Establishing routines isn’t always easy. I for one do love a good routine, but getting myself into one can be hard work. I’m the worst at ‘putting things off” and trying to distract myself, and then telling myself I’m the ‘busiest person in the world’.
I’ve been working on sticking to routines for a while now, so I decided it was a great time to put together a blog post allllllll about trying to stick to a not-so-strict-routine every day, and one which optimises productivity.
Firstly, I started by considering how I want to spend my time in spans of years, quarters, months, weeks – and then I work my way down to the daily routines.
Currently, I’m understanding that my overall goal is to work as efficiently as possible, so I can spend more time with my partner, friends and family without always being ‘too busy’.
So, in the hope of helping others set up a routine that helps productivity and can contribute to more calmer, controlled days, here are five tips that keep me be productive. Take a little scroll down…
Start Your Morning With As Much Positive Energy
I still haven’t established a wake up time in the morning that remains the same everyday, because no two days are the same. If you can do this – sometimes easier when you have kids and know you have to be up at 6am – then do try it. For me, I have a general 7.30am get up time three days in the week, then 6.30am for the other two. Weekends tend to be around 8am, and I’ll lie in bed a little loner.
When I get up, I clear all the windows from condensation (we are prone to it!) and open all curtains and blinds, letting the light in. I make my breakfast straight away, always enjoying it before I start my working day.
I am trying to always get dressed, even if I am working from home. It can be quite hard though – it’s January after all and working in my dressing gown is bloomin’ lovely some times! But getting into work clothes sets me up to be productive, and by wearing something that makes you feel good and confident can really fire you up for the day.
Make a Daily To-Do List
I do this the night before, but then I re-assess it every morning as sometimes things can change it according to any through-the-night emails or ebay sales or anything like that.
Once I’m at my desk, I write out my tasks for the day in a list of priority. I don’t just put work stuff on it, I include house jobs, social tasks, friends to message, things to pick up at the shop, all sorts!When I’m done with a task, I always score it through with a deep, thick line. Nothing makes me feel better than crossing off tasks, which offers a sense of accomplishment.
Communicate With Your Partner
I’ve gotten really bad when it comes to communicating, mainly because my job is so heavily reliant on the internet and social media. I open up Instagram and then straight away I’m not listening to my partner, Martin, or anyone else really come to think of it, no matter where I am.
I find myself telling Martin “I can’t multitask” before cutting him off and diving into my social media channels and absorbing content.
This is bad! A naughty habit to get into. So this year I;m learning to be more present. In the morning, I ask him about his day, I see what time he want to have lunch, if we’re going to go to the gym together, etc etc, and get a lot of communication done before absorbing myself into social media.
Try a Spot of Mind Escapism
Meditation or journaling is a great way to clear your mind throughout the day. I wrote about journaling here, and it seems to be helping lots of people.
When I need to sort through my active mind and busy thoughts, I learnt that it can help to take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything on your mind. You can use this as a form of journaling, if like. Write down and identify any ‘meh’ feelings, reasons for worry or anxiety, and clarify which issues you can and cannot control. The ones you can control, list some steps to tackle them today.
By learning that some things are out of your hands, you start to deal with things better.
Also, think about useful tasks that are great for clearing your mind and forgetting your daily stress. It sounds mad but washing the dishes with the radio one is a great escapism trick for me. Yes, it’s not that enjoyable. But it needs doing and if I put Kiss FM on, I have a right good time!
Stick to a Nighttime Routine
Everyone’s nighttime routine will be different, and those with children with have a totally different one to me. I try to wrap work up at around 6pm, and then have a shower, before starting to cook something delicious for dinner.
I want to start reading a few pages of a good book before I wind down to bed, but I’m still learning to incorporate this.
By before bed routine of taking my makeup off fully, cleansing my face, putting my skincare/facial oils on and leaving my phone on charge (not ideal but it works for me) have become staples in my regime. Whatever works for you and your life – stick to it. Make it a set routine every night, and your body and mind will feel much more relaxed for it.
Prioritizing what sparks joy is at the heart of all the tips I shared above. Keeping this philosophy at the center of everything I do helps me focus on what I value. If you are struggling to figure out what sparks joy for you, my first piece of advice is to tidy your home! Once you are done tidying up, you will find it easier to keep your home – and mental space – clear and focused. By being surrounded only by the things that spark joy, your life naturally begins to achieve clarity.