A routine is one of the most powerful productivity tools I know of. It provides structure and direction, like a map to daily life. Many people think of routines as restrictive, but I think the opposite is true.
Up until last year, I didn't attempt to live by a daily routine. I went to sleep when I felt like it, woke up when I had to, and tried to get everything done in between. This led to a lot of late nights, working on last-minute projects that were due the week before.
Finally, I decided I'd had enough. Things needed to change.
I worked out the rough outline of a daily routine and gave it a shot. Very quickly, I found I had more time than I knew what to do with. I tweaked the routine, added a few things, and tried again. Before long I'd settled on a daily routine that gave me time for work, sleep, hobbies, and family.
The results have been incredible. I'm convinced everyone would benefit from a daily routine, because of the freedoms it brings.
The Freedom of Focus
When relying on a daily routine, you rise above the limited focus of distractions and demands on your time. With that map to guide you, you can secure a clear sense of direction for what to spend your time on next.
When I wake up every morning, I don't have to wonder what I should do first. I know that my first task is to stretch and then say my morning prayers. From there, I go for my morning run.
The Freedom of Clarity
A daily routine provides clear expectations for those around you.
Sharing your routine with those you love lets them know when you need space to yourself, as well as when you've set aside time for nothing but them
Every night, I've scheduled time to sit and read with my wife. This lets her know she's important enough to fit in my routine, and gives us both something to look forward to. As well, she knows that I'm working between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM and that I'll be unavailable most of that time.
The Freedom of Flexibility
If you approach a daily routine like a restriction or cage, you aren't likely to follow through. That's where many people get caught up, and fail to adhere to their routine.
When treated like a map, a routine can be liberating because it provides a point of reference.
Like most people, I'm easily distracted by the unusual, comical, or urgent. Once I'm ready to refocus, however, I have my daily routine to get me back on track.
The Freedom of Margin
This, by far, is the greatest benefit of a daily routine.
Structure helps you identify margin in your life, to find available time you didn't know you had. That time can then be spent with family, friends, or working on your dream projects that you've always put off.
For me, this margin has been life-changing.
Despite the fact that I work a full-time job and have all the responsibilities of a newlywed husband, I'm able to publish new content on this site every single week. As well, I have time to spend alone with my wife, and time to take care of my own mental, physical, and spiritual needs.
If you don't have a daily routine right now, today is the time to change that.
Question: What could a daily routine make possible in your life?