READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
Your time is precious, and you want to make the most of it, right? That’s why you’re here. Because you know that good time management skills are a cornerstone of being a good leader – at home, at work and in your community.
Routines are key for this. The benefits are plenty, but a few include increased efficiency and less energy spent on decision making. They provide structure to your day, week or month and can serve as a boundary for people in your life. Routines are also a form of automation, because they allow you to move through a process without much thought.
Here are 8 routines to consider adding to your life for less stress and more sanity:
1. Morning Routine
This one gets the obvious first spot on the list. The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning is a great resource for revamping your mornings and carving out time for personal development via reading, affirmations, meditation or fitness.
2. Evening Routine
Slightly less obvious, but having an evening routine or a bedtime ritual can include habits that help you wind down from a busy day and prep for tomorrow. Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution shared her evening routine – which includes an electronic device shutoff time 30 minutes before bedtime.
3. Workday Startup
The work version of your morning routine. The Workday Startup routine helps you transition from a frazzled commute into a working rhythm by repeating the same steps each day before digging into work. It’s also super helpful for work-from-home folks whose boundaries between work and home are always a little blurred. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and writing it down + taping it next to your workspace helps!
My Workday Startup looks like this:
check task list in Trello
check appointments in Google Calendar
write Top 3 in Simplified Planner (I’m a fan of the weekly.)
schedule Top 3 time blocks in Google Calendar
refill coffee or water
*Bonus Points if you noticed that I don’t check email at the beginning of my day.* Checking email first can open up the floodgates for allowing other people’s priorities to dictate your day. I aim to finish at least 1 of my Top 3 before diving into the inbox around 10 or 11AM.
4. Workday Shutdown
Just like the startup, but helps you wrap up the day in a structured way so you can be ready to start fresh the next morning.
Mine typically looks like this:
review task list in Trello
review Google Calendar
close all open windows
place Simplified Planner on top of laptop
5. Cleaning Routine
Raise your hand if you’ve pinned no less than 10 cleaning schedule printables or life hacks on Pinterest. *Yup. Me too.* As boring as a cleaning schedule sounds, these babies really do work wonders. Once again, they cut out extra decision-making and can help set boundaries within your family. Setting up cleaning routines in an office space is also pretty key to avoiding sticky (literally) workplace disputes.
Our cleaning routine includes the following, among others I won’t bore you with today:
Bathroom Tuesday (ok fine, we call it Toilet Tuesdays. I’m a sucker for alliteration.)
Wash Towels Wednesday
6. Batch Work Days
If you have a good bit of control over your work schedule, designating a specific day of the week for a certain type of task – aka “batching” can increase your productivity while setting boundaries for your co-workers. For example, when I managed communications for a museum a few years ago, I managed their social media, updated the website, drafted press releases, coordinated graphic design revisions and more. The staff knew that any social media content had to be in by Social Media Monday, and that website updates had to be in by Tuesday end of day so I could prep for Website Wednesday. Currently I keep Finance Fridays and only pay bills or invoice clients on Friday.
Meetings are another thing you can batch. There’s not much worse than a week filled with meetings that are spaced out with just too little time in between to accomplish anything of substance. If you can dedicate one day per week to meetings and phone calls, you can cut back on the stop/start/back/forth/whoa/wait/where was I? song and dance. Tuesday is typically my meeting day.
7. Money Meetings
The best way to stop stressing about your money is to be confident about where it is, and what plan you have for it. You can’t accomplish this by a) avoiding your money situation at all costs until you absolutely have to, at which point you freak out or b) checking your bank account every 7 minutes to see if your balance has changed. It hasn’t. Trust me.
Scheduling a weekly, every-other-weekly or monthly Money Meeting with yourself cuts back on the endless cycle of checking, keeps your finger on the pulse of your finances and helps you stay on top of your financial goals. To create your own Money Meeting Agenda, write down all of your recurring financial tasks and see what you can lump together.
I credit my 2017 habit of writing down my credit card balances and debt totals (almost) every single week with helping me zero out my debt. Now that I’m debt-free, I have two Money Meetings a month to pay bills, categorize business expenses and check on all of our accounts.
8. Self-Care Routine
Let’s be honest. Sometime it’s really hard to set aside time for ourselves. That’s why scheduling self-care can be a real game changer for your happiness. Whether it’s blocking out some recurring time in your calendar for reading or yoga, or allowing yourself a frappuccino every Tuesday afternoon, treat it like an appointment with yourself, and don’t cancel. It could even be as simple as declaring every Monday “Face Mask Monday.” Just make sure to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. I know you’re pouring so much of yourself into your family, your team, your projects – and you can’t pour from an empty cup. So filler up!
Lemme know in the comments if you’re currently feeling the rhythm of any of the above routines, or if you think you might start some up!