How long does it take for you to get out of the house for work each morning? Do you know where to easily find your keys, that one coffee mug that fits just right in your car’s cup holder, and everything you need if you’re going to the gym during lunch? Is your laptop and everything you need for the day in a place you can easily grab it on your way out the door?
Or do you ever have those mornings where you spend much too long trying to decide what to wear, have to spend time packing up your computer bag and workout clothes, then are running short on time to pack your lunch? That sounds like a stressful way to start a day, right?
Those days happen. But what if you could utilize routines at home to make getting out of the house easier each workday. How would that help your productivity at work, if you arrived at your office already feeling less stress?
Routines for a productive day
Here are six simple strategies to help you re-establish some routine in your life so that you can get more done, focus on your priorities AND have time for what matters most to you.
- Establish the habit of getting enough sleep each night. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to feel rested, rejuvenated and ready to be productive, but studies show that for most adults, between seven to nine hours is ideal. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day – yes, even on the weekend. Follow a familiar bedtime routine, limiting “before bed” activities, especially screen time, to things that relax you and help you wind down. You’ll enjoy the benefits of more energy and when you are well-rested, you’ll be more productive the following day.
- Plan out your week. Both at work and at home, end your week by reviewing what you accomplished and look ahead to the next week to see what the priorities will be. Make sure you have time allotted on your calendar for these priorities. Take time over the weekend to prepare. This will help you eliminate surprises and stress.
- Do what you can the night before. Set the coffee pot on a timer so it is brewed when you come down for breakfast. Pack a healthy lunch. Pack up your gym bag the night before if you plan to work out. Place any other items you need for activities or errands the next day right by the door. Lay out your clothing for the next morning. These evening efforts will make your morning less hectic and provide a smoother launch into the day.
- Prioritize your day. Once you arrive at your office (or if you work from home, once your workday begins), immediately plan and prioritize your day. Alternatively, this can also be done at the end of the day so that you can and hit the ground running the next day. Focus on high-priority activities first. Eliminate distractions (email, phone, etc.) for periods of time so that you can really dig in, uninterrupted and make great progress on those priority tasks and projects. You’ll feel very accomplished!
- De-clutter. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your workspace or your home. Put items back where they belong so you can find them the next time they’re needed.
- Schedule appointments with yourself. Block off time on your calendar to regularly de-clutter and organize. If you don’t schedule time to do this, it won’t happen. Make this a weekly habit. Likewise, block off and protect chunks of time on your calendar for high priority activities. If you know there’s something you want to get done in a given day, make an appointment with yourself and then honor that time. Seeing the appointment visibly can also make it easier to say “no” to something or someone else that might serve as a barrier to your productivity on the priority.
Are your routines making you more productive or are they slowing your day down? Set small goals to complete every day until they become productive, healthy habits. Soon these small tasks or goals will be second nature for you.
Could you use some help establishing a routine that will help you to be more organized and productive either at work or at home? Do you want more time for the things that are really important in life? Our “It’s About Time” Virtual Productivity Program can teach you strategies to work smarter, not harder, and give you back time for the things that matter most. Contact us to learn more today about the program and our one-on-one or group productivity coaching sessions.
How do you keep your routines productive? We want to know!