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How to Create a Daily Routine That Works For You

How to Create a Daily Routine to Fit Your Schedule

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Desk with Books and Calendar

Desk with Books and Calendar

Photo / Josh Beggs
We've covered why you need a daily routine, now we'll work on setting one up that's personalized for you in 4 steps.

1. GATHER INFORMATION
Capture all of the tasks you need to get done in a day.

If You Already Have a Routine...
You can divide these into the following:

  • Tasks you already do that work well for you, and
  • Tasks you need to add into your routine.

If You're Starting From Scratch...
Begin by answering these questions:

  • What tasks do you you need to complete each day in order to get to work?
  • Which tasks do you need to do each day to get your kids to school?
  • Which tasks do you need to do each day to eat?
  • Which errands do you need to get done daily?
  • Which tasks need to get done each done in order for you to get some exercise?
  • Which tasks do I need to get done to maintain an organized home?

Make a list. In the beginning nothing is too small, if you want to work "brush teeth" into your routine, that's great. When I was creating mine, I found it much easier to throw everything in and edit out later.

2. DECIDE ON TIMING
Most people have greater energy for creative thinking in the morning because self control depletes throughout the day. With that in mind, here are some guidelines:

Morning
Mornings about getting out the door, which is itself a challenge, especially if you have children. I like to get out the door as quickly possible because I know I do my best work in the morning.

Reserve the mornings for the tasks that require the most critical thinking and trouble shooting. If you're a writer, make sure you have time to write in the morning.

Midday
This is a very powerful time of day because your energy (and coffee high) has likely dissipated. This means you're primed to do the really boring, routine stuff. Use this time for tasks like answering emails, setting appointments, researching necessities like directions to upcoming appointments and recipes, and run some errands if you have time (post office, dry cleaner, bank, etc.)

Evening
Evenings are for planning and preparation for the next day: put your "get ready" activities like laying out your clothes, packing lunches, and decluttering in the evening.

If you follow the Weekly Organizing Routine, you're going to be decluttering one room a day for 15-20 minutes.

3. MAKE ROOM FOR EXCEPTIONS
Your work process or schedule may not fit neatly into this, and that's OK; the point is to harness your most productive times to use for your most challenging tasks, and your least productive times to do the more mundane tasks. What I found while researching daily routines is that a lot of very successful people work all night long and sleep all day. If that's you, that's fine!

4. PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
To make this easier on you, I've created a standard daily routine checklist. You can use this as a draft to work off of, or cut and paste into your own document.

More About Your Daily Routine:

  1. Get More Done with a Daily Routine
  2. How to Create a Daily Routine
  3. <-- you are here
  4. How to Use a Daily Routine to Reach Your Goals
  5. How to Stick to a Daily Routine
  6. Daily Checklist
  7. 10 Good Daily Habits
  8. 10 Tips for a Better Daily Routine
  9. Erin Duran's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
  10. Wendy Salmon's Pro Advice on Daily Routines
  11. Daily Routine Reading List

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