personal life. Each day, when I complete these tasks, I know the priority tasks have been accomplished. Even if something unexpected comes up in the afternoon, I know I’ve done the important tasks that drive my business forward.
Example of a My Daily Routine
Usually, I’ll wake up at around 7 a.m. and immediately start my habit-stacking routine, which includes the following tasks:
- Making my bed
- Washing my face
- Drinking a pint of lemon water
- Preparing and drinking a nutritious smoothie
- Reviewing my goals
- Writing down two to four important tasks for the day
I end this routine by completing a new habit I’m trying to build into my life. For example, I’m currently trying to master the 10-minute declutter habit.
Around 7:30 a.m., I head out for a walk. I always bring my iPhone to use the Stitcher app to listen to a variety of podcasts on topics such as self-publishing, Internet marketing and investing. Also, I keep the Evernote app in a key location on my phone—in case I want to record an idea from one of these podcasts
From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., I do my first (and sometimes only) block of writing. Usually, I work on a Kindle book, blog post or piece of content. On occasion, I’ll write something for my own personal enjoyment.
From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., I’ll do a few different things: work on a project, reply to messages from key members of my team or complete a number of small tasks. These activities typically relate to items on my MITs list. The benefit here is that they provide a break from writing, but they also help me improve my business.
AFTERNOON ROUTINEFrom 11 a.m. to noon, I’ll relax a little by eating lunch, reading a nonfiction book for 30 minutes, running a few errands or driving to a nearby Starbucks coffeehouse to get out of the house.
The 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. time-slot is very flexible. Depending on the day (and specific deadlines), I do a number of things: write for a few more hours, clear out my email inbox, work through the steps of a current project, record a few podcast episodes or outline a future idea.
Six p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (or sometimes 8:30) is exercise time. I either do another walk (usually with my fiancée) or go for a run. If I’m training for a marathon, sometimes the long run will extend into the evening.
After 8 p.m. is relaxation time. My fiancée and I will eat dinner, do a little cleaning and basically unwind for the rest of the night.
At 11 p.m., I’ll go to bed and do a little bit of fiction reading. I usually fall asleep around 11:30 p.m.
The above was a “normal” day, but there are few weekly events that impact how my workday is structured.
I like to time-block my week so all conversations (podcast interviews, masterminds, collaborative sessions and networking) happen on Wednesdays. I typically have anywhere from two to six conversations on this day. As an introvert, having regular conversations requires a lot of energy, so I prefer to get them all done in a single day.
Every other Thursday, I drive down to my parents’, which is an hour and a half from my home. Once there, my entire family goes to dinner. Then I spend the night at their place and we see a movie together the next the afternoon.
Finally, my Fridays are very flexible. Sometimes I’ll work the whole day, but on other days I’ll do a few things in the morning, then relax for the rest of the day and most of the weekend.
What Does YOUR Daily Routine Look Like?
Now that I have told you my daily routine, I’d love to hear about what YOURS looks like. In the comment section below, describe the habits you use every single day…
To learn more, I encourage you to check out Level Up Your Day: How to Maximize the 6 Essential Areas of Your Daily Routine to find that balance in your daily activities. It is far more than me talking about my daily routines, but dives deep into the things that any successful self-starter, work-at-home, freelancer or entrepreneur can use to achieve success.
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