If there’s one key to success, it’s consistency. That’s why I’m a big believer in routines. I talk about them a lot!
But before you can focus on making a routine a habit, you have to decide which routines will be the most effective for you. For me, there are four routines that have risen to the top—they’re the best at making me feel centered, productive, and in control of my day:
- Get 8 hours of sleep with a regular bedtime
- Exercise as soon as you wake up
- Launch your workday with a to-do list
- Make time to decompress every night
Putting these routines into consistent practice so that they’re happening at the same time every day can seem daunting. But once they fall into place, everything else in your life gets easier and happier. It’s amazing! Let’s take a closer look at each routine.
Get 8 Hours Of Sleep With A Regular Bedtime
According to the Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. Study after study has shown insufficient sleep is simply unhealthy—it affects us both mentally and physically. Even though it’s a basic human need, over a third of us aren’t getting enough.
If you’re sleeping in late every weekend, you’re not getting enough sleep during the week. If you’re drowsy during the day, you’re not getting enough sleep! Without a solid eight hours, we simply can’t function to the best of our abilities—and the sleep deficit builds up over time.
Does getting eight hours of sleep sound impossible to you? One of the best ways to improve our sleep is to establish a nightly routine and go to bed at the same time every night. You have to set aside a time, every night, to turn off devices and start getting your mind and body ready for sleep.
If you need to fall asleep at 10 PM to get eight full hours of sleep, you can’t just jump into bed at 9:58! Every evening, you should have a quiet block of time that’s long enough to allow you to relax. Your bedtime routine might include a cup of (non-caffeinated) tea, a warm bath, and some light reading.
I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every night at 8 PM to let me know it’s time to start my evening routine.
Some other tips for a successful bedtime:
- Don’t allow screens in your bedroom
- Invest in a quality mattress
- Exercise daily (but not at bedtime!)
- Don’t drink caffeine after 2 PM
Exercise As Soon As You Wake Up
Many studies have shown that morning workout routines are more effective than working out at lunchtime or in the evening.
When you schedule your workouts later in the day, it’s easy to find excuses. Situations come up during the workday, and suddenly there’s a really good reason to skip the gym.
When exercise is the first thing on your schedule after waking up, you don’t have an excuse. Just do it. I talk a lot about the power of exercise and how it’s more important than ever. It’s good for your body but even better for your mind—it’s a free form of stress relief that will improve the rest of your day.
I don’t allow excuses to derail my exercise routine. No matter if it’s raining, or it’s hot, or I overslept, I’m getting out there and moving my body. It’s that important—and by making it a part of my morning routine, I can be sure I won’t miss out.
Launch Your Workday With A To-Do List
Basically, you make planning your to-do list part of your daily routine. At the start and end of every day, you spend 10 minutes organizing your to-do list.
What’s so magical about this? Well, by devoting 10 minutes to your to-do list at the end of the day, you already have the next day’s tasks in your head. When you wake up, you know what you’ll do—and it’s in the back of your mind as you’re getting ready, exercising, or commuting to work.
Then you spend 10 minutes reviewing and prioritizing anything that may have popped up overnight, so by the time you get to your desk, you’re ready to start working. You’re not winging it. You’re not shuffling papers around, figuring out how to prioritize the day’s activities. You can simply dive right in and launch your workday—and because you’ve already been preparing for your tasks in the back of your mind, they get completed quickly and easily.
If you’re wasting an hour every morning trying to get organized and psych yourself up, the 10-10-30 rule will change your life.
Make Time To Decompress Every Night
For many of us, the benefits of working from home are undeniable. During the COVID pandemic, many people finally got the chance to ditch long commutes and have more freedom with their workday.
Unfortunately, as working from home became more common, I noticed a negative side effect popping up in many of my clients’ lives. At the end of the workday, people get up from their desk and walk straight into their kitchen with their families.
That sounds like a good thing, right? It turns out that, while no one likes a long commute, it was a built-in time at the end of every day that we could decompress and gradually stop thinking about work. By the time we got home, we had shifted gears and were ready to engage with our personal lives.
If you don’t decompress at the end of the day, you’ll just carry stress from work over into your personal life. You’ll probably end up trying to decompress at the end of the night when you’re trying to sleep—ensuring you’re groggy and stressed out the following morning when it’s time to go back to work! This constant cycle of stress is terrible for our careers, relationships, and health.
Be sure you’re setting aside time to unwind at the end of each day. You don’t have to be alone—it could be something like taking the entire family for a walk around the neighborhood. It can be as simple as taking five minutes to read a magazine article at your desk. What’s important is having a consistent routine that marks the end of your workday and the beginning of your evening.
Routines Are The Answer!
These four routines make every day a little easier, a little happier, a little healthier, and a little more productive. I’ve found these four have the most powerful impact on my life, but there are plenty of other areas in our personal and professional lives where routines can make a big difference.
Ask yourself how a routine might improve some part of your life that’s always a struggle. For example, I have a very specific housework routine: cleaning the kitchen is part of my everyday evening routine, while other household tasks are done on certain days of the week. By following a household routine (and sharing it with your partner!), you can make sure everything gets done while spreading the load—so you aren’t swamped every weekend with a giant pile of dishes and laundry. What would you do with all that extra weekend time?
I hope you can make the power of routines work for you! If you’d like more time management tips, along with sales techniques and ways to stay motivated, be sure to sign up for my free newsletter.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!