“Your future is found in your daily routine. Successful people do daily what others do occasionally.” – Paula White.
I’ve been working from home for about six or seven weeks now, and my daily routine has been well and truly disrupted. I have always prided myself on having a really positive and productive daily routine. I rise early, spend the first couple of hours in the day investing in myself physically, mentally and spiritually, and then begin my usual work day in the office. Like many others, self-isolation has resulted in my usual daily routine being disrupted.
Whilst I was quick to create a new work from home routine which I have enjoyed, the time has come for me to resume as much normality as possible. There are a few practices I’ve put in place to ensure I set each day up for success, and to ensure each day is positive and productive.
In the past, I have been really hard on myself if I missed a day at the gym or slept in. Feelings of guilt would often overshadow feelings of positivity, and would result in even less productivity throughout the day. I have done a lot of work (and am still learning) to be kinder to myself. I have also come to the realisation that guilt is a completely wasted emotion, and serves no purpose in my life. For example, feeling guilty about sleeping in is not going to change the fact that I slept in. So instead of dwelling on the past, I now ask myself the following questions:
One of the things that gets most interrupted when my routine is not in order, is sleep. In the weeks leading up to self-isolation, I was working incredibly long hours and this had a negative impact on my sleeping habits. I normally try to go to bed early so I can get 7-8 hours sleep and rise at 5am. However I was going to sleep much later, and this made it really difficult to wake up early.
After spending a few weeks rising later than usual, I have as of last week gotten back to my usual wake up time of 5am. If you are someone who struggles with rising early, here are a few practices which I have found helpful over the years:
Use the ‘bedtime’ function on your iPhone to set a bedtime and wakeup time. I set my bedtime for 9pm and my wakeup time at 5am. By using this tool all calls, emails and notifications are silenced between these hours. I am therefore less tempted to use my phone and other devices past 9pm, and use this time to wind down and get into bed earlier.
Mel Robbins has a methodology called ‘The 5 Second Rule.’ When you feel yourself hesitate before you do something that you know you should do (such as waking up when your alarm goes rather than jumping out of bed) count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action. This method is really effective, and I highly recommend giving this a go.
Marie Forleo has talked about a strategy she uses for rising early, where she tricks herself into thinking she has a flight to catch. Have you ever wondered why you can wake up at 4:00am to catch a flight, but you can’t bring yourself to do that on any other day? By using this strategy and treating your wake up time like you have a flight to catch, it will encourage you to jump into action.
Another strategy you can use is to sleep with your phone in a different room, or at a minimum, on the other side of your bedroom. If you have to get out of bed to turn your alarm off, you’re already up. And getting out of bed is half the battle.
As Jim Rohn so wisely said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
As much as I believe this philosophy, I also find the same to be true in our daily routines. One of the biggest contributing factors when it comes to productivity, is setting a schedule. My days are so much more productive when I have a routine and a set time for everything. I use my iPhone and Outlook calendars (they are synched) to schedule in my day.
I also find writing lists to be incredibly helpful. When I write things down instead of keeping them in my head, it means I don’t forget what I need to get done. It also frees up bandwidth to focus on making decisions and other challenging tasks throughout the day.
My work to-do list goes into a notebook which I use every day. My personal to-do list is just in the notes section of my iPhone. Find a system that works for you, and create a to-do list for everything you want to achieve in the day and week. Creating a plan and having structure are incredibly important to me when it comes to getting back into my daily routine.
What do you do to get back into your daily routine after it has been disrupted? Let me know in the comments below!