Getting your day started and wrapped up on your terms is essential to maximum productivity.
We’ve all been there: You plan to have a productive day, and then the first distraction rolls in. Then the next one starts. Then the one after that.
Before you know it, half the day is already gone and you haven’t done a single thing that matters to you.
The same goes for the evening. When I find myself drifting without a routine, all of a sudden it will be 2 a.m. and I’m still awake doing mindless activities.
If you want to live a better life, you have to get the things done on your to-do list that matter the most.
Of course, there will be days where you have to break the routine, but I find that if I stick to a routine most days of the week, I get more done.
The best part about a morning routine is that most interruptions haven’t entered your life yet, so you can focus on what matters. It’s much easier to go through the day knowing you have made progress toward your ultimate dream instead of feeling resentful that someone else took your time from you.
1. Know what matters most
If you don’t know your ultimate goal, here is a great article from Art of Manliness to help you figure out your goals: Create A Life Plan.
You could also spend time meditating and trying out new things to discover what you feel most passionate about. A lot of people aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives, so they put everything off until “later”, only to realize they’re much older and should have started when they were younger. No matter your age, you can start today to discover your life’s calling.
2. Eliminate all distractions
This is especially important in the morning. If you check your e-mail or your phone first thing in the morning, you’re asking for everyone else to derail your day. Everyone else can wait.
This was a hard one for me at first. Waiting to check e-mail took about 3 months of trying for me to break. I finally had to remove e-mail completely from my phone at night so I couldn’t be tempted to hit that button.
3. Keep tweaking as you go
There are plenty of morning and night routines that might work best for you. Try keeping a journal and taking notes of what went right and what you want to change.
You’ll have days where you miss. Stay focus on what matters to you and get right back on the horse when you can. Don’t let one off day completely ruin your progress.
My morning and night routine:
– Wake up at 6:30 and brew some coffee
– NO internet or cell phone under any circumstances.
– Take my dog for a small walk so she’s quiet during my work
– Sit down and start writing for about an hour or two
– Stretch for a little bit (to try and combat all the sitting)
– Plan the rest of the day depending on what I need to get done
– Exercise (I’ve always been an evening exercise fan)
– Come back upstairs and review the day
– Brain dump everything on my mind. What’s nagging at the back of my mind? What do I need to do soon? What open loops do I need to close? Getting these out and on paper helps me sleep better
– Plan the next day, especially what I plan to get done first thing in the morning so I can sit down and get right to work.
– What can I set up this evening to make tomorrow immediately successful? Sometimes this consists of preparing the coffee, washing my outfit for the next morning, finding a notebook I need for a writing project, etc.
– Tidy up the important areas: my kitchen counter and desk. Clutter never used to bother me until I realized how nice it was to wake up to a completely decluttered surface area.