A Complete Guide To Create A Daily Routine And Stick To It
Does your day fly by without much work? Are you among those who feel they need more discipline to provide better results? Do you feel the need to create a daily routine? Well, I had the same problems earlier. My days would go unplanned, time flying by. But much of it changed after coming across the beautiful book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.
It was a game-changer, as you will understand in the following article. Much of this article is inspired by his book alongside the credible authors of other books as well. The first thing I understood, was having a daily routine. Create a daily routine that can help in the long run. It allows us to achieve our dreams. Routines are the gold mines that yield staggering results when performed consistently over time.
A detailed allotment of your time specified with the action you perform provides high profits in the long run.
Let us start with a definition of routine:
What is a routine?
It is a routine to brush your teeth and get ready for bed every night. It is a routine to get up at 6:00 every morning and exercise. Buying a bagel and reading the news every morning is a routine. It is even a routine to munch chips while watching Netflix. They are all activities that repeat themselves in your daily life, creating a rhythm.
That does not mean they are all beneficial routines; they are just routines since they are getting done regularly. Every practice, whether helpful or not, is powerful. Every great personality has one.
Routines allows our brain to run on autopilot.
But what is it about top players’ routines that make them so effective? As it turns out, we are creatures of ritual, and we can utilize that to our advantage to create a daily routine. Charles Duhigg explains how habits push our brains into an automatic state where little or no effort is necessary for his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.
How it works?
Making coffee is just one straightforward ritual, yet it keeps me going regularly. Imagine if other, powerful actions that might help you achieve larger goals were as simple as making coffee.
Routines have this kind of power. The cumulative effect of tiny, repeated actions can be exponential. You may prime yourself for optimal productivity each day by developing morning and evening rituals.
Why Create A Daily Routine?
I know you still might need a little more persuasion about the advantages of developing a habit. So here it goes.
Developing a pleasant daily habit is both an investment in yourself and a strategy to do your best for the rest of the world. It also has other advantages, such as providing structure, developing forward-moving habits, and establishing momentum that will carry you on days when you do not feel strong enough to harbor yourself.
A daily routine may help you set priorities, reduce procrastination, stay on track with your goals, and even improve your health. It lowers your reliance on willpower and motivation because, as Tynan, the author of Superhuman by Habit, says, habits are “action[s] that you take on a repeated basis with little or no required effort or thought.”
Routines help you avoid wasting time wondering what you should be doing right now. It ensure that everything necessary to get you from where you are to where you should be is completed. Routines aren’t simply something you do daily; they’re a way of life!
That’s all there is to it.
Great Routines include:
Make the most of your energy
Remove the requirement for willpower.
You’re losing out on a pretty important tool if you haven’t already formed a purposeful daily habit.
A tool that has the potential to improve your life. So when you wish to create and set up a daily routine, make sure to include habits that are beneficial for you. Having unrewarding practice limits us from reaching our objectives and makes us feel like a failure.
The Guide To Create A Daily Routine:
First thing you should do before any planning is deciding your goals over the long years. What do you want to do, and what are the things you would like to achieve. Because when you have no idea where you want to go, how on earth would you be able to choose, what method or technique you must choose. You need to find the source. It will help you to remember it when you feel down.
When you wish to learn a new practice, do not just fit them into your schedule and do it. It is where the maximum number of people falls. You must decide why you want to do it. The WHY is very crucial. It can be a general reasoning or a very personal one, but it must get answered.
Do you want to wake up in the morning? Do you want to build muscles? Why?
This reasoning is crucial. That is why you must remember your long-term goals. The new habits you wish to learn to create a daily routine must align with your long-term goals; otherwise, you will not do them sincerely.
I know this might sound a little confusing, and for that, I would recommend you read the review of 7-Habits of Highly Effective People and hopefully the book itself. It has guidelines allowing you to have a well-balanced thought and prepare yourself for your goals and aspirations.
The habits that you plan must synchronize with your future goals and desires.
Habits are like waves
You know, there exists a property in waves, that if two waves having the same power travels in the same direction, the resultant wave is much larger and more powerful. And in contrast, if two waves have opposite strengths, the resulting wave is bleak and less powerful.
A similar thing happens with your routines. If each habit has the same power and provides a constructive resultant, the net result is too powerful and vice versa.
For example, if you exercise but still eat junk food, you will not be making any progress. How much you sweat in the morning will not make any difference in your life. Therefore, choose your habits wisely.
