Forming Productive Routines 101
Updated: Oct 23, 2022
Let me tell you a little story about myself. I was the type of person that would stress myself out, constantly feeling as though I was not doing enough... all the time. To make matters worse, I would give myself headaches from the idea of being labeled as an inconsistent person, so I would try to load so many things to do in my day to make up for whatever I did not get done before, but also not allowing myself to adjust to this routine or understand why I was trying to do all things at once. It was not until I had begun to read books like Atomic Habits and research how successful people formed systems and routines that ultimately led them to success and continue to apply them to their daily lives. Then one day I suddenly gave myself a reality check, looked in my bathroom mirror, and said, Girl, you need to chill out! I would call it almost an epiphany that I had with myself when the imaginary lightbulb finally went off in my head as to why I always felt like an inconsistent person and what I needed to do to steer away from that self-image. Once I began to hold myself accountable, actually write down my WHY, goals, how and most importantly become patient with myself, now I can get into the groove of a routine that I enjoy doing consistently and makes me feel like a woman of my word to myself and even better I am seeing the results from it! Do you want to become a woman of your word for you? Keep reading to find out how.
What Is A Routine?
We all have a routine that we perform daily whether we realize it consciously or subconsciously. A routine is defined as a sequence of actions regularly followed. Two Questions that I would like you to ask yourself while reading this are, does my current routine support the woman that I wish to become? Do the current habits that I implement into my routine support the woman that I wish to become, just so that we are all on the same page, habits are the things that we do that form this program which is our routine. So our habits are what make our routine. I am going to give an example of two women that share a similar schedule, and you decide which one you would rather be.
✨wakes up at 6 am
✨ makes bed
✨ completes 30 min workout
✨ writes down goals for the day
✨ eats a delicious breakfast
✨ packs lunch for the day
✨ arrives to work 15 minutes early to get settled in for a shift at 10 am
✨ wakes up at 8:00 am
✨ checks social media for 30 mins
✨ watches tv for another 15 mins
✨settles for a quick breakfast
✨ will figure lunch out later
✨ arrives to work at 10 am
It is important to understand that there is no wrong or right answer to this scenario because they both did get to their shift on time which was the overall endpoint but it was the habits in their similar schedule that deciphers whether the habits in their routine contributed towards the feeling and action of being productive. If you chose woman A but can relate more to woman b at this moment that's fine too because it is never too late to renew your routine by acknowledging if you are satisfied with your current behaviors and if you are not then let's come up with your why and how.
The Why & The How
If you're looking to renew your routine, it's important to articulate your "why" and the "how." The why is your intent and purpose to do something while your how is the action plan that you'll create to set yourself up for success. If you have a genuine passion and purpose that is behind your actions, then it'll be easier to stick with them. You'll constantly be able to remind yourself why you keep doing what you do and the emotions that are attached to the feeling of working your way toward accomplishing something great!
Forming The Routine That is Right For You
Once you understand your purpose, priorities, time that you are willing to commit, and the sacrifices that you will need to make then it is time to begin forming routines that will get you where you want to go.
A lot of people have great ideas about how they could better their lifestyle but don’t quite know how to make those ideas happen on a day-to-day basis. If this sounds like something that applies to your situation, take some time now to think about what things would improve your daily life if they were added to your routine, and then write down a schedule for yourself!
From my own experience with trial and error, it may be more beneficial by starting with at least no more than 3 effective habits that you would like to perform consistently for at least a week then do that for two weeks and then a full month, reviewing how you feel after every few days, recording the progress that you've made and deciding if you need to tweak what you are doing or if you are ready to implement more effective habits into your routine or even build upon the ones that you are currently implementing.
When setting goals and forming a routine, it is important to think about both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are tasks that can be completed in a day or week and help you build momentum toward the bigger goal. Short-term goals are also great for breaking down your daily tasks into small chunks so they don’t feel overwhelming or impossible to complete. For example, you might aim to read one chapter of a book each night before bed as part of your nightly routine.
The longer-term, or “medium” goals should be more complex than the short-term ones but still realistic for your current situation and abilities. These tend to take more time than just a day or two so you will need to commit yourself fully until they become habits that no longer require conscious effort. Once again using reading as an example: if you only read one chapter per night without setting aside more time for this habit during the week then eventually it won't happen anymore; however, if instead, you commit yourself to reading two chapters every night on Monday through Friday then eventually those nights will become habituated into your weekly schedule (and aren't even "habits" anymore) they're just apart of who you are.
Also, we can sometimes find ourselves attempting to take on the routines of others that we may find inspiration from or want to become more like. I know firsthand that I found myself doing this, creating the idea that I had to do just as much as that other person to have that feeling of being productive or successful. For example, I made the decision that I wanted to become more consistent in posting on social media and building my presence that when looking at other content creators and learning that they are posting and creating x amount of content in a day or week, I thought well that's what you gotta do as well, once I began trying to do what they were doing I realized that it simply didn't work for me because I did not share the same life or intent as them. Learning to adjust my plan of action to what works for me and then building upon that once I master what I can do, is how I learned that I can get to that point but it requires walking before flying.
