Three cheers for spontaneity. I love to live in the moment and remain open and flexible. With all of that being said, I am all in on routines and preparation. Routines are the bookends to my day. They create boundaries and give direction as well as breaking larger projects into smaller more manageable actions. Over the years I have developed a series of routines that prepare me for the day ahead as well as manage a number of projects, priorities, and goals. You can simply spend your life reacting to events as they unfold or you can do your best to be prepared and get a handle on what needs to be done.
Here are some of the routines I follow and the rationale:
Morning Routine I know that I had heard this discussed over the years, but it was Hal Elrod’s book: Miracle Morning, that captured my attention. In his book, he outlines six steps or actions he takes every morning. After processing his ideas, I adjusted them to fit me. Every morning I do the following:
- Read the Bible,
- work on at least one of my three most important tasks for the day
- read from a pre-determined reading list
Doing these activities has had a dramatic impact on setting the tone for the remainder of the day. My day starts bright and early, and I am not needing to figure out what I am going to do next. I would strongly encourage you to incorporate a morning routine into your life.
- Review the day Reflect on all that happened, and see where you excelled and where you need improvement
- Identify the three most important tasks for the next day. In one sense, my morning routine begins the night before. I will have more than three things to do the next day, but I determine the three that I must finish the next day
- Read a chapter in the Bible
- Write in a gratitude journal
When I was younger, I would just go to bed, as I have gotten older, I need to prepare to go to bed. The night before, I lay out my clothes, pack my backpack or briefcase, make sure I have everything I will need the next day for meetings, appointments, etc.
For some with children at home, your routines may involve meal preparation, and homework as well as other items.
There are routines you can create for taking care of your home, autos, as well as your health and finances. I have habits in these areas as well.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.
Two things that are necessary for developing routines:
1. Rise early. 2. Go to bed at a reasonable time this is my advice for younger people just getting a start in life. If you develop the habit of getting up early and getting started and going to bed earlier than most, you will no doubt be more productive. Many do not like to hear this, but it is the reality. Stop watching T.V. and go to bed! Get up and get your day started correctly. If you do those two things, you will be more productive than most people! But I am not a morning person, you say. You were not born a night-owl, you were born a baby, and over time you developed the habit of staying up late. It does not matter to me what time you go to bed, but if you are not getting the things done that you would like, you have to look at your habits. You are defined not by what you say you are going to do, but by what you do daily. If something is not working, you must take a good hard look at your routines.
These are just the basics of my routines. I would love to hear about your routines.