The Importance of Daily Routines
Welcome to this post, “The Importance of Daily Routines”!
I’ve always been a very structured person. I don’t function well without routines built into my life. I just feel off if I’m not following my usual routine.
But what if you can’t relate? What if you have very little routine in your life? Perhaps you either like it that way or are managing to get by.
Today I hope to convince you otherwise. I want to share the importance of daily routines and share how they’ve benefited my life thus far.
Let’s get into it!
My Daily Routine
I think a good way to start this post is to share what my daily routine actually looks like. Each day I try to follow a morning routine and a night routine. Here you can see them below:
- Use Restroom
- Cold Shower
- Get Ready
- Eat Breakfast
- Make Bed
- Read Bible/Prayer Time
- Check Phone
- End of Work Day
- Empty Brain Dump
- Review Day
- To-Do List For Next Day
- Habit Tracker
- Two Day Rule
- Mind Wander
- Hygiene Routine
- Social Media Check
- Listen to Music to Fall Asleep
Every Action Should Have Meaning
Looking at that list alone won’t help you much. In order to understand the power of my daily routines, you need to understand some of the reasoning.
Each one of those actions above has a meaning. It is either a habit I’m trying to build, something that will help me wake up or fall asleep, or something that I enjoy doing. I want to share a few of those meanings here:
Exercise: Getting my body moving early in the morning is a great way to wake up. Exercise is a super beneficial habit to have and there’s no better time to exercise than in the morning in my opinion. Not only do I get the chance to exercise my body, but I also exercise my discipline and consistency.
Cold Showers: I used to only take hot showers, but I think cold showers are much better for a daily routine. Cold showers help set my mindset for the day. It’s the first time I get the chance to practice two of my life mantras each day (seek discomfort and do hard things). Let me be clear here, cold showers suck. But, I’m always grateful afterwards when my mind is in the right place and I’m super energized and ready to go.
Making My Bed: Once my body has been moving and my mind is in the right place, it’s time to complete the first task of the day…making my bed. This simple task is designed to allow me to have a quick, easy, first win of the day. It sounds cliché, but I really think it’s a great way to start your day. Plus, you’ll immediately feel more organized, creative, and productive once this is done.
Read Bible/Prayer Time: Once of the last parts of my morning routine is some quiet time to read the bible and pray. I know not everyone is religious, but I like to implement this to set my intention for the day. You can do something similar with a gratitude journal or by meditating. I just like to focus on the bigger picture which is what truly matters.
Checking My Phone: Notice how I do all of this before I check my phone. That’s right. I haven’t looked at my phone once yet until the very end of my routine. I literally keep my phone downstairs to avoid the temptation to look at it in the early morning. This is about being proactive instead of being reactive to whatever comes up on my phone. I want the chance to set my intention for my day before I let someone else.
End of Work Day: So now we’re on to the night routine. The first thing I like to do is actually a mini end of work day routine. This helps me transition from my work to a more relaxed state of mind before bed. I start by doing one last process of any messages, notes, or thoughts that came up from the day. Then, I empty my brain dump by sorting it into different categories that I will take care of later. I then do one last check of the current day’s calendar to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Then finally, I make a to-do list on tomorrow’s calendar so I’m clear on what I’m doing the next day. This whole process allows me to turn off my mind and get ready for bed.
Habit Tracker: Towards the end of the day I pull out my habit tracker Notion page to see how the day went. I record each habit that I did and take note of which ones I failed to do. This is also the point at which I follow the two day rule (but I’ll talk about that more down below).
Journal: I’ve tried to implement a daily habit of journaling. I don’t do anything crazy but I like to write a few sentences each evening before bed. This helps me review how the day went and get anything off my chest before I begin the final wind down procedure.
Mind Wander: Once I have journaled, I like to do one more mind wander to catch any last thoughts from the day. I like to sit in a distraction free environment for 5-15 minutes to just let my mind think and slow down before I fall asleep. I find that if I don’t do this now, I’ll be stuck doing this later for much longer when I’m trying to fall asleep.
Social Media Check: One of the last things I’ll do before I go get ready for bed is check my social media. If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I only check my social media once a day in the evening. Having self-control over my social media use has been very helpful in my productivity journey. This is the one time of day I can check my social media and the last time I look at my phone before I leave it downstairs to go to bed.
How To Build Habits Into Your Routines
I believe morning and night routines are built on good habits.
Your habits make up your morning and night routines. Morning and night routines make up your days. Days make up your progress. Progress makes up your success.
Your habits are the best indicator of the trajectory of your life.
As a result, I try to incorporate most of my habits into my daily routines. Out of the 9 habits I currently am building on my habit tracker, 7 are built into my daily routines.
