One of the best ways to sustain a positive personal and professional life is to create a daily routine. Routines and healthy habits create a sense of security and efficiency that enable you to get through your day and tick off all those things on your to-do list. You’ll find that the most effective routines are not those pulled from the internet but more the ones that you’ve created to suit your needs! Everyone has different days and different ways of working, which is why they need to be personal.
Simple ways to start looking at creating your routine is looking at the constants. Everyone wakes up, goes to sleep, and eats, the best thing to do is to pick the best times in your day to make these as consistent as possible.
The main outcomes that can come from you building a routine you’re happy with can be not wasting time by scattering your workload and not being able to focus and finish them to a level you’re happy with, this can lead to frustration and a growing to-do list. It also gives you a chance to incorporate things that make you happy, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.
To start planning your routine, it does involve a bit of trial and error, we don’t always get it right the first time, and it’s always too include some grey time to catch up on something that perhaps didn’t go as planned – after all life is always full of surprises, but in our 5 steps, you’ll get there in no time.
Start to make a list. Get down on paper everything you do daily, this is a rough list and doesn’t need you to allocate time or even begin to structure your day, but it may be helpful to think of your day chronologically to avoid missing anything out. You also don’t need to worry about forgetting something nothing is set in stone, you can add to this list whenever you feel the need.
Begin to create a rough plan. One of the key elements of planning for yourself is acknowledging your ability to do things throughout the day what I mean is don’t plan to do your most mentally demanding task first thing in the morning if you’re a night owl, do what feels right for your personal needs.
Then break your day down into categories based on time – Morning, Afternoon, Evening.
The mornings can be a tricky time for some of us, as it usually involves quick actions that get us ready for work, or ready to get the kids to school etc, so this could be a good time to get your bits and pieces tasks done.
When you get to work the mornings are a good time to cross off the tasks you’ve been avoiding, this is a good way to boost your mood, and motivation, as completing the most daunting tasks can be the most rewarding. Make sure when you start your day at work, you have all your tasks down on paper/or digitally. This will help you avoid jumping between different tasks.
Midday can be hard to crack down on the hard stuff, your mind may be on lunch, and it could be time for a coffee, which is why this is a perfect time for your tasks that are already habitual and send you into auto-pilot. This can be the tedious things like checking emails, taking a look at your files and re-organising. But it’s also a good time to take a mental break, have a quick walk around the block, maybe head outside for your coffee break. Factoring in breaks is just as important as the bigger tasks. They allow you to recollect your thoughts and re-energise.
The afternoon is best for your final push of the day, but more importantly, time to start getting ready for the next day and making sure that you have completed everything you needed too. It’s also a good idea to factor in the grey time at this time of the day, this can give you that extra time needed to pick up anything you needed more time on.
Breaks- Touching on breaks again it's advised that you should take shorter but more frequent breaks throughout the day. For example, you could take a 5-10 minute break every hour and it would better you more than a 20-minute break every 3 hours. This also gives you a chance to stretch out your shoulders and back. You can do this and also take a minute to take in deep breaths and give your body and mind the wellbeing break it deserves.
You could incorporate and adapt your tasks around to make sure you look after your wellbeing at work are;
- Walking meetings, it can give you and your colleague a moment to breathe but also maintain your productivity.
- Do some stretching at your desk on your break to make sure you’re really getting the kinks out and taking your eyes away from the screen to also make sure you give your eyes a break.
- Make sure your lunch is a healthy one with lots of nutrients. An unhealthy diet not only impacts you physically but mentally too.
- Make some time to socialise. Even if it’s for a quick tea break having a chat with someone can improve your sense of belonging and boost your self-esteem.