Do you wish you could ditch your daily responsibilities and heed the call of adventure in our majestic Wasatch Mountains or leave work early to go fish the Provo River?
Designing a daily routine where you feel competent in managing your time will ultimately result in you being able to “do it all.” Maybe you already have a routine that you enjoy, or maybe you have a routine that currently is not working well for you or your household. Perhaps, your “routine” consists mostly of reacting to your day instead of being in control of your day. With over 16 years of experience running a family and several successful businesses; I’m looking forward to sharing my Simple Systems with you. Let’s begin by highlighting a few ways for you to examine how you can optimize your time.
Designing the Perfect Daily Routine
Your first step in designing the perfect daily routine is to closely examine what you are doing now, and discover where your time is well-used and where it is wasted. Routine doesn’t necessarily mean a rigidly scheduled series of events.
It means something a little looser like — a rhythm. You might already have a bit of a rhythm where one activity follows another naturally. This is the best kind of schedule when children and families are involved. Many studies show children (and most adults) thrive in orderly environments that have a predictable routine. This doesn’t have to mean following a schedule around the clock. If you don’t currently have any sort of routine or rhythm but you have a growing to-do list, I think it is safe to say that you need to get some sort of action plan in place!
The “Must”, “Should”, and “Could” Dos
Write down your must, should, and could dos under each day of the week. This step might take you a while as you will continue to add new tasks as they come up. Some ideas to include are laundry, showering, dishes, workout time, work tasks, meals, chores, commuting, and family time.
Use a timer and follow your task list to see the amount of time it takes to complete each task. At the end of this exercise you might have to make the difficult decision to let go of tasks that simply do not fit in your life right now. As hard as it is to say “no,” it will reduce stress in your life and ultimately improve your health, both mentally and physically.
Look back at your list and ask yourself if you are being realistic. As busy humans, we have long to-do lists, and often overestimate what we can actually get done. These unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of defeat. Is your plan making you exhausted before you even start your week? Does it just look impossible to get accomplished? It may be time to say “no” especially if you feel like your health is suffering from being overtaxed.
Does saying “no” bring anxiety? It does for me! But the alternative is not pretty either. Saying “no” can involve something as difficult as telling a friend or family member that you cannot do a task or meet an expectation. Or, it can be as simple as purging your own tasks off of your list of expectations that you set for your week. Look at your time diary; are you noticing that your day is broken up by so many little things? Running a simple errand can completely derail your day and mean that nothing on your to-do list gets done. It is important to make sure that you are not fragmenting your day with little tasks, especially little unplanned tasks. You may have to say “no” to yourself. Do you need to say “no” to all the time you are spending dealing with emails? How about a “no” to time on the phone, social media, or running meetings, groups, etc.
You might not need to eliminate certain things completely out of your life, but maybe you need to scale back your responsibilities. After week one of your timer exercises and most definitely by the end of week two, you will have a few thorns that stick out to you. One might be a habit or responsibility that you have taken on that is derailing your productivity. That habit could be something like constantly looking at your phone. There may be some responsibility you’ve taken on that is simply not in the plan for you in this season of your life because you already have a full plate. Whatever the case may be, the timer exercises will give you concrete evidence of where your time is going and how much of it you have left to spend.
A Few Ideas for Your Routine
Now, I want to share with you some of my favorite ideas that will help you build out a routine that really works. A routine that will mean you are not constantly reacting to life, but instead are proactively managing every aspect of your day.
- Get up before the craziness of the day starts. It is amazing how this can make you feel so much more in control. It will also significantly reduce anxiety. OR stay up a little bit later if you feel like you are more of a night owl than an early bird.
- Create a moment that you look forward to every day so getting up early isn’t as painful. A cup of coffee isn’t a bad start, I recommend mycotoxin free beans so you don’t hit a slump a few hours later.
- Decide what really matters for the day and ignore the rest. So much of our day can be completely consumed by reacting instead of addressing our true priorities. At the end of the day, we are completely frustrated by the fact that we did not get anything done on our “to do” list even though we worked all day.
- Attempt to determine the hours in your day when you can be most productive and maximize that time.
- Make your morning routine such a habit, that you don’t even have to think about it.
- Use the snooze function on Facebook.
Designing Your Custom System
These are only a few ideas to get you started. I hope they help you realize that you can design a custom system that will help you accomplish what needs to be done and what you’d like to do. I would love to hear more about your experience with designing your perfect daily routine and to answer any questions you might have. Who knows maybe we’ll meet while taking a hike or sipping a drink in between ‘doing it all!’