Making a routine can be easy, but making a routine that you can stick to is difficult. We often outline our schedules without thinking about all the little things we do throughout the day that take up snippets of our time. For instance, you might not remember to add lunch to your outline, much less tidying up your apartment. We also rarely stick to our schedules when an enticing interruption presents itself. However, making and sticking to a routine can help you become more motivated and efficient. Here’s how to create a routine you can stick to so you can have time for lunch and take over the world!
List All the Things
Make a list of all the things you do in a day. Make sure the list is detailed, all the way down to getting ready for bed. You want to make sure no time commitments go unrecorded. That means being honest. If you’re a serial napper, list your naps! That way, your routine won’t be ruined when you take that inevitable afternoon snooze.
Take your Time Planning Your Time
Take a week to record how long you spend doing each task, on average. Maybe you spend an average of 2 hours eating per day. This information will be useful when it comes time to craft your schedule. This research ensures the time slots you put into your routine are accurate and feasible. Then, your routine will be easier to follow long-term.
Prioritize and Plot
Prioritize your tasks. Make sure that big tasks fall on days when there’s little obligation. Fill the remainder of that time with smaller tasks that take less energy and time. If you’re working on two special projects, like cleaning out your attic and learning a language, stagger them. You don’t need to tackle every one of your tasks every day. You can alternate days for special tasks like these so that your time and attention isn’t spread too thinly.
Be Aware of Zones
We tend to separate our days into zones. There’s the morning zone, the midday zone, and the evening zone. For some, mornings are a productive time. Find out when your brain is most active and least active. Maybe you’re a morning person who gets out of bed ready to go. Maybe you spend your mornings rushing out of your apartment door (and praying you’re wearing all your clothes). Schedule your tasks accordingly. Schedule mundane, routine tasks for when your brain’s least active. Then schedule heavy-duty thinking tasks for when your brain’s most active.
Make Your Routine Last
Your routine should have room for flexibility. You should have time every now and then to add in a last-minute change of plans. Make sure you schedule obligations at times that benefit you. If you struggle to get out of bed, schedule appointments in the morning so you’ll be forced to get up. Tell other people about your routine so that they’ll be less likely to interfere. And you may just inspire them to make a routine for themselves!
By Martha Kendall Custard