I am interested in varied subjects, and I enjoy reading very much. As a result, I spend a great deal of time reading blogs and other materials online. While I desire to understand concepts when I do research and compartmentalize information, I also desire application of these concepts and theories and a tangible result. Otherwise, I feel that my day is wasted, and I feel down and/or stressed/anxious. With it’s wonderful wealth of information, one can spend a whole day reading online. While acquiring knowledge is doing something, it does not produce a tangible result unless applied. To prevent oneself from getting carried away when reading or researching online, it helps me a lot to try to establish a simple routine in the morning to set the day. I personally hate days that are too routine or so structured that it does not allow creativity and originality, but to be successful routines and plans are necessary. Believe me, I have learned the hard way from years of procrastinating.
I don’t like strictly schedule days that are scheduled from hour to hour, but time estimation and a loose schedule is very necessary.
Simple Daily Routine for Success
1) First, when you wake up, make your bed immediately before you leave the room. That gives you your first sense of accomplishing something to see a neat bed.
2) Put on a pot of water to boil for tea or your coffee maker for tea, then brush your teeth. I have to add this because I often would head straight to the computer, forget about breakfast and then wonder why I am tired a few hours later.
3) After you brush your teeth, as the water continues to boil or as your tea is being made, make yourself a healthy, balance breakfast. I like a whole grain English muffin / whole wheat toast, an egg and fresh fruit . When I wake up before 8 a.m., my stomach is very sensitive, so I will just have whole grain toast with cream cheese or a slice of cheese on the side and fruit, then have an egg around 10:00 a.m.
4) Start your brain up by reading a blog or article relating to your most important work for 30 minutes.
5) Then, begin your work relating to your most important life goal, and work on it for your scheduled time daily. For me, it is studying to get into grad school. For those of you who are working, wake up an hour earlier and do something in relation to your most important goal, such as reading a book, learning a software in relation to it, etc. For those who are already doing work they enjoy, congratulations. When you get to work, make sure you work on the most important projects or most important clients first.
6) After you have worked for a few hours at your most important goal, take a break to have a snack of fruit or something else healthy if it is not yet lunchtime. You may choose to just eat and clear your mind, or you can read an enjoyable blog as a reward for your hard work.
7) Next, work on a personal project, such as de-cluttering, sewing, arranging your desk, etc.
8) After this, perhaps, it may be time for lunch. For those who work outside of the home, take a walk outside to clear your mind, even if it is for 15 minutes. Your brain will feel refreshed.
For those who work at home, have lunch, then take the scenic route to do your errands and chores, such as grocery shopping, shopping for household necessities, laundry, picking up mail at the post office, etc. I personally hate crowds, we have our share of stores in NY, so the trees are a nice break. The trees or quite streets without stores also reduce the temptation to buy unnecessary things and the walk is very relaxing. (There was a time when I would visit many stores to see what is on sale, but I ended up wasting money and time, so I try to avoid going into stores unless I have something very specific that I need. If it is something that I want, I wait a week and see if I still want it.) Be sure that you are mindful of the time because after being indoors for most of the day thus far, you may loose track of time outside, especially if there are lines at the stores. I would say that you limit this outing to 1 hour if you’re just doing shopping, and 3 hours if you are doing laundry. I generally do my grocery shopping on laundry days during the time which I wait for the clothing to go in the dryer. My laundromat is 3 streets away from home, and the grocery store is conveniently on the same block of the laundromat, so I take home the groceries at that time also. I am taking advantage of the convenience I pay for in a high cost of living in New York.
5) When I return from my errands, I usually make dinner, then do another small project, such as altering a garment or cleaning the kitchen.
6) Then I award myself for all the small accomplishments of the day by doing something I enjoy for the rest of the day. For me it is writing a blog post or reading a book for pleasure or a blog I follow.
The time that you choose to do your main work may be different if you have a very hard time getting up. I would say that I focus best late at night to early in the morning. However, my husband has to get to work before 8 a.m., and he has a commute that is one hour and a half to one hour and 45 minutes. So, to be considerate to him, I wake up at 6:00 a.m. with him. It does take me a little while to wake up and focus, which is why I take some time to read an article relating to my field before I get to studying. The pros is that I am still able to focus more in the morning than in the afternoon or evening. I also feel quite a sense of accomplishment when by 2 a.m., work that requires my mental concentration is done. I tend to crash mentally at 3 p.m., like many people, so that is why from 2:00 p.m. onward, I do hands-on or rote projects, errands, cooking, and hobbies for pleasure.
Please share your ideas on your routine for a productive day.