A balanced daily routine frees up precious time in your brain for more enjoyable and creative thoughts which in turn give you the golden eggs; MOTIVATION and PRODUCTIVITY.
I am often asked 'How can I be more productive?' My answer; create a daily routine. Having a daily routine means your brain has less to think about in life and can use this saved energy on helping you be productive, creative and organised. This enables you to thrive.
Many of you might feel anxiety, worry or stress at various times in life. If you create a daily routine, you can reduce these negative emotions by creating consistency for your brain. It creates comfort and calm for mind and body.
A daily routine provides organisation, stability and peace of mind. Here are eight easy ways to create a mind-healthy routine to suit your lifestyle.
NB: I am not advocating living a ‘routine life’, ie. living the same day again and again, forever. This article is on how to use a daily routine for personal and mental benefit.
What is daily routine?
A daily routine is a schedule of organised moments to help your day flow easily and comfortably. It builds a sense of security to allow you to feel in control.
If the word routine fills you with feelings of being trapped or boring, try switching it for the word rhythm. Your daily routine is the rhythm of your day.
Even if you have severe resistance to making a routine, I urge you to try it just for a week or two to instill calm and get back into the driving seat of your life. Then if you wish to, go back to your usual way of running your day and come back to a routine as and when you feel the need to resume a sense of control.
Here are 8 helpful tips to thrive with a daily routine:
1. Circadian Rhythm
Almost all living organisms have a circadian rhythm – a sleep wake cycle which regulates bodily functions and even moods. To keep your circadian rhythm at optimum levels, try to wake up and go to bed at roughly the same time each day. This also contributes towards better sleep and energy renewal.
For example, if you function best on eight hours of sleep, get to bed by 11pm in order to rise at 7am.
2. Morning Routine Mindset
How you experience your morning is a big contributing factor towards your mindset during the day. If you keep hitting the snooze button and then dash out of bed at the last minute, you are creating stress for yourself.
Instead, dedicate time to wake up and stretch in bed as part of your morning routine. Focus your mind on the good things you have to look forward to in the upcoming day. If you can, meditate for at least five minutes, either in bed or as you mindfully drink your first tea, coffee, water or juice.
This new morning routine will work wonders on how you experience the day.
I am a huge advocate of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages exercise which takes just 10-15 minutes. Ideally first thing in the morning, or with your first drink, write down three pages of free-flowing thoughts. Without pause or correction, just write down what comes into your head.
It could be about a new work project, a dream of living overseas or a retirement plan. It could equally be about all the laundry you have to deal with, concern over your child's school report or what to wear to a wedding next month. Whatever comes into your head, write it down. Three pages of download.
This short journalling process, as part of your morning routine, gives your mind the chance to offload thoughts and concerns which could fog your brain or derail your focus during the day. This helps you thrive.
4. Make Some Goals To Help You Thrive
I love this one. Write down your 3-month goals every morning. Religiously. It helps you to maintain focus on what you want in life and reminds you why you are doing what you doing.
For example, a goal may be to save X amount of money; therefore you are working to earn money to save. Or perhaps you have a goal to run the next marathon; therefore you are fitting exercise into your routine in order to have the fitness levels for a marathon.
Keeping this process to 3-month goals keeps your mind positive and motivated. Long-term goals are still valid but can seem so far away if you look at them every single day. Three months feels within reach and manageable.
“Look for magic in the daily routine” Lou Barlow
5. Healthy Eating Habits as Part of Your Daily Routine
If possible, take your meals at the same time each day. This aids routine and of course, digestion which helps your body work at its best.
If you are working from home, setting a specific time for lunch at least will help you maintain control of your daytime hours.
6. Take a Break at Work
At work, and especially if you are working from home, take regular breaks. General advice is take 10 minutes for every hour of working but if this doesn’t work for you, try different patterns until you find one that you like. (I prefer to stop every 90 minutes for a 20-minute break.)
Taking a break from what you are doing, or from a screen, gives you a chance to mentally and physically reboot, giving you more energy and focus for the next stint.
Try a few variations until you find the best for you and your schedule.
7. Wellness Wisdom
Given one of the NLP Beliefs of Excellence is that ‘mind and body are systemic’, it is important to create time in your routine for mind and body health.
Fit in time for a meditation, a short breathing exercise or physical exercise; a blast of fresh air works wonders for your mental health.
Take advantage of the array of online fitness, yoga or pilates classes, one of the good things to come out of the pandemic.
8. Creativity & Connection
Don’t forget to allow time for creative activities or hobbies and catching up with friends and family. Make sure you have time to do the things you truly enjoy to generate feelings of happiness and gratitude and to encourage relaxation and inner peace.
(If that means sitting on your own, that is still creativity and connection so do it!)
Create a daily routine in order to thrive and enjoy life; it is as straightforward as you make it.
Keep your adjustments simple and realistic; if you know you won't hit the gym every day, don't include it in your planned routine in the first place. If it is easy for you to set an alarm to eat lunch at 1pm daily, implement this action and enjoy the mental rewards of feeling this little success every day.
Do you have kids? Children benefit from your routine as it helps them learn self-regulation and reduces the impact of change. They will follow your lead.
The benefits of implementing and sticking to a daily routine are felt quickly. If you keep your routine simple, you will notice a feeling of ease and confidence within a matter of days. You've got this.
If you would like to explore how NLP and life coaching can help you implement a routine and get what you want in life, book a free 30-minute Discovery Call with me.
I am a certified Life Coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP Practitioner. I am an online life coach.