This is a win-win relationship. My habits are more likely to be completed because they are a part of my daily routines. My daily routines are more likely to be completed because that’s how I perform my habits.
Simply put, my habits are my daily routines. You can’t build daily routines without building strong habits, or vice versa.
Habit Stacking with Needs and Wants
So how do you actually go about making a daily routine that includes your habits? I follow a strategy from Atomic Habits by James Clear that involves habit stacking with needs and wants.
First things first, let’s talk about habit stacking. This is when you stack one habit right after another. It’s like a “If this, then that” sort of thinking. For example, I put on my workout clothes right after I wake up. I then take a shower right after I workout.
Then you can incorporate your needs and wants into your habit stacking. James Clear suggests that you alternate from a need to a want in your habit stacking sequences. A need is something you don’t want to do and a want is something you do want to do. For example, right after you read a book, you get to check your social media. Or right after you exercise, you get to play video games for an hour.
When you combine habit stacking with your needs and wants, your daily routines look something like this:
Structuring Your Day
A huge part of having a good daily routine is structuring your time well. I like to think of each day as a sandwich.
My morning and night routines are the pieces of bread. The rest of the day is the meat (or whatever else you put on your sandwich). In my opinion, the bread is what can make or break a good sandwich.
If you have good bread, the sandwich is usually pretty good. If you have bad bread, you likely won’t enjoy your sandwich.
The same thing applies to daily routines. I know that if I can start and end each day right, the rest of my day will be pretty good. However, if I don’t follow my daily routines, who knows how the rest of the day will go.
I haven’t mentioned perhaps the most important part of structuring your day…your sleep schedule. You see, I find that a successful day for me usually occurs when I wake up relatively early (8:00 or earlier) and fall asleep relatively early (11:00 or earlier).
If I can stay within those timeframes, I can usually get my morning and night routines done and get a lot of work done in between. However, if I start to stay up late and then wake up late, the whole day seems to be shot.
With this realization I’ve done my best to stick to a good sleep schedule. This usually means waking up early, going to bed early, and most importantly, stop working by a certain time.
How To Stick To Your Routines
Alright so now you have habits that you want to build and a daily routine that you want to follow, but how do you actually stick your your daily routines?
Built It Into Your Current Routine
First things first, you need to recognize what you’re current daily routines are. Get a piece of paper and write down what your current days look like from start to finish. Include the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then right next to that, write down what your ideal day looks like.
Once you’ve done this, look to see where the two overlap. What habits are on both sides of the paper? That is where you should start building new habits using the habit stacking method. Use your existing habits to build better ones.
Focus On A Few Habits
If you’re like most people, there’s probably several habits that you want to start building right now. But, it’s important that you start with a few. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to go from your current life to your ideal life overnight.
Something I’ve been focused on a lot lately is sustainability. Anyone can follow their ideal daily routine once, or maybe even a few times. But, now many can do it everyday. That’s why I’m trying to follow a daily routine that is sustainable in the long run.
Once you have an idea of what daily routine you want to follow, write it down somewhere as a checklist. I prefer to keep this digital so that I can check things off and easily uncheck them the next day.
Each day, make it your goal to check each thing off your checklist. Act as if you were a pilot doing your pre-flight check. Move from one item to the next systemically and you’ll be done in no time.
It’s important to track your progress with your habits. There are so many articles, videos, and other resources on this topic so I won’t bore you to death. But, know that it is a vital part of building habits.
Two Day Rule
As I mentioned earlier, I follow something known as the two-day rule when it comes to my habits. The idea is that I can’t miss any one of my habits 2 days in a row. If I do, I have to put $10 in a jar. Each day I have a perfect day and complete every one of my habits, I get to take $10 out of the jar. At the end of the month I have to give the money in the jar to a charity of my choice.
The idea here is to build sustainable habits. It’s not sustainable to say that you are going to run every day from now on out for eternity. You are going to miss days…it’s inevitable. This system gives you some grace and allows you to miss every other day if you wanted to. However, it’s just enough to build a habit in the long term.
The key to a successful morning routine is the night routine.
Read that again:
The key to a successful morning routine is the night routine.
So much of my night routine is just planning for the next day. I plan the time I’ll wake up, the workout I’ll do, and I’ll even lay my workout clothes out.
You have to make sure you properly unwind, get ready for bed, and fall asleep on time if you want any shot at having a successful morning routine the next day.
It’s easy to have discipline in the morning when you’ve prepped everything to be perfect the night before.
That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this post on the importance of daily routines! Remember that daily routines are really important and how you go about building them is a difficult task.. However, hopefully you now have a better idea of how you can go about building routines in the future. Please feel free to leave comments, questions, or concerns down below. Also, share this post with someone who needs it!
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