So far, so good?
Why do we usually fail to create a daily routine?
Your most powerful ally will be your regular routine. As a result, we must ensure that we get off to a good start. You might have the reasons and the source for learning new habits. It solves the problem of WHY but then comes the next critical part, the difficulty of HOW.
Remember that what works for someone else might not work for you. That’s why it’s critical to choose the activities that speak to you the most, the ones that drive you to be the best version of yourself, and keep doing them.
Don’t be scared to experiment with new habits to observe how they affect you. Continue doing them if they make you feel energized and inspired. If they don’t work, keep trying until you discover one that does.
The objective is to establish regular and consistent daily habits that will lead you to your desired destination in life, allowing you to maximize your potential on all levels, and for that reason, you must choose your habits cautiously.
When starting a new regimen, the essential thing to remember is to take it slowly. It takes time for things to change. Significant changes take considerably longer. When we do too much early on and push our body to the limit, sometimes it takes the wrong end as we may be no longer interested in doing it, or we can’t do it any longer.
The common scenarios of failure:
For example, if you want to start writing a book or blog like myself, it doesn’t get done in 1-day. Each day, little by little, articles are written, get edited, updated, and then published on the platform. It’s not a single day’s work. Or you may even want to start waking up early. When your usual time is 11-AM, it’s too hard for you to wake up at 4 or 5 AM the next day. You might sleep at 4-AM but waking up at 5-AM is not practical, so you first transition to start waking up at 9 AM, then 8 AM, then gradually wake up at 5-AM.
Starting a healthy regimen is a significant step, and you should be pleased with yourself for doing it! Take a minute to praise yourself for your desire to change for the better.
Up to this point, we have discussed what kind of habits we should form and what combination of rituals we should choose to make the most out of it. Now comes the part of arranging those habits in our daily schedule so that we not only follow them but also balance them in such a manner to grow as an individual.
The Greatest Weapon: Weekly Planner
If you are interested in learning any new good habit but for it to stick to you, you must plan your week. I know you are in the practice of making a daily planner as against to a weekly planner. Weekly planning must be alien to many, but this works far better than daily planning.
The easiest path for you to take is the path of a minimum hindrance. The less the burden and resistance offered to your new routine, the easy it gets absorbed and automated by the body.
There are many items on the checklist you must tick for the less resistant path, among many of which we have already discussed, including deciding your goals in the foreseeable future. Decide what you want to do in the next 4, 5, or 10 years and choose the habits that align with it.
Planning is crucial
Planning the day is a powerful tool that dictates how and when the tasks get completed. The more you plan the better the result.
But, somehow, the usual technique of how we plan the day does not give the results we aspire to.
So am I saying that daily planning is not good?
Shortcomings of Daily Planning:
Daily planning does not provide the results it always boasts. Sitting down each day, writing down the tasks, and blindly following them does not make sense. You can feel that you are doing work, but it does not show whether you are progressing. In other words, you can show someone the job, but you will find it hard to show progress. It is just another medium to let you entail within a rat race. The daily planner treats every day as a standalone day. It demands you to practice different things every day to understand and grow. It is a rigid regime, rarely allowing any flexibility or room to breathe, leading to exhaustion. The daily planner traps you into the world of efficiency that you forget the importance of effectiveness.
You can do 5-tasks efficiently, but it does not mean they are effective.
For example, the article you are reading right now can be written within a 2-hour sitting, and similarly, I can write another 4-articles of the same sort in 1 day. That speaks about my efficiency in doing a said task and completing it on time. But that does not signify how effectively I am able to communicate the emotions and the depth of the topics I am writing.
The difference between efficiency and effectiveness is the same as comparing hard work and smart work.
So what can be an alternate solution?
The Weekly Planner.
The Weekly Planner
A weekly planner is self-explanatory, but the power it holds is not.
Weekly planners come in all shapes and patterns, but the planner you will witness later to help you create a daily routine in this article supersedes them all.
The weekly planner provides a larger time frame to achieve things effectively. Rather than devoting one hour every day according to the daily planner, you can dedicate 5-or even 6-hours on a single day and get better results. It helps you create a balance in life, helping you rise above the limitations of daily planning. You can find more time to do things that rejoice in you and ignites your creative side. And not only this, the weekly planner allows you to have a sense of purpose, benefitting you all the more.
