There is really little way around it: if you want success in life (however you define it) you need a daily routine. Sure, there are some rock stars that regularly ‘go with the flow’ and mix in working on their latest album amidst sleep-ins and private jet trips; but for the rest of us a routine represents an essential building block for professional advancement and personal growth.
Do as the greats have done it
The importance of a routine has long existed in those who seek to be among the movers and shakers of the world. Whether it was the Romans aspiring to wake up with the morning and get most of the day’s work done before the heat of the afternoon sun hit, or world leaders like Winston Churchill ( a known night owl); a routine is essential to getting the most out of your day.
Set up a realistic but challenging structure
One of the best aspects of having a routine in place it that is helps you measure progress each day. If you agree you’re to go the gym for an hour each day – but find you’re speeding through that 10 kilometre run on the treadmill in 40 minutes – that’s a real sign you’re improving. Further, if you find your day at the office is filled with a number of internal afternoon meetings that really could be condensed into one combo meetup once a day, then ways to improve efficiency and optimise your life shall be presented to you.
This is why it’s important to set up a routine that is realistic but challenging. You don’t want a routine that is half-baked and leaves you with everything always ‘done’ each and every day. On the other hand, you don’t want a routine that may be herculean in its aspiration but leaves you utterly unable to meet it – as your plan to study German for 2 hours a night while working on your new mystery crime novel and also doing all your weekly laundry clashes with your need to actually sleep – but you do want to feel like you are growing, achieving and building your schedule.
But don’t be punishing on yourself
Missing your morning train because you needed that extra coffee might be against your daily routine but its really not end of the world. While a routine to go for a run once a day is also great, if you decide you want to cycle instead you are not ‘breaking the code’ or ‘letting yourself down’. Ultimately, a routine is at its best when it helps you build and grow – and while most of the time that means adhering to the plan and working it through – now and then it means stepping outside of your existing structure can be worthwhile to help you grow more fully.
This is true of your professional life, your personal life, and most certainly your regular routine.
Pride yourself on a routine that is habitual and effortless
One of the best things about a routine is that it frees your mind for other tasks. If you are someone who each and every day has to wonder whether you’ll have clean socks to wear, whether you’ve brought enough food for dinner tonight, and if you are able to take the morning off (or instead have a meeting in the office you’re already late for) then you’re unlikely to have much time in your mind to focus on other things like professional growth and ‘thinking big’.
If on the other hand, you’ve a schedule and routine in place that guarantees you do washing every Saturday, go shopping every Sunday, and check your work schedule every morning at breakfast; you can be certain you’ll not get caught behind, and best of all shall thrive in the work that you do.