Walking, Running, Flying
Once you have identified you're why, and how and begun renewing your routine, the next step is to get yourself walking to a new groove and become consistent at it. Once you have mastered the art of walking now you can begin running which can ultimately mean expanding on what you are currently doing but taking it a step further, almost like building stamina gradually to reach a pivotal point. Once you can master consistency and scale and your routine now feels like a part of who you are not what you do, you're ready to soar. I would consider the soaring stage as a place reached once you have reached your particular goal and can now maintain it regularly. Still going even after you've reached 'the end' because technically there is no end just the act of sustaining and living as that version of yourself entirely.
Taking Action Today!
The first step to forming a routine is to take action. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, focusing on what everyone else is up to and letting yourself become paralyzed by all of the possibilities of 'what if'. But if you want to create something that works for you, then it's time to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or going to think and focus on doing what you know needs to get done to become that person that you also want people to start perceiving you as. Showing up in a way that they have no choice but to move out of your way or fall in line.
Take some time today (or even right now) and think about what kind of routine would work best for you. Are there things that your current schedule already has going on? Do they need tweaking? Do certain parts of your schedule need more attention than others? Once you've figured out how much time each part of your daily routine should take up, consider where these tasks can fit into other areas of your week; this will help ensure that every day builds off one another instead of feeling disjointed from one another.
Another important thing to note is that you don't have to be at your highest point of mastering what you are doing to influence others. Just by you showing up for yourself will naturally motivate others who may share a common interest of wanting to eliminate the ineffective habits in their routine as well. People like to learn from people that they see are about that action!
Reflect, Review, Renew
Review your schedule every few days or even after each day to see just how well you're doing. This is a great way to help you see what areas are working well and where there is room for improvement. Almost as if you are creating an analytics hub for your own life. You might even find that some goals or tasks need to be adjusted because they cannot be accomplished in the time frame or way that was originally set for them. That's okay! There is no shame in adjusting your plan when needed, particularly if it helps keep things moving forward instead of getting stuck somewhere along the way then do what works best for you.
Renewing your routine is never a bad thing. Doing so will help to steer you on the path that feels like you found the best recipe that propels you forward. If you find that a habit is better performed at night than a day then change it and see how that works for you. If you think you need to scale back to put a better effort into what you're doing then do so. Not only is it about showing up but more importantly giving your best effort and undivided time to what you are doing. If you are in the middle of doing something and you get a phone call from your friend or something pops up on your phone that you feel is going to deter your attention then learn how to train your mind and body to not give in to what we could know them best as being a distraction. This is something that I am currently working on myself, it does take time and just being understanding with yourself that you are trying to learn how to prioritize everything that you are doing and mastering the use of your time.
Reflect on what you have accomplished so far and make a list of your accomplishments. We can be quick to focus on what we aren't doing or what we need to be doing but by recognizing the work that you are putting in, and tracking that progress you will find that you're not just "trying" anymore but doing. With enough faith and confidence, everything else will start to fall in line as you continue. So stop stressing about what is not here yet and express gratitude for what is.
Do What You Say & Say What You Do
Holding yourself accountable means taking responsibility for your actions. It’s being honest with yourself and others when things don't go as planned, whether that's missing a workout or blowing off study time to watch Netflix instead of writing an essay. Taking accountability means acknowledging your mistake instead of making excuses or blaming others—even if it may be hard to come to terms with. In doing this you don't have to put yourself down in the process or speak negatively about yourself but just say "hey I didn't do this today but I am going to try my best to get back on track tomorrow"
Caring about your accountability is key to sticking to the goals that you set for yourself. Your success in building healthy and sustainable habits will depend on it, because while we can have accountability partners there for support, ultimately you are the only one responsible for the actions that you decide to take or not take.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
To get the most out of your routines, you need to do a few things. First, be patient. The right habits and routines won’t form overnight; they will take time and consistent effort before they become second nature.
Make sure that you have the right tools and resources in place to help you reach your goals. For example, if writing every day is important for you then you might want to consider looking into platforms that can help you improve on your writing or setting a specific time in your schedule each day that you can say this is the time that I am setting aside for writing. This will allow you to become a more disciplined and regimented person over time which will also translate into other areas of your life.
To set my day up for success, I like to use the Structure app because it allows you to set a specific time block for what you want to get done in the day and check off your activities as you complete them. It also sends you reminders for when it's time to get going on said activity. For example, when writing in my five-minute journal for the day and night I have made it the first and last activity that I choose to do, this has gotten me into the routine of already anticipating the time that I will get this done instead of doing it at a random time of the day so now I do not have to put any thought into it.
Good Job Sis!
Stop being so harsh on yourself, become kinder to yourself! Remind yourself that, You are doing a good job! You are on the right track. You are making progress and that's great!
The truth is, no one expects us to be perfect at anything but ourselves. We can be our harshest critics and the most impatient with ourselves. We may get off track at times, lose that motivation that we initially had, or even second guess ourselves but it’s how we pick ourselves up when we reach those lows that matters most. So even if your routines aren't perfect yet or you feel like results aren't coming as soon as you thought they would, don’t worry and don't stress: they will get there with time, patience and effort.
So, that’s a brief rundown on the basics of forming effective routines. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I had fun writing it! If you liked any parts of this post, please share it with your friends and family so they can also read about forming effective routines.
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And if you haven't told yourself this day, You are important! You are here for a reason! You are worthy! You are beautiful! You are built for greatness!