You’ve probably heard that how you start and end the day sets the stage for how productive you’ll be. There’s a lot of truth behind this theory. Which is likely why so many high-performing people swear by their routines.
There’s a difference between relying on positive thinking to get you where you want to be and actively working toward your goals.
So how do you build a successful routine? Especially when you’ve got so much to juggle in your day already? The answer is simple.
Since we already know what works, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can piggyback off of the tried and true schedules of the high achievers.
This routine integrates the best tips from successful pros and will up your productivity (when used consistently).
1. Get Up Early
If you’re not already a morning person, it’s time to change that. Breaking up with your snooze button won’t be easy, but it’s possible!
Getting up on the same schedule every day wires your brain to become alert at that time. Once upon a childhood, you were in the habit of getting up for school every morning. You fell out of this routine over time, but you can get back in it.
The most important part of developing any routine is having a strong reason for doing it. This is your “why,” the ultimate goal you have for bettering yourself.
When it comes to getting up early, your “why” can be the ability to squeeze in all the fun things you typically never have time to do. Or the knowledge that you’re being productive and getting ahead while your competition is sleeping.
Adding more time into your day gives you those “extra hours,” you used to wish you had. We all have the same 24 hours, but getting up earlier lets you make better use of every minute.
2. Exercise Your Brain and Body
Your brain and your body are equally important. You must exercise both systems every day.
Schedule time each morning for a mental jumpstart. Whatever works to get your blood flowing and your mind in gear. Many self-help gurus recommend brain-boosting activities such as:
- reciting affirmations
- listening to motivational podcasts
- watching short inspirational videos
- reading a book by an expert in your goal field
Anything that prepares your mind to work hard that day is an exercise that should be part of your daily routine.
Now that your brain has come out to play, it’s time to get your body on board.
Some experts recommend knocking your fitness routine out of the way first thing. Doing this may increase your alertness and make you aware of healthy choices throughout the day.
If this doesn’t fit your schedule or preferences, just make sure you add it to your routine later. Plan time in your day to ensure you get outside for fresh air and exercise or hit the gym.
3. Plan Your Meals
Breakfast is, quite seriously, the most important meal of the day. Your body has now “broken its fast” from the night before. It’s ready to rely on the food you put into it to carry it through the day.
When you rush around and grab food on the fly, it usually doesn’t have the glucose and protein your body needs to do everything it has to do. This results in energy crashes, headaches, and eating junk food later.
Planning your menu, especially breakfast, ahead prevents unhealthy eating or skipping meals.
A popular trend today is Sunday Meal Planning. Although the “Sunday” is arbitrary, the idea behind it is taking a few hours to schedule and meal prep for the rest of the week.
This system has grown in popularity as the benefits become more evident. Healthier eating, time saved, and an improved budget are all side effects of once-a-week meal planning.
4. Schedule Your Day - the Night Before
High performers know that their work is not over after the daily grind. In fact, some of the most essential work still waits.
Before you head off to get ready for bed, review what you did that day. List what has to roll over and what remains to complete tomorrow.
Set up your schedule the night before and then review it in the morning before you settle into your groove.
Completing your to-do list while the day’s events are still fresh in your head ensures you don’t forget anything important. It also lets you get a running start the next day.
5. Create a Sleep-friendly Environment
Without enough sleep, all the routines in the world won’t help you.
Your thinking mind needs this rest period to reset your body after all the stimulus of the day. While you sleep, your brain stays busy getting rid of the toxins you’ve accumulated that day.
But getting good sleep is something that you work toward all day through tiny choices. Any little mishap can be enough to have you counting sheep for hours as you lay awake, staring at the ceiling.
If restful slumber is frequently out of your reach, use these tips to create a sleep-friendly routine:
- Avoid caffeine after lunch (be careful of what you eat — hidden caffeine is everywhere!)
- Get enough physical activity to tire your body out
- Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- Read a book before bed or develop another calming nighttime ritual
- Keep a clutter-free bedroom
We can’t understate the importance of sleep. If you often have trouble with this part of your daily routine, you might want to talk to your doctor for advice.
No one wants to go to sleep feeling like they wasted their entire day. Without an established daily routine, this is a frequent occurrence for many people!
But it needn’t be that way for you. Not anymore.
When you adjust your day to create winning habits in your schedule, you have set yourself up to conquer your tasks and move confidently toward your goals.
You’ll go to bed knowing you were productive and successful. And even better — you’ll be excited to repeat your routine the next day.
Author Bio:Caitlin Sinclair is a senior marketing manager who works with Entrada to provide affordable housing to San Diego residents on a daily basis.