Why A Daily Routine Is A Must Have.
One of the reasons you feel stressed out and overwhelmed is because most of what you are doing each day is reactive work.
Reactive work is work that’s not planned, and all you can do is react to it. It gets thrown at you from the usual sources: Clients/customers, colleagues and bosses. It means you end up feeling nothing is moving forward. You’re just waiting for the next crisis, and that leaves you feeling exhausted and disappointed.
To change that, you must take control of your time. Of course, this does not mean you will be able to plan everything; crises and emergencies will always come up. But when you control your time and what you do with your time, you start to feel more empowered, more in control and more fulfilled and a lot less stressed.
One effective way to take control is to set up a daily routine. There is a lot written about morning routines, and these are great to get your day started. But a daily routine gives you a structure to your whole day and ensures you get your core work done — the work you are paid to do — and have time to work on your goals. (Remember those?)
However, before you can build a daily routine, you need to know what you want, what’s important to you and what you want time to do each day. Work is part of that, but so is time spent with your family and friends. Time for exercise, and most importantly of all, time for yourself. These areas often get neglected, yet if you do not have balance in your life, things are inevitably going to break at some point.
Morning and night-time routines are great to give you time for yourself, but what about time for your family and friends? People like Gary Vaynerchuk, Casey Neistat and Shawn Blanc schedule time in the evening for family time. During this time, they are nowhere near a phone or screen. Instead, they are wholly focused on being with their families.
Daily routines are about creating blocks of time for specific work categories that give your day structure. It’s a way to practice time blocking, and there are many ways you can structure this. For example, Mike Vardy, The Productivityist, uses a system called “Time Crafting” where each day has a specific theme. That could be Monday for recording his podcast, Tuesday for admin, Wednesday for writing, Thursday for coaching and Friday for everything else.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, and Elon Musk also manage their week by theme. For Jack Dorsey, Monday he’s working on Square, Tuesday it’s Twitter, and within these days, he’s either working on strategy or marketing.
Having daily routines not only puts you in control of your time; it also creates momentum towards achieving your goals and completing your projects on time. It also gives you time to work with your customers and clients.
One simple trick you can try is to create for yourself a communications hour where you block out an hour or so (depending on how much communication you need to deal with each day) specifically for responding to your emails and messages.
Throughout the day, you receive a lot of communications — some of which may require an immediate response that you have to deal with. However, emails that are not so urgent can be stored in a folder for responding to later in the day. For example, my communication time is between 5pm and 6pm each day. This is where I sit down and respond to all my actionable emails and messages.
This means I do not have to worry about finding time for dealing with my messages. I know I have time later in the day. Suppose something urgent comes up either side of 5 and 6 pm, no problem. I deal with that there and then. But the majority of the messages you get will not be urgent — unless you’re working in the emergency room of a large hospital.
If you are in sales, you can create a follow-up and lead generation time in the day. Pick the time of day when your customers and potential customers are most likely to answer the phone or be in their place of work, and dedicate that time each day for doing your follow-ups and prospects.
You do not have to use time blocking, either. If your day is regularly interrupted by meetings and other commitments, create a daily list of things you need to perform without specific time attached to it. For example, you may have six things you must complete each day:
Write (proposals, quotes, reports)
What you put on this list will depend on the kind of work you do, but the list needs to reflect what you have established is important to you. However, as a guide, the order of importance should be:
- Long-term goals
- Areas of focus
- Core work
- Everything else
If you have not established your long-term goals, areas of focus, and core work, you will quickly discover you have no control over your time because everything coming at you will be the emergencies of other people, not you.
Having a daily routine gives you structure. It ensures you are working on the right things at the right time, and it gives you enough time to deal with the essential things in YOUR life. It puts your priorities front and centre, and if you are not doing them, you only have one person to blame… Yourself.
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