Habits or Routines
Part Three of this series about the Iceberg of Success is about discussing habits.
A Habit works by generating an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought. Habits are simply how the brain learns to do things without deliberation. We can put these impulses to good use but only certain behaviors can become habits.
Building a habit is relatively simple: Just harness the impulse. For new habits to take hold, provide a clear trigger, make the behavior easy to do, and ensure it occurs frequently.
However, if the behavior requires a high degree of intentionality, effort, or deliberation, it is not a habit (I will touch on what this is called in a moment). All sorts of tasks aren’t habits—and never will be. By definition, doing things that are high effort are not considered a habit.
Unfortunately, this means behaviors that require hard work and deliberate practice aren’t good candidates for habit-formation. So if these behaviors aren’t habits, what are they? They are called routines. A routine is a series of behaviors we practice regularly. Routines don’t care if you feel an urge or not; they just need to get done. When you detect you can’t succeed at making a habit, you can begin by looking for how to establish a routine instead.
We all know that creating a daily routine is essential, but getting to implement it is the hard part. If you look into most successful peoples’ lives, you will realize that they follow a fixed schedule, which has helped them to build productivity habits over time.
Creating a system that works and following it every day is an excellent way of reaching your desired goal. A successful routine gives you a laser-like focus from the second you get up to the time you go to sleep. Read on for tips on how to establish a daily routine.
Make a list of your daily/weekly tasks
The first step is to look into what you need to do every day, and what you only need to do once or twice a week. Do not worry about organizing the list at this point. Simply focus on jotting down the list. If you cannot remember everything, carry your notebook every day for a week, and write down all the tasks you do.
Include the tasks that work well for you and those that you should add in your routine. While at it, these questions will help to refresh your memory.
What foods should I purchase at the store?
What day(s) should I meal prep?
What is the family calendar look like for each day
What are my calories for the day and how many meals am I going to eat?
What is my exercise schedule this week?
What do I need to do before work?
What activities are happening today?
What meetings do I need to attend?
Which meals am i cooking vs what are already prepared?
Make a list, and remember that no task is too small. It is okay to include simple things like brushing your teeth.
Develop a schedule
Assess your energy levels. What time of the day do you perform tasks best? Most people have high energy levels in the morning. As such, you should schedule the activities that require the most work at this time.
What your morning should look like
Waking up marks the start of the day, and your attitude determines how the rest of the day will be. Even if you are not a morning person, you should find a way of enjoying the first hours of your day.
Try waking up after the first alarm. Setting several alarms is a way of communicating to the universe that you are not looking forward to the day, and you would like to put it off for later.
When you wake up passionately and with excitement about the opportunities that the day offers, you will be off to a great start.
Some tasks must be completed in the morning, such as taking your kids to school and preparing for work. Once you are done carrying out the routine duties, you can move to activities that require high levels of critical thinking and troubleshooting. For instance, if you are an accountant, reserve the mornings for your bookkeeping tasks.
Have an evening ritual
In the evening, you should put an end to your income earning activities and focus on yourself and your family. You should get your mind away from the stress and responsibilities of the day.
Evenings are best left for planning and preparing for the next day. Use this time to do things like packing lunches, de-cluttering the house, laying out clothes, and cooking.
Here are other things you can include in your evening schedule:
Have a chat with your family or friends
If you are consistently low on energy and fatigued, you should consider taking vitamins and supplements for energy before going to bed
Meditate on how you spent the day
Think about how you can make the next day better than today
Read a book in bed to catch sleep naturally
Your routine and expectations might not fit in nearly as perfect as you hoped, and that is okay. The point is to make use of your productive times for the challenging tasks and your less productive times for the less challenging activities. Many successful people sleep all day and work at night. If this describes you, don’t be scared to do you!
Test-drive your new routine
Once everything is all set up, it’s time to practice the routine. Write it on a paper and test-drive it for 30 days. Take note of your feelings. Did you schedule the tasks in a way that doesn’t make sense? Do you feel that adjusting some aspects would make more sense? If yes, do not shy away from making changes. In the end, you should have a routine that works best for you.
Having a routine and sticking to it is incredible, but you should give yourself time. Productive habits take time to develop. If you are too hard on yourself, you might never have the chance of enjoying the benefits of a routine. Your success depends on how seriously you take your routine. The benefits outweigh the willpower you invest at every step, so it is worthwhile.
Over to you!
Do you have a daily routine? If you do, what does it include? Are you maximizing your potential and hours?
If you do not have a routine, have you thought about creating one? Having a regular schedule means that you are a step away from living a successful life. Remember that the potential to achieve greatness lies in you and that forming habits takes time and effort.