We don’t realize how routinely driven we are until we take a look at our daily routines. My life has become fairly regimented for reasons that support my sobriety, but also because I’m an orderly type of person in general. I went through an exercise with one of my coaches that helped me see how routines can make you more productive that I wanted to share.
My Morning Routine
A good place to start is to think about how you wake up in the morning and how this has the ability to set the tone for your whole day. For example, I wake up: check my phone, go to the bathroom, take my dogs out, feed them, make my coffee and breakfast, pray or read my bible and then I get started with my day of work.
I seldom deviate from this not necessarily because I’m OCD, but because it’s what feels natural to me and this process is simply something I’ve created around my morning.
My Evening Routine
As you would imagine, I also have a nightly routine, as I’m sure you do as well. When I feel myself getting tired, I typically clean up my living room, make sure all the lights and electronics are turned off, I brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, take the dogs out again, get in my bed and I either check social media, emails or read a book until my eyes get heavy.
Taking a Closer Look
What’s interesting to look at is that I wake up pretty easily in the morning and I am generally in a good mood. The morning routine triggers my mind to know that it’s time to start the day and because of it I start the day with ease because my mind knows these series of events, which helps me calmly settle into the day.
Subsequently, my nightly routine helps my mind to know that it’s time to go to bed. I can usually fall asleep within 10 minutes of turning the lights out because my body is anticipating bedtime based on this tiny routine leading up to it.
These routines are something I did not even realize I did until I went through this exercise with my own coach who asked me to pay attention to my routines. The reason for it was less about training my mind for these times of day and more about looking at how routines or rituals could increase my productivity.
Drawing The Connection
At first I didn’t draw the connection, but once I realized how my mind and even body adapt and become prepared to wake up or go to sleep based on these routines, I saw how it could translate into prepping my mind to complete tasks around work, such as writing.
As you can imagine, this technique was a huge breakthrough for me with writing in particular. Finding a routine that gets my mind in the best state to hammer out words is exactly what I had been trying to accomplish.
I’ve found that if I can do something that helps me relax or makes me feel calm such as listening to music, dancing or taking a bath right before I sit down to write, my work is noticeably better.
Building a routine around setting my mood to begin writing has been so helpful for me. Not only has it helped my productivity, but it has also increased creativity, follow through and the overall quality of my work.
Ironically enough, writing has now become part of both my morning and nightly routines as well. I find that I’m most calm and collected in those moments so writing flows more naturally to me and this helps me to be more productive.
Applying This To Your Life
By intuitively being mindful of routines and how they affect our lives, mindsets and lifestyle patterns, we can begin to create even more balance and flow. I shared my examples with you not to boast, but to help you draw lines to similarities in your own lives and routines. I encourage you to pay closer attention to your habits especially if you are trying to improve upon something you do or need to be doing daily.
Find a little routine or ritual that puts you in the best state of mind for what you are trying to accomplish and get into the practice of this. You’ll begin to notice more ease with getting started at first and then ultimately this translates over into completion of projects, goals and working towards your dreams of the future.
Routines can be helpful in so many ways without feeling mundane when you know they are contributing to your success and happiness. In turn, a sense of accomplishment gained from reaching goals adds to our well being by increasing our sense of worth because we feel like we are living up to being at our very best.
It is said that the secret to our success is found inside our daily routines. Take a mindful look around yours and see what you find. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how routines can make you more productive just as I was. Namaste