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8 Steps to Sticking to Your Routine

In a world full of distractions, notifications, alerts and opportunities, it can be hard to focus on one thing at a time.

The overwhelming breadth and depth of stimuli takes away from focusing on what truly matters, your:

  • Goals
  • Business
  • Aspirations
  • Dreams

Developing a core structure of weekly rituals or routines can help block out extraneous nonsense and hone in on your priorities — sticking to it is a whole other can of worms!

Let’s take it step-by-step.

1. Schedule Everything in Your Calendar

You heard me right — everything. That includes personal appointments, business engagements, workouts and even family outings.

Keeping track of the going-ons of your daily life will allow you to effectively manage your time and identify where you may be mismanaging your time.

For example, if exercise is a big part of your life, allocate one hour per day in your calendar to hit the gym. You might notice fitting everything into just one hour feels a bit rushed because you like chatting with fellow patrons, enjoying a shower afterward or grabbing a coffee on your way home.

In those occurrences, identify if you’re making the most effective use of your time or can exercise greater self-control and stick to your predefined schedule.

Pro tip: Colorblock your calendar based on event type (e.g. green for work, red for family, blue for personal, purple for fitness, etc.)

2. Establish a Bedtime/Wake-Up Routine

The end of your day can be equally as influential on your energy and productivity levels as the beginning of your day.

Create a bedtime and wake-up routine you can stick to. This includes a set dinner and bedtime, as well as wake-up call.

Aim to start your day off to a strong start by doing something productive within the first hour of waking; create your daily to-do list, go for a walk, run a load of laundry and so on.

Your productivity momentum created in the morning will gather steam and last throughout your day.

3. Know When to Say “No”

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes — including people. How many times have you been in the office, knee-deep in a project, when a co-worker comes in to ask a question or for your help?

Pausing your workflow now and then probably won’t derail you too much, but if interruptions are happening every day, sometimes multiple times a day, you need to set some boundaries.

There are a couple of ways you can go about it:

  • Inform your colleague you’ll circle back to them at a more convenient time, then squeeze it in when you have a free moment.
  • Block out your calendar, so everyone knows you’re not to be disturbed during such and such a time.
  • Schedule a block of time specifically for addressing questions/inquiries from others. Stick to this time, as closely as you can, so others will take it as seriously as you do.

4. Put Down the Distractions

If your aim is to set your schedule like a well-oiled machine, electronic distractions can be a major setback.

Avoid the use of your phone, tablet, television or social media for purposes unrelated to the task at hand. This includes email notifications!

It can be so tempting to switch tabs when you receive a new email notification, but ultimately you’re doing yourself a disservice, by repeatedly disengaging and re-engaging your focus.

Delete unnecessary apps from your phone and switch your phone to silent, when it comes time to buckle down.

5. Take Things One Step at a Time

Multitasking is one of the biggest productivity misconceptions of all time. While it might feel like you’re accomplishing more, in fact, you’re probably doing both tasks at half-measure.

If you’ve created a schedule or routine for yourself, stick to it — plain and simple. If you become overwhelmed by the need to complete a task other than the one at hand, take a step back and assess whether it’s truly a priority or not.

If it is, adjust your routine and move forward, if not, stick to what you’ve planned and get to it when you can. Which leads us into our next point…

6. Be Flexible

While your routine might be set in stone, the whole world does not revolve around it and things will come up. You will always have the power to choose how you respond to setbacks: will you view them as obstacles or opportunities?

Incorporating some flexibility into your routine will prepare you to deal with adversity and challenge, more so than expecting everything to always do exactly according to plan. When has that ever happened?

7. Switch It Up

Routine is great, until it turns to monotony. Endeavor to switch up your routine every now and then or keep your schedule on a rotating basis.

For example, you can create A and B days, where your A-Day routine is different from your B-Day routine. This will help prevent burnout and boredom.

You may consider switching your routines with the seasons. During the winter, you’re more likely to bundle up and work inside, but during the spring, can you take your work outside?

If you’re a habitual treadmill runner, see if you can take your run outdoors a couple of days a week.

Variety is essential to motivation and keeping the interest alive. Remember, you run your routine — don’t let your routine run you!

8. Give Yourself a Day Off

Downtime is a necessity to routine! You might get so wrapped up in scheduling and planning ahead, that you miss out on the spontaneity of life.

Set aside time on the weekends, Friday afternoons or midday pauses to simply let go of your routine and do what comes naturally.

The benefits of unplanned downtime are plenty. You:

  • Appreciate routine more, when it’s not a 24/7 ordeal.
  • Notice ways you can adjust or improve your routine to be more conducive to your personality.
  • Make time for yourself and your loved one — much deserved!

One thing you can surely add to your routine is keeping up with our blog. We’ll be here every week with more leadership, productivity and business-savvy goodness — see you then!

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8 Steps to Sticking to Your Routine
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Developing a core structure of weekly rituals or routines can help block out nonsense and hone in on your priorities, but sticking to it is a challenge!
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