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How To Get The Complete Benefit Of Weekly Planner
Utilize your weekends: The first step for the weekly planning to create a daily routine is taking out good 1-2 hours each Sunday to plan for the next week you are about to enter. This step will give you a headstart on deciding what to do and what not to do. Spending time figuring out the crucial tasks will help you control your mind and future, and you can navigate it as per your will.
Collect the data: Write down all the tasks, duties, meetings, and visits you can think of. These are the tasks that you want to finish the week. Dedicate good enough time so that you can have a nice overview of the duties and responsibilities.
- Analyzing the data: The weekly planner you see above is invented to allow you to focus on the essential things in your life. Not only professional but in personal lives too. Remember I talked about the aims and the goals? Each goal you accomplish gets executed by one of your many roles in life. If you want to create a company, then you have a role of an entrepreneur, a leader, and a manager. If your goal is to create a good family with rich and deep roots of ethics, then you need to fulfill your role as a father, mother, or even child. You have a position of a partner if you want to have an honest and magical relationship with your partner. What I want to convey to you is that each aim or goal is achieved by a specific role. And each position is governed by some principles. The principles that give you a leg to stand on. Those principles give you unwavering confidence when you are in a problem.
The leftmost section is the column for writing down your role, and the next section to it will include the job or act you will do to accomplish it. You will find that many of the tasks you wrote resemble some role. Write down the jobs in the weekly planner.
- Tasks for Personal Growth: The section you see above contains four crucial segments in an individual’s life. Namely, Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Social. Each element is paramount for the growth of an individual. When you have a separate section like this in your planner, you get to exclude yourself from your professional life for a moment and can focus on your personal life as well. You can consider a whole week and analyze where you can do things that strengthen and solidify your core. For example, you can have a schedule for exercises and a set of workouts you will be doing the whole week instead of performing whatever you feel like doing whenever you pick those shoes in the morning. Such values get seldom found by a daily planner where the day runs you, and you do not have even the slightest time to do anything apart from work.
The tasks that you have written in the previous two said columns are the tasks that are important for you, as these tasks align with your long-term goals.
You will prevent yourself from doing or taking up any task that does not satisfy you, and in turn, limit yourself from wasting your crucial time on unimportant things. So write down this task on below mentioned blue box.
Focus and Prioritize
- Delegating Non-essential tasks: There will be tasks on your list that do not make it through the weekly planner. On close observation, you can realize that maybe it is not important because it is not worth your time. The best option for you is to delegate those tasks that can be better done by someone else. And if it has to be done by you, choose a time that does not affect other work and especially your productive hours. Do it and get it over with.
Arranging your priorities: Now, you have the list of tasks for the week. The next thing is to organize them on the days you are supposed to do those things. List the priorities in the upper blue section and record the task in the red area according to the suitable time. Do that for other days, and voila, there you have it. Your weekly planner.
The Follow Up
What you have now is the guidance for you to yield better results. Achieve what you set out to do. But nothing in this world is perfect.
Many times you will not be able to follow it to the exact. But this shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you have set out to do.
To minimize such deviations, you need to review your planner daily. Even if it is for 10 minutes. It should be done twice a day. First when your days start, and then at the end of your workday.
Morning: Take out a sheet of paper and copy down the to-dos for the day. It is possible that from the point you made your calendar to the moment of writing your morning to-do some new task may arise. Add them if it needs to be done on the same day, or find a slot in the weekly calendar. This way new duties also get taken care of.
Evening: At the end of your workday, review your workday and check whether any task was left unfinished or not. If it happens, you can adjust it to the following day.
I’m sure you would have found your answers to your problem as I found. But learning and doing are two different things. To apply it in daily life is too hard but it yields a reward. I struggle to this day, but that is the beauty of self-learning and self-improving, you climb up one cliff and there exists a bigger mountain in front of you. You just need to continue and cheer yourself along the way.
There you have it. The planner that aligns your day and helps you lead a wonderful week, followed by great months and hopefully fantastic years.
Before ending this article, I would like to offer my gratitude to the book from which this article has been inspired.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey is one of the most popular books in the self-help domain. The book provides a model for people to look up to when their lives look haywire. As the title suggests, it is based on 7 life-changing habits. Including the one where we get to command our day.
I’m sure this article and the book will offer you many values, and it is my sincere hope you incorporate them into your life.