Helpful Habits: 3 Steps To Meaningful Routines
Who needs routines? Well, you do. Even spontaneous, free spirits have routines. Routines are simply automated habits layered on top of each other and performed in a specific sequence. Routines can be very helpful in keeping you on track toward your goals but problems can arise if you create routines based on bad habits. Doing so causes your productivity, and therefore your production to suffer. Free spirit or not, you have routines. Make them work for you, not against you.
Start creating useful routines by first determining which actions you could take daily to enable yourself to achieve your goals when compounded over time. Slow and steady wins the race. Never attempt to achieve your goals swiftly with erratic, extreme action. Doing so guarantees inconsistent results and neglecting other areas of your business. Instead, create routines that align with your goals, make progress at a manageable pace, and practice bookending.
The Art Of Bookending
Starting and ending each day with the same series of good habits day after day is a productivity technique I call bookending. Bookending provides a framework for your time without leaving you feeling trapped by rigid time constraints. As a business owner, your days are often filled with randomness. There are days you have back-to-back appointments and days you can work quietly in your office for hours without a single interruption. Bookending provides ultimate flexibility in the middle of the day when it’s needed and just the right amount of structure in the morning and at night. The technique affords the opportunity to achieve larger, long-term goals by consistently encouraging purposeful, scheduled action toward those goals at the beginning and end of each day.
Steps To Create And Maintain Bookending Routines Engineered For Success
#1: Determine Which Habits To Keep
First, identify and write down the habits you already engage in in the morning and at night. Post the list where you will see it whether it is on your phone, mirror, or monitor. Alternatively, you could utilize a habit tracking app that provides feedback such as Habit List for IOS or Habit Bull for Android. Tracking your habits, whether manually or digitally, can be very valuable because it helps you determine which habitual actions you should ditch and which ones you should intentionally implement daily.
#2: Use Triggers
Next, determine what additional activities you should add to your routine. Choose activities that align with your goals and help you make progress toward achieving them. Use the trigger method to make those activities become habits you do consistently as part of your routine. The trigger method involves purposefully completing a desired activity directly following a habitual activity so that it becomes an automated habit as well. For example, if you want to make posting to social media a daily habit, start doing it immediately after you take your last bite of lunch which you do every day anyway. Overtime, posting to social media will become a habit you will engage in everyday following your lunch. Using the trigger method is an excellent way of acting intentionally to make behaviors grow into consistent habits.
#3: Rework Routines Until They’re Right
Lastly, you have to rework your routines until they work for you and the only way to do that is by trial and error. You may create an amazing routine that sounds great on paper but is not feasible in real life. Don’t worry and don’t give up. If you find you are too tired to complete a certain mentally demanding activity in the morning, try doing it at night instead. Conversely, if you find you are too riled up in the evening to meditate, try doing in the morning instead. Everyone’s ultradian rhythms are different so what works for others may not work for you. Rework the layers of your bookend routines until the flow feels good to you.
When you are overwhelmed it is especially important to stick to your routines. When engineered to align with your personal style, schedule, and goals, routines provide much needed stability. Bookend your day with routines to provide just the right ratio of structure to flexibility to keep you progressing toward your goals at a productive and manageable pace.
Download Free Resource => 10 Ways You're SCREWING Your Productivity
STOP SCREWING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY! Many of the habits you engage in, although (possibly) well-intentioned, actually hinder you from achieving far more. They cost you time, money, energy, lost opportunities, and clients.
About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is a Personal Productivity Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Consultant with a wide range of clients from entrepreneurs to multinational corporations. With her guidance, professionals, business owners, and corporations maximize their success by improving their productivity. Amber specializes in helping entrepreneurs outperform their competition and dominate the market while reducing stress and making time for what matters most! Amber is a contributor for The Huffington Post, Choices Magazine, and Las Vegas Agent Magazine.
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