If you’re like me, you probably clicked on this title with a slight sense of doubt. Yes, yes, another post telling me that if I just get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, my life will be magical.
NOPE! You’re in luck. Despite the fact that I’m former military (or perhaps because of it!), I will never tell someone that the key to a happy life, or better business, is to get up at 5am. I’m a firm believer in working with the way your body functions, rather than against it. Better already, right?
In fact, my very first tip for creating a routine that works for you starts at night, not in the morning! Here we go:
Write your to-do list before you go to bed
For me, a good daily routine gets a kick-start the night before. When I write my to-do list in the morning, it usually comes from a place of stress (from not feeling on top of things), and self-reproach (“you’re a boss, you should be more organized!”).
When I write my to-do list at night, I can clearly focus on a mission. What is my big goal for tomorrow? What do I want to have accomplished by the end of the day? Do I have any appointments in my calendar?
Determine how much help you need to get going in the morning
Just like I will never tell anyone that they should get up at 5am (although kudos to you, if you do!), I will never judge you for needing a little liquid energy in the morning. Or a lot. I’ve actually attempted to reduce my caffeine intake, but as the mom of five kids, I think it’s here to stay.
If you know that you need coffee in the morning, it may be a worthwhile investment to get a coffeemaker that you can program the night before. Best part of waking up, amirite? Just kidding, I’ve never woken up to coffee. Baby foot in my face, or toddler ninja-staring at me…yes. Coffee…no. Sadly. This clearly needs to be added to my bucket list.
But coffee may not be your thing. Maybe you like to drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning. Or perhaps it’s a quick workout (I’m quite fond of this one), or a meditation, or even a hot shower. Maybe you need to set the tone with loud music (or silence). Whatever it is that gets your blood flowing and perks you up for the day ahead, know it ahead of time and make sure it happens.
Tackle your one big goal for the day
Okay, back to that to-do list. Earlier I mentioned the big goal. A lot of to-do lists have a spot for the main three things you want to accomplish, and I love that. But I think women put a lot of pressure on themselves, so I recommend putting a big star next to the one that is the most important to you. Then throw your efforts into accomplishing that big item. Once it’s done, feel free to move on to the rest, but no matter what your day throws at you, you’ve accomplished your biggest priority.
Pick something to do for yourself, and make sure it gets done
I don’t know about you, but I am dreadful at self-care! And no matter how many times I hear that over-repeated analogy about the oxygen masks on an airplane, I still put everyone else first. The problem with that is, no matter how over-used that analogy is…it’s used for a reason. You only have so much energy, and if you expend it all on others, you wear yourself down quickly.
Doing something for yourself doesn’t have to be huge, or expensive. It can be a bubble bath, or using your favorite essential oils (make sure you read the label so you don’t accidentally put cinnamon oil into your bath…not that I’ve ever done that). It can be reading a chapter or two from a book you’ve been wanting to read.
One of my current favorite me-moments is coloring in some of those fabulous grown-up colorings books. I’m starting to get quite the collection of them!
Write your to-do list before you go to bed (the cycle begins again)
And this is how you turn it from a to-do list, into a routine. Like anything else, this takes practice. Sometimes life happens, and I forget to do my to-do lists for several days, but I always notice a boost to my productivity (and a dip in my stress levels) when I do them. And there’s few things more satisfying than crossing off an item you’ve accomplished.
What are your go-to tips for establishing a solid routine?
Want more tips + tactics for maintaining your solopreneur sanity? We've got you covered. Just released: The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, inspiration and action for finding the intersection of productive and sane to maximize your time working so you can maximize your time living. Ready, set, sanity!
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