Aside from being highly successful and prolific, what do Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maya Angelou, Benjamin Franklin, Anna Wintour, and Steve Jobs have in common? A well-defined daily routine.
The schedules of remarkable people bear striking resemblances, and it’s no secret that structure tends to be a key ingredient in their recipes for success. While no solution is one-size-fits-all, there are lessons to be learned from what works for others.
Not knocking things out at the rate you’d like? Consider these proven strategies for creating a productivity-enhancing routine.
Wake up early.
By and large, high achievers are early risers. A 5-year study of 177 self-made millionaires found that nearly 50% choose to wake up at least three hours before their workday officially begins. The reason why is simple—the wee hours of the morning serve up fewer disruptions.
As you’ve undoubtedly experienced, even the best laid plans can be easily upturned by unscheduled phone calls and unexpected crises. Experience enough days like this and you’ll feel helplessly ineffective at managing your life.
An early start puts you in the driver’s seat and prevents interruptions from derailing your day.
Designate time for self-care.
While there may be periods when your efforts must ramp up, working nonstop is unsustainable and flat out hazardous to your health.
To fire on all cylinders, you must invest in yourself by making room in your routine for self-care. Pick activities that resonate with you and do them regularly. A few examples include:
- Journaling – Writing is a wonderful way to process your thoughts and brainstorm new ideas.
- Meditation – Studies have shown meditation to have numerous benefits, from reducing stress and anxiety to enhancing memory and improving immune function.
- Stretching – Just a few minutes of stretching gets your blood flowing, calms your mind, and releases tension.
It should go without saying that nourishing your body with wholesome food is essential. Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves skipping meals or scarfing down glazed donuts on the way to the next meeting. The food you consume really does have an effect on your performance, so take the time to give your body and brain the fuel it deserves.
And let’s not forget what could easily be the most transformational part of your routine—exercise. It doesn’t matter if it’s tennis, yoga, dancing, swimming, or powerlifting, choose a form of movement that you enjoy. Schedule your workout as if it’s a can’t-miss appointment, and don’t let fall to the wayside. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.
Deal with your most important or difficult to-do list items first.
Make a habit of tackling mission-critical tasks straight away when your energy is high, your mind is fresh, and there’s little opportunity for anything else to hijack your time and attention.
An early triumph creates momentum for further productivity, and it also guarantees that even a day that gets overrun by intrusions is still a win.
Take your fair share of breaks.
Long stretches of work without a break produce stress, exhaustion, and burnout. If that’s not enough, constantly sitting wreaks havoc on your health. Why accept a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, depression, or heart disease if you can avoid it?
Go for a walk, get some fresh air, eat a snack, take a quick nap. Whatever you do, step away from your desk. Aim for a 5-minute break every hour to show your body some love and replenish your mental resources.
Taking a breather will renew your focus, restore your motivation, and help prevent decision fatigue.
Give these strategies a try, and be mindful of the effects. Chances are you’ll notice a lift in your productivity as well as your well-being. The key is to keep tweaking your daily routine until it’s optimal for you.
To your Game Changing Success,