Routines imply that you’re able to commit to doing something one way, consistently, for a significant period of time. You may have a skin care routine or blogging routine that insures that, so long as you stay on track and follow your system, things get done.
But if you have a tone of projects up in the air and a never ending to-do list, you may have a remember to wash your make up off reminder instead of a skin care routine and a get a blog post up ping rather than a full on routine, and that’s cool –it happens!
Nevertheless, it helps to be able to map things out and chart your plan of action. When you can’t implement a full on routine, you can make a schedule –be it daily, weekly or monthly, to help you get things done and salvage some of your sanity.
Here are my top tips for creating a schedule that actually helps:
01 / Pick your bedtime first!
This seem a bit like working backwards, and in a way it is, but it’s definitely the way to plan your day! When you don’t set a dedicated stop time, we have a tendency to just keep going. Which leads to less energy, less productivity and a domino effect into the next day. Think of your bedtime as close of business, and stick to it!
02 / Prioritize your to-do list
It’s easy to write a list of the 500 things you’d like to accomplish in one day, but how many of them are actually doable? Make your master list, and then pull out things that absolutely must be done that day. Then, take it a step further and break it down into things that should be done in the morning versus afternoon, and so on.
03 / Remember meals and breaks!
Have you ever had a super productive few hours followed by a serious decline and energy drain? Yeah, that’s because you’re hungry and you haven’t eaten anything to compliment the 3 cups of coffee you started the day with. Don’t forget to re-up your energy –mentally and physically. Take 30 minutes to look at something other than a screen and get some green veggies into your system.
04 / Do the most daunting tasks earliest
The best way to do the things you’d rather avoid is by knocking them out early. Leave your morning open, if possible, for the mundane tasks you normally push aside (and then never do).
05/ Go hour by hour and use a timer
Your schedule should start when you wake up and end at your pre-selected bedtime. Fill in all of the appointments and work to be done between then, and then lock it into a time slot when you plan to do it. Once you’re in work mode, use a timer to let you know when one work block is over and to either move on or take a break –also known as pomodoro method.
06 / Set boundaries
We’re often way more of other’s schedules than we are our own. If you’ve decided to dedicate your morning to writing, don’t allow someone to try and place a 10am call, meeting or deadline on your books. Lock in all of your to-do’s, even your breaks, as definite busy time.
Being flexible is fine, but don’t allow your schedule to be taken over!