Routine can definitely be a good thing. It can help you to achieve personal goals over a period of time, to make the most of your mornings or evenings, or to develop positive personal Productivity Ninja habits.
However, if you choose not to regularly update your daily routines, you run the risk of forgetting why you repeat a certain behavior in the first place. If your routines have started to become stale, or you find yourself doing something simply because you do it everyday, not remembering how it got into your routine in the first place, it might be time to switch things up a little.
Try a 30-Day Challenge
The great thing about 30-day challenges is that the end is always in sight. If you try and implement a twenty minute run into your daily routine, it’s very easy to make excuses to skip it when there’s an infinite stretch of days in front of you for potential runs. And then at some point (unless you’re incredibly self-disciplined!) you have to decide that this is the end of your running streak, and it won’t be a part of your routine any more – by which time you’ve probably been hating your runs for weeks.
Doing something for a predetermined thirty days not only means that you can keep yourself motivated with a finish line just around the corner, but it also leaves you free to try something more challenging or time-consuming, that you might be unable to commit to over longer periods of time. Plus, you could try a different challenge every month – for example our Unorthodoxy Challenge– and keep your brain engaged with lots of different activities. Just one at a time though – for now, at least!
Switch off all devices an hour before you go to bed
You’ve probably had this one recommended to you before, and there’s a reason why. It helps you wind down (properly), giving your eyes a well-deserved rest from bright stimulus, and ultimately enables you to sleep better.
What’s more, by doing this you’re giving yourself a whole hour more of time that would otherwise be occupied ‘just one more hour’ of your usual Netflix/Twitter combo. It’s totally up to you how you choose to fill that time, but you can’t really go wrong with a good book or a hot bath. Or both. You could also use that time to write a to-do list for the next day, or even prepare tomorrow’s lunch. The possibilities are endless – but no screens!
Schedule in some “do nothing” time
Like the previous point, this is just about giving yourself a little more un-allocated time. If you’re into mindfulness and meditation, you could schedule in a real ‘do nothing’ break to take once a day, or once a week like we do here at Think Productive, depending on your personal schedule.
You might want to block out an entire evening every week for staying at home, or keep your Sundays free for a regular day of rest. Either way, the point is to completely remove a section of time from your calendar, and be disciplined in giving yourself the break times that you need.
Keep a journal
This might be one for your future self. If you enjoy documenting your life (and having things to look back on in a spontaneous wave of nostalgia), keeping a journal and trying to write a little each day is a really useful habit to make part of your daily routine.
Even if the element of nostalgia isn’t necessarily appealing to you, this could still be a useful part of your routine. Documenting your day – even in a less artistic fashion, e.g. simply jotting down a few bullet points on how you spent your day – can be really helpful in flagging up the areas in which you spend a lot of your time, and the areas in which you don’t spend enough time. You might notice particular patterns that have become boring, or mindlessly respective, or entire blocks of regular free time that could be used for something new.
Do you have any daily routines? As always, chat to us via our Twitter account @thinkproductive
By Steph Rathbone