All You Need to Know About Establishing Routines

productivity Mar 11, 2021

Last weekend felt normal.  We had dinner inside a restaurant with friends and both kids competed in their sports.  Seems like coronavirus might be loosening its grip.


One lesson I’m taking away from all the isolation and quarantine of the last year is the power of routine. 


Now you're thinking...routine sounds boring.  Why should you care?

Here are the benefits of establishing routines:

  1. Lower stress levels

Even if it’s not a mediation routine, going through a practice over and over again each day will calm your mind.  Plus, if you have routines in place to get it all done, your brain can stop worrying.

2. Form good daily habits

If you are trying to work on anything from spending more time with your kids to losing weight.  Building a routine around that habit will increase your success.

3. Take better care of your health

What’s the change you want to make for your health?  Develop a routine to support that change and the results will follow.  For example:

Want to lose weight? Develop a routine for weekly meal planning.

Want to get in shape? Develop a routine for weekly exercise.

Want better sleep? Develop an evening routine to set you up for success.

4. Help you feel more productive

Whatever you want to accomplish if you have a routine to kick off that task your brain will be signalled it’s time to get into that mode.

Here’s Ernest Hemingway on his writing routine:

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there.

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that.

When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

 5. Help you feel more focused

This is where the lines between routine and ritual blur.  In order to switch between tasks, and keep your brain focused add an element of ritual.  For example, shutting off your computer at 5 pm signifies the end of the workday and tells your brain it’s time to focus on family.


Start Here

Life is all about focusing on the things you can control and rolling with the punches on the things you can’t. Again, coronavirus taught us some lessons here.  


Create routines to set up the day/life you want to have.  


Everyone has their own level of comfort with chaos.  Some thrive in an environment where each moment is a new adventure.  Other’s need more order to feel in control of their day.


Regardless, routine will add some structure to control the things you can control.  This is a powerful skill to learn.  Don’t worry chaos lover, it won’t kill the fun.


There are four areas that I want you to evaluate your routines;


-Morning Routine

This one gets all the glory.  #morningroutine has over 2 million posts! So no shocker it WORKS!  The thing has to be the right morning routine.  Going back to my old mantra: what works for me, might not work for you.  Take a look at the life you’re building and use the first moments of your day to start you off in the right direction.  For example, (and I’m going to get vulnerable here for a minute) one of the things I’m working on right now is my confidence.  I start each day with affirmations to build this virtue.  If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe the first thing you do is head to the gym.

-Start-Up Routine

You’ve made it through your morning and it’s time to get to work.  What do you do as soon as you get to your desk?  Most people dive into messages: email, text, DMs, etc.  I challenge you to rethink this habit.  It often leads to you spending time on other people’s priorities.  If you must check messages first thing, give yourself a time block.

-Shut down Routine

Time to call it a day.  The last few minutes of your workday can make or break your tomorrow.  Taking just a few moments to review your to-do list, prep for tomorrows event and shut down your devices will cue your brain it’s time to relax and give you a heads start on tomorrow.

-Evening Routine

The evening routine is the beautiful stepsister to the morning routine.  #eveiningroutine weighs in at 60.5k posts (mostly about skincare). I’m all for a healthy skin regimen but the last few moments of my day are focused on connecting with my loved ones and setting myself up for a good night’s sleep.


What’s the difference between habit and routine?

I’ll keep it simple for ya...habits are mindless, routines are intentional.


For example, your morning routine begins at 5 am, includes meditation and journaling, and ends with a clear mind.  You have a habit of waking up at 5 am after a year of following this routine.


I’ve given you some starting blocks with the four routines above but get creative on where to use them.  Start with what’s meaningful to you right now.


Want to develop a routine for self-care?  Tune in next week.  If you want to get the post delivered straight into your inbox, click here.

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