A routine life leads to success. I’m not talking about the definition of routine that is the equivalent of “ordinary”. I’m talking about having a style of repetitiveness in life that gets you closer to your goals each day.
We all have routines in our life; a morning routine, a workout routine, eating routines, etc. Routines are important because they provide the structure we need to do certain tasks efficiently on a daily basis. But, have you ever stopped to think about your routines? Probably not, which is why they are routine! Even if you don’t think about the routines themselves, have you thought about how your routines are effecting your ability to be successful?
Where we get in trouble is when our routines set us up for failure. For instance, if a person has a routine of drinking three cups of coffee in the morning followed by a large lunch, there’s a good chance that person will have a 2 o’clock crash each afternoon that prevents them from being productive the rest of the day. The key to success is to develop routines that help you get closer to your goals, not further away. So how can we analyze and develop routines that put us on the right path?
Take note of your current routines.
Some people have being doing the same activities the same way for so long that they don’t even take notice anymore! You can’t expect to change your current routines or develop new ones if you’re unaware of the routines you currently have. Start out by deliberately watching yourself for an entire week. Take notes of the the patterns, activities and habits that you perform each day.
One of the incredible things about people with deeply routed routines is that they often perform these routines at nearly the exact same time every day. Have you ever caught yourself looking at your watch at the same time each day? It’s not a coincidence. Our bodies have extremely accurate internal clocks, and our routines often revolve around them. When you’re noting your routines, also make notes of the times these routines are happening.
Determine which routines are having a negative impact.
Again, we all need routines in our lives to provide structure, and so that we don’t have to process each and every task. But we need to eliminate the routines that are negatively impacting our body, our productivity and and thoughts. Take a look at all the routines you have written down for yourself. Is there one or two that stick out that could be preventing you from reaching your goals or succeeding?
One of the negative routines I noticed about myself was the times and frequency with which I was checking my email. I had a routine of checking my email several times a day, and often during the middle of trying to focus on an important task. I would check my email when I first sat down at the desk, then again around 8:45, and again around 10 and so on. I was setting myself up for failure because not only was I interrupting my focus on a particular task, I would often shift my focus completely to something that came up in an email. I knew that I had to adjust my email routine in order to stay focused on my most important tasks without interruptions.
Modify and create routines.
Now that you’ve identified one or more routines that may be leading you down the wrong path, it’s time to change them! As per my email example, I had to consciously stop the urge to check my email so frequently. I also learned to check my email in between important tasks, such as at lunch time and during an afternoon break. This helped me to stay focused on my highest priority projects and get them done faster.
You also need to create new routines that will help you form habits to be successful. One example may be blocking out the same time each week to send thank you notes. Another example of a routine I have been using for a couple of years now is making a point to not take appointments on Friday afternoons, leaving them open for me to plan and strategize on my business. Without implementing this routine, I would likely never find the time during a normal work week to focus solely on improving my business.
Getting rid of negative routines and building routines that will improve the way you live and do business is not easy, but it is certainly worth the investment you will make!
I’d like to hear about the routines in your day that have helped you become successful! Please leave a comment below, or send me an email with your comments and stories!