If you are eager to make your days more productive and take back control of your time, the chances are that you need some more structure in your life. People tend to shy away from routine because they equate it with tedium and boredom. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Developing a structure doesn’t mean that you have to succumb to monotony and live in a rigid way. You can still enjoy those moments of spontaneity, but you can feel more in control of your time.
Routines give us structure and allow us to see the impact of our actions. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to seek a new promotion, planning your annual summer vacation, or starting your own business, structure and routine will help you move forward rather than get stuck in a rut.
Many people crave to-do lists and allow these pieces of paper (or apps) detailing chores and tasks to rule their lives. While a to-do list has its place, you need to think broader and develop integral routines to your everyday existence. Routines are essentially habits stacked one on top of each other – and they should be treated differently than tasks on a to-do list because of that.
If you want to take your routines to the next level, here are 6 simple routine game changers that you can introduce to your life.
When you wake up in the morning to your alarm, don’t be tempted to reach for your smartphone to check emails, scroll through Facebook, or catch up on the news. This immediately puts you in a stressful frame of mind. Think about being more reflective as you emerge from your slumber. Before you even make a move out of bed, take some deep breaths and focus on the environment around you. This can help ground you and make you feel more positive about the day ahead.
Ensure that you have some form of mat (yoga or pilates) and once you have showered and had breakfast, you need to unroll it and get meditating – with or without soothing music to help with the process. It’s even a good idea to have the mat already rolled out so that you’re removing some of the friction that can keep you from adopting this practice.
You don’t need to be worried about spending two hours every morning doing yoga. However, you do need to dedicate twenty minutes or so to grounding your anxieties and giving your focus. Yoga is a great form of exercise that strengthens your core and allows you to feel more at peace. You will move your body into a range of postures as well as sit in the cross legged yoga pose. It is this pose coupled with breathing exercises that will get you into a meditative state. Do this as part of your morning routine for a couple of weeks and you will be surprised at how much your mood lifts and how much more productive you feel.
Read Something Inspiring
If you are one of those individuals who lack the motivation to do the chores, to put the trash out, or work towards taking your job status to greater heights, then consider inspiring yourself. Think about heading online and source some quotes related to wisdom. These little snippets of philosophy can help you see things from a different viewpoint. Sometimes inspirational words can give you a new perspective on something that you have been struggling with. For example, if you have been struggling with rejection after job interviews and you are feeling dejected, a simple little quote from an American poet might be enough to spur you on.
You might want to go one step further and go old school with a quotation bible that can motivate. Make it part of your daily routine to read a couple of these quotes and retain the words so that you can call upon them if you are struggling with something during the day.
There’s no excuse not to be active during the day. Your routine should involve some form of exercise every day. You can be flexible as to when to find the time to head to the gym, venture outside for a run, or go on a bike ride, but it is crucial for both your physical health and mental well-being. Exercise gives us time to switch off and focus on something completely different. You can clear your mind of all stresses and worries in an effort to lift some weights, complete a 5K, or have some fun at a Zumba class.
Being active means you can remain trim and prevent weight-related health issues from developing. You might not be much of a gym-goer but that’s okay – there are plenty of ways you can be active without hitting a jammed spin class. Instead, think about getting into your garden to do some weeding or head to the park to play with your kids.
Being outside can be inspiring in and of itself. Being surrounded by nature at some point every day can help to regulate your circadian rhythm. This means that you can enjoy better quality sleep every night when your head hits the pillow. If you’re feeling a little slow and sluggish, thirty minutes a day in natural light outdoors can help stimulate the production of dopamine and endorphins. These hormones negate the effect of your stress hormone, cortisol. Being surrounded by greenery and open space can lower your stress levels, ward off feelings of anxiety, and can help boost your mood, making you feel more positive to tackle any of life’s challenges head on.
Clean The House
While you might not want to do a mammoth spring cleaning every day, it’s vital that you have a routine for your chores. Let the cleanliness and tidiness of your home slip and you risk living in an unsuitable environment. This can make you feel stressed – and a cluttered house will often lead to a cluttered mind. Ensure that you develop a schedule so that you can spend twenty minutes a day tidying up your home. One day you can vacuum, two days a week might require some laundry work, and another day you may be cleaning the bathroom. Keep a regular routine and you’ll feel comforted by the familiar structure of your chores. You may even come to enjoy your time cleaning your home!
Don’t neglect the exterior of your home, either. Ensure that you have a well-manicured garden, a clear driveway, and a tidy outdoor area to enjoy in the summer months during your free time. You might even want to go one step further with your productivity to grow your own vegetables and plant your own flowers.
Every day, ensure that you take one photo to sum up your mood and feelings about that twenty-four hour period. This is a great way to document your emotions and sum up what you have achieved. By having a pictorial record, you can look back at your visual memories and take comfort in seeing how productive you’ve been. A routine that is documented means that you can see its impact in a tangible way. You might take a selfie of yourself after having completed a bike ride. You might take a photo of your newly-mowed lawn. You might take a photo of a job application that you’ve filled out. Whatever it is, make the image demonstrate just how successful you have been that day. This will boost your mood and keep you motivated to be just as productive tomorrow.
If you are keen to be more productive with your health, you need a meal planner. This doesn’t mean succumbing to an unhealthy detox or an unsavoury diet. By simply planning your meals out for a week, you can take more control over what you put into your body. It has been proven that the healthiest among us don’t plan meals recklessly. Instead, they are carefully planned. You need to ensure that you are hitting your nutritional requirements, which means you need to be buying fruit and vegetables – not to mention cooking from scratch to hone your gastronomic skills. Seriously, do your best to plan out your meals (and your snacks).
Having a meal structure is also beneficial if you are working to a budget. Budgeting can be made easier if you know how much you are spending each week on food and drink. Another couple pieces of advice: Do your grocery shopping at the same time each week and mix up your meals to ensure that you don’t get bored.
Routines don’t need to bring boredom and monotony to your life. Instead, routines can make you more productive, can lift your mood, and provide you with a familiar comfort. When you adopt any or all of these 6 simple routine game changers, you will certainly enjoy a more productive lifestyle.