Want to be more productive, successful and organized? Want less chaos in your life and more Zen? Establishing a routine after you wake up – whether it’s 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. – sets the tone for the rest of your day and can help you feel calm, in control, powerful and more productive.
Successful people like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates establish routines so they don’t have to worry about the minutiae of daily life. With routines, they can focus their energy on their projects. This explains why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day.
You may not want to go to that extreme, but you can pare down your choices by sticking to a few key colors. In her article, “What You Can Learn from The Morning Routines of Super Productive People,” Melody Wilding says when you’re doing things you really want to do, you’re starting your morning with intention. And when you do that, “You can bring your morning ‘wins’ with you into the rest of the day.”
Tackle to-do lists
Ginny Hronek is a life coach in Rochester, New York, and owner of YourTurn Life Coaching & Training. She likes to exercise early in the morning to jumpstart her endorphins. Hronek also notes the benefits of regular meditation, especially in the morning.
Women, particularly those with young children, too often forget to include taking care of themselves on their to-do list. But it needs to be done.
“Otherwise you build resentment,” Hronek says. “Doing something for yourself first thing in the morning helps the day move in a positive direction.”
Hronek suggests prioritizing tasks because it puts structure in the day and reduces procrastination.
“Do the worst thing first so it’s off your plate,” she says.
Consistently doing the hard tasks early builds momentum, making them easier to do as time goes on. And learning to meet challenges head-on builds self-confidence.
Cathryn Lavery, contributor for HuffPost’s Life Wellness section, recommends building a new habit into your life by stacking it on top of something you’re currently doing.
“For example, before I brush my teeth in the morning (current habit), I will meditate (new habit) for three minutes,” Lavery says.
Move to streamline
Just as important as discovering what positive steps you can take, is figuring out what helps reduce uncertainty in your day. For instance, eliminate decision-making tasks in the morning. Plan your work outfit the night before so you can focus on your presentation.
If what you want to wear isn’t clean, you’ll have time to come up with a Plan B. Prepare lunches and get the coffee maker ready to go the night before. Teach your children to designate a place for their backpacks so they’re not hunting for them in the morning.
“A routine becomes a habit; the more we continue it, the better we get at it,” Hronek says.
But always plan for the inevitable. At some point your routine will get hijacked, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Just accept it and carry on. You always have a fresh start tomorrow.