How to Establish a Daily Routine
Routine is essential for a productive and ordered life, and there are a number of very basic facts behind this idea. Routines work because of the principle of habits, which is really nothing more complicated than the idea that when you do something regularly it becomes easier to do it. On the flip side, when every day is chaotic and different, it becomes difficult to diligently do anything – simply because you are not doing it often enough.
So, that all sounds terribly simple – and, in one sense, it is – but millions of people still have trouble establishing a daily routine… and then sticking to it! Remember, actually planning out what you hope to do each day is probably the easy part. The hard part is doing it.
What can be done about this? Luckily, this is not an area of research that has been neglected. A great deal of behavioral psychology has been directed toward solving this problem. Furthermore, there are a great many products, most obviously things like diaries and planners, which have been designed to help people establish a routine.
Next Level Daily, a company specializing in planning technology, certainly advises that using the right tools can take you a long way. Nevertheless, there are a few mental techniques that are also necessary. Yes, you can plan out a routine, but the goal is to make it a habit!
The most effective high-performance planners in the world will do little if the routine you have created is simply not realistic. This is a big problem for many people creating a routine after a period of not having one. They fill their planner with too much, or they plan out a routine that just doesn’t suit how they work best.
Even if this can be stuck for a couple of days, it is unlikely to last long if the routine is not realistic. Habits cannot be formed if it takes considerable effort to realize them each day. The goal is for them to ultimately become second nature.
But how do you know what routines are realistic? There are certainly some very useful tips you can follow, but the truth is that a period of trial and error will probably be necessary. You need to try out different routines and then tweak them until they become something that can form a solid habit.
A Day is More Than Your Routine
Another especially important point when it comes to creating a routine that will actually stick is to see it as a base upon which additional tasks can be added. You should aim to do some things the same every day (that’s routine). Of course, life, work, and leisure can throw up different commitments every day, different amounts of work – and often at short notice.
Your routine needs to have space to add these things on top. For example, if your routine involves having breakfast at a certain time and getting to the office at a certain time, it also needs to include some unplanned time for the tasks that can come along at short notice and the variable amounts of work that you might have on different days. A good routine needs to be thought of as a base.
So, in conclusion, then, a routine really needs to be specific to you personally, organized with the aid of planners and other tools – and it also needs to leave time for the variable tasks. It will take some trial and error, but once you get that right, your routine will stick.