Routines are important and powerful. They allow us to save time by not having to make decisions. They can support you, your vision, and your goals, or they can work against what you actually want.
We all have routines, but few of us actually chose our routines. We just seem to fall into them, and we keep our routines unless they’re obviously failing.
Your current routines might be okay, but are they bringing you closer to your goals? Do they support your values and priorities? Examine your daily routines and determine how well they serve you.
Can you make some small changes here and there that would enable them to serve you better? Even a small alteration in a routine can make a big difference, because they’re performed consistently. Over time, these actions add up.
Ask yourself these questions about your routines:
- Morning routine.
From the time your alarm goes off until you’re out the front door, what do you do?
- What time do you get up? How many times does your alarm go off first?
- What do you think about while lying in bed?
- What do you have for breakfast?
- Do you do anything besides eat and prepare for work? What do you do? Are you doing those things optimally?
- How much time do you waste that you could be using productively?
- Work routine.
- Are you taking the optimal route to work?
- Do you get gas before work or after?
- How do you use the time in your car?
- How early do you arrive at work?
- What do you do first?
- How much time do you waste at work?
- What are your eating routines?
- How do you choose your meals?
- Do you buy your lunch or bring it to work?
- What is your snacking routine?
- Do you prepare healthy meals ahead of time or just throw together what you can at the last minute?
- Evening at home. How do you spend your time after you get home from work?
- Think about your household chores, and the time you spend with your family. Are you making positive memories with your loved ones? How?
- What hobbies do you spend time on?
- How do you use the time before bed?
- Weekends. How do you spend the weekends? What are your weekend routines?
- Do you go out for doughnuts every Saturday morning?
- Do you attend church?
- Is Saturday afternoon family time?
- Or do you play poker all weekend?
Evaluating Your Routines
What is your general impression of your current routines? Are there any obvious weaknesses or places where you’d like to something differently?
Identify wasted time. Look at your routines and determine how much time you’re wasting each day. Include all non-value activities, like watching TV. You might be shocked by the number of hours you’re wasting. Start thinking about how you could better use that time.
Examine your goals, values, and priorities. Take a few minutes to jot these down. It’s not really possible to evaluate a routine without having criteria to evaluate against. This is an important step. If you don’t know what’s important to you and what you want to accomplish, you’re undoubtedly wasting a lot of time.
Also, consider the challenges you’re currently facing in your life. Are your routines helping, harming, or having no effect on solving your challenges?
Now, go back and create routines that make sense for you. Consider your current challenges and goals:
- What activities can you do each day that support what you’re trying to accomplish?
- What can you do each day that will move you closer to your goals?
- What is the best way to use your time in each of your routines?
You might be able to accomplish more in the morning than just getting to work on time. With a proactive pre-bedtime routine, you could teach yourself a language or a new skill that could help your career. What do you want to accomplish?