Americans, let’s be real with each other: we waste a lot of time. All that time you spent watching foolish prank videos (that are almost always not real) on Youtube, turning yourself into a dog on Snapchat, or nonsensically gliding down selfies, selfies, and more selfies of your friends on Instagram could be used to turn in that essay due at 12, organize your life, or just make money! So how do you hop back on this productivity train? First thing to discuss: daily routines are a must!
Daily routines help you establish intention
In my theatre class, I learned that behind everything you do, you need to have a purpose for doing it. Why are you trying to binge-watch the Walking Dead when you know you’ve got more important things to do along the line? Daily routines are what you intend to do daily. What is the purpose of tomorrow? What are you going to do with it? How are you reaching your life goals by doing this? This is when to-do lists come in handy, one of the first steps in becoming more productive.
Daily routines help you waste less time
Ever just sat and stared at the screen because you didn’t know what you were supposed to be doing? How could you remember? You’ve got a gajillion things in your head and nothing actually written down (via to-do lists, of course). I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but I really like making lists. And when you first start off making daily routines, you get to experiment with as many different lists so you can discover the best time to do a certain task. For instance, I noticed I’m less likely to do my quick morning exercise if I don’t do something to wake me up (like a hot shower or some spoon fulls of peanut butter). The challenge with to-do lists is not to get too excited and fill it up with so many tasks. You’ll realize that daily routines will force you to prioritize, especially with this picture:
You see this frog? You have to EAT it! Why? Because Mark Twain says so.
A live frog is tantamount to that essay you just don’t have the drive to finish ahead of time. If you do the thing that you reaaalllly don’t feel like completing first, like that 1-mile jog you’ve been blowing off since last New Year’s, you’re going to feel SO GOOD when you just get it over with. You won’t be wasting time trying to think of other things to do, and once you get it over with, you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world to do the easier things….doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute, of course.
What’s My Daily Routine?
I can say that I’m a very productive person, so here’s an example of a daily routine:
- Wake up/pray
- 10-minute morning exercise
- Go to class
- Blog/Pin/Promote Youtube videos
- Play Piano
- 30-minute exercise or Yoga
- Brush teeth (very important that I brush 2x a day)
Now. What kind of foolish daily routine is that, you may ask?
No times? No specific time for waking up? No eating? Good questions. Here is the answer:
Daily routines can be a BUST!
I keep my routine very open and flexible because, let’s be honest: routines can suck the fun out of life. Many people probably have times for each activity, but let’s say you’re just super tired one day and you really need a nap, but oh snap, you were gonna spend your break time talking to a professor or calling your mother-or-law or something. And then you oversleep and your whole time-sensitive daily routine is forced to travel to the trash. You can also go to lunch and meet a new person. What—are you going to cut the convo short because you didn’t allocate more than a 15-minute lunch break? This person could be your soulmate!
Related– Being Juliette: My Forbidden Relationship
Besides, who wants to live life knowing they’re going to do the same darn-tootin’ thing every single day? Who wants to live life in a rut?
That’s how I felt sometimes before I adopted this happy-go-lucky daily routine. And I put emphasis on happy because it’s not like I hate doing any of the activities above. Now if I would have put my wake-up time at 5:55, I would be miserable every day.
Waking up early = productivity?
No, not essentially. It’s all relative. If you’re a morning person, waking up earlier will do your life justice, but if you can’t take too much silence or like to be fully alive and alert when you’re working, waking up early may just do more harm than good. Some days I wake up at 6:45, some days I don’t. I do have a daily routine, but there will be sometimes I know I want to get more work done, and so I’d plan ahead to do that, either by waking up a tad bit earlier, or just spending some time before bed constructing a to-do list for the next day.
In my theatre class, we talked about intention because it makes way for art. Art happens when you purposely plan for it to, according to Anne Bogart (I’m a poet today). But you shouldn’t be so reliant on planning every single stroke of the canvas, and the same goes for daily routines.
It’s great to have a foundational daily routine that you can change whenever life slams you with mountaintops of work. When you’re structuring your daily routine, remember to acknowledge that what may work for successful business people may not always work for you. Like I said, you’ll never catch me waking up BEFORE the butt-crack of dawn to run (did I mention I also hate running?) but I’ll still get some work done.
How will you? What do you plan to do differently to live every day accomplishing your life goals?