I purposely took a week off from writing. Part because of a brutal cold, but also part because this topic took a bit longer to digest: creating or changing an effective routine that aligns with your success.
Routine. This is not a word many of us like to think about, but every single successful person or business follows a routine each and every day.
Without knowing it, we live within structured schedules set by others. The truly successful, though, have routines that they set for themselves.
Many may question, “Why should we have a routine?” My answer is simple: because for successful people it is effective, and it gives us comfort and confidence.
I learned a long time ago- and still remind myself of this- that one of the most important benefits of a routine is the law of compound interest. We see the effect of compound interest in investing. If you get a little bit of interest on your money each day, you will end up with more at the end of a year versus just throwing a big lump of interest on a sum at one time.
We also see this with writing. Great writers write a little each day. By writing every day they are working on their craft; great writers are not worried that each piece is perfect. Actually this method will bring their average work up to higher levels because they are getting better at it every time. In my case I committed to write a little each day to fulfill my goal of one article and blog a week.
It has been proven that if you exercise for 15 minutes a day, it is better over the course of years than exercising for 3 hours once a week. Cumulative results happen because of a routine.
What is your routine for approaching your day?
I asked a few successful people I know about their daily routines. It was not surprising that those who have made the most impact on their industries or businesses had specific routines they committed to and followed.
Here are highlights that one successful person told me on how they begin their day:
- I get up at 5 a.m. and for the first hour I work out.
- Then I get my kids up and feed them.
- At 7:30 a.m. I take my kids to school.
- My first hour at work is spent doing creative work, not reactive work.
- Then I answer emails for 30 minutes.
- I schedule my meetings in the afternoon if at all possible.
Some other points I found interesting in successful people’s routines:
- They block out time in their schedules for creative tasks.
- They schedule 30 minutes after each meeting to digest what happened.
- They schedule 30 minutes a day to read articles or listen to videos to help improve their crafts.
- They schedule creative time when their energy is highest. For some (like myself) that is morning, for others it may be later in the day.
- They take 30 minutes before leaving work to create their to-do lists for the next day and leave it on their desks so they see it first thing.
- They schedule calls every day to reach out to current and past clients.
- They find 30 minutes to do nothing— no music, no calls, no emails—they just sit and clear their minds.
For these individuals the above things allow them to feel in control of their days and feel that they are working on their crafts. All of the people I spoke to said that having a routine, whether they adjust it over time or not, has been one of the reasons for their successes.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you a fireman putting out fires all day? Or, are you guiding and working on your business instead of working in the business?
- Are you waiting at your desk for people to come in so that you feel important or have something to do?
- Are you mapping out your day and controlling what you do with your time?
Create a daily routine for yourself- it will build a solid base of confidence and strength. Routine does not squash creativity; it provides a structure to allow creativity.