Do you ever wake up feeling like you just don’t get enough done in the day? Are you tried by mid-afternoon only feeling like your list is as long as it was when you first started the day?
I’ve been there. I even wrote about how I plan my week. But let’s talk about each day. Forming habits are all about building routines. It’s about doing the same thing each and every day.
An excellent book, Atomic Habits, discusses in detail how to form a habit. If you struggle at forming habits, I highly recommend his book.
Success is the product of daily habits—not once in-a-lifetime transformations.James Clear
One of the things I learned (before reading the book) was to make small changes each day, do it repeatedly, you will form a habit. As I started to form habits, I turned those habits into routines. Today, because of those habits, I now have a daily routine.
Here’s my daily routine. Maybe it will help you if you are looking to form habits.
7:30 – 8:00 – Wake up, hang with the kids (This will get earlier, once the kids go to school)
8:00 – 8:15 – Make a pot of coffee
8:15 – 9:00 – Review tasks for the day, check email, drink my first cup of coffee
9:00 – 1:00 – Work. It varies daily between meetings and structured time
1:00 – 1:30 – Lunch if I wasn’t able to eat before a 12:30 daily meeting.
1:30 – 4:30 – Work. This varies but usually is time dedicated to PM-related tasks.
4:30-5:00 – Review the day. Prioritize my task list for the next day.
5:00 – 5:30 – Look at social, read, play a game, listen to a podcast. It’s my cool-down between work and home.
That’s my daily routine, Monday-Friday. It changes slightly if I’m trying to fit something else in, or if I have a doctor’s appointment. The point is though, is that it’s generally the same every day.
A daily routine is only going to stick if you make sure you set yourself up for success. I do this a couple of ways.
Time Blocking Your Calendar
I’m sure like some of you, I live based on my calendar. I have everything on my calendar. Multiple calendars even. If you asked my wife, she’d tell you I get surprised when she forgets to add something to our shared calendar.
My buddy Syed wrote about his time blocking system so I’ve essentially tried to replicate that for my own calendar. Everything I do is on my calendar. I block out time for strategic work, meetings, lunch, email, everything.
This not only keeps me sane between managing multiple calendars but also helps me ensure that I’m working on the most important things at the right time.
I use a service called Reclaim to help manage a number of things on my calendars. Probably the most important is that it keeps my calendars in sync. Meaning that if I have a doctor’s appointment show up on my personal calendar, it will show up on my work calendar as well. If there’s a conflict, it will alert me so I can decide what I want to change.
However, Reclaim does more than that. Another incredibly useful feature I use is the ability to claim time for yourself. In my case, I have it block off 30 minutes at the beginning and end of the day for “catch up.” Which is really just a way for me to end any meetings and start working on planning or reviewing my days. I also have it find 45 minutes of time that I fit in lunch. It’s usually before or after my 12:30-1:00 depending on the week.
I’d say that Reclaim is the most important tool in my arsenal and helps me manage my time. It’s truly like a virtual assistant.
The last tool that helps me with my daily routine is SavvyCal. SavvyCal is similar to Calendly which I also wrote about previously. I use this to allow clients, outside contractors, friends, etc. schedule time with me. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not scheduling everything in my life like this. I’m not even sending this to friends when they want to get together. I’m more or less using this as a professional tool.
My workday wraps up at 5 and I typically don’t have anything happening in the evenings, so I don’t need to focus on scheduling that time. But I do have work friends that I meet with occasionally. I’ll use it for those types of meetings.
Have you established a daily routine? What do you do? How do you keep it? Any tips for me? Join me on Twitter or my newsletter. Would love to connect and discuss the process.