Alarm. Breakfast. Commute. Work. Commute. Dinner. Television. Sleep. Alarm.
As much as I would like to pretend otherwise, this is a pretty accurate summary of my first months after university. For the better part of a year I felt the days pass like a blur. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my work. But the truth is I felt as if my personal life, and my control over it, were slowly slipping away. I needed to take control of my life and I needed to do it fast. Everything began to change when I realized the importance of a daily routine.
In this article, we are going to explore why having a daily routine is such an essential part of your lifestyle, what elements a good daily routine has, and ideas that you can use to start building a daily routine that is right for you. Let’s get started!
Why Daily Routines are Important
We’ll start this article by exploring why daily routines are so important in the lives of young professionals. Many of us likely believed that the transition from student life to professional life would bring a sudden injection of structure and routine to our days, and in reality this assumption turns out to be true. Yet it is important to recognize that the pressures of your new career and the habits that they force you into are not a substitute for the habits, hobbies, and activities that you feel bring a sense of stability in your life. A true daily routine is made by you, for you!
So what is the benefit of developing your daily routine? How will your lifestyle be improved? These are all fair questions to ask before you put time and effort into a new project.
Here are a few reasons why you should start planning your routine today:
- Having a daily routine adds a feeling of stability amid the high pressures of your early professional life – Don’t let yourself become swept up in the rush of busy days and stressful weeks
- Following a daily routine allows you to set aside time for things important to you – Maybe it’s reading the news before heading to the office, or writing in a journal before bed, but no matter what the activity is a daily routine will help you find the time to do it
- You can use a daily routine to stay on top of responsibilities in your personal life, too – From working out, to studying for a master’s degree, to keeping your apartment clean, the power of a daily routine extends beyond the recreational!
Now that we’ve reviewed just why it is so important to apply a daily routine to your personal lifestyle, hopefully you’re feeling motivated to dig into the steps to make your own daily routine. Below, we will begin looking at the essential elements that a daily routine includes.
But wait! Would you like to explore the potential professional benefits of a daily routine? Learn about them in this article:
Essential Elements of a Daily Routine
Okay, so you’re feeling inspired to start thinking about what activities or habits you want to include in your daily routine. Great! This next step requires us to evaluate what types of activities and habits there are. Understanding these essential elements will help your daily routine have the greatest impact on your lifestyle. All of these elements play an important role, so let’s begin exploring them below!
I’m sure that after a long day at work, doing chores are one of the least appealing things to have waiting for you at home. You’re not alone. Thinking of the sink full of dishes or overflowing laundry basket is enough to bring my day down. And yet, keeping up on these chores are an important part of your daily routine. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to keep on top of the tasks that keep your living space clean and comfortable by including them in your daily routine!
At some point you’ve probably had to talk about your hobbies, whether it was during an interview or at the water cooler. For most of us, professional life makes it hard to do more about your hobbies besides talk about them. That can feel pretty sad! I love playing paintball during the spring and fall, and working out makes up for an important part of many lives. You have hobbies of your own. Do not let your busy career be an excuse to give up your hobbies, include them in your daily routine!
Our third element of a routine is carving out time to relax! Much like chores and hobbies, the activities that help you relax may be different from the next person. However, as long as you recognize the things that allow you to relax before or after a day at work then you are doing your part to improve your lifestyle. Relaxation is an important part of your daily routine, so don’t let it fall by the wayside!
Great! Now we’ve not only learned why having a daily routine is important, but we have also explored the three essential elements that you need to consider when you are forming your own routine. Now we are ready to jump into this step by exploring a ideas to include!
Ideas for Your Own Daily Routine
Are you feeling ready to brainstorm activities that you want to add to your own routine? If you are, keep reading. We are going to look at some ideas for your morning and evening routines for each of our three essential elements that we reviewed above. Feel free to take notes, and let’s get started!
The first part of your daily routine we will explore is your morning routine. Sure, many of us are guilty of rolling out of bed with just enough time to get ready before work, but the truth is that the abrupt transition from sleep to stress is no way to live. Below, you will find some ideas you could make happen by setting that alarm clock for 30 minutes sooner:
Ideas for Your Morning Routine
- Chores: Take out the trash – This is a simple but easy way to keep your place clean as you walk to the car
- Chores : Make your bed – I’m not trying to sound like your mom, but the five minutes it will take will do wonders for setting your self-discipline as you start your day
- Hobbies: Read the news – Maybe it’s the latest stock market reports or maybe it’s Hollywood gossip, as long as you are reading!
- Hobbies: Workout – Some of us are cannot bring ourselves to workout in the morning, but others may find that taking 20-30 minutes to sweat before work is a great way to start the day
- Relaxation: Drink a cup of coffee outside – A seasonal idea, but depending on your location and the time of year this can be a surprisingly serene activity
- Relaxation: Watch T.V. – Is it necessarily productive? No, but there is nothing wrong with watching an episode of The Office before work if it gets your head in a comfortable space
Hopefully some of the ideas above will help you shape your morning routine. You will be surprised at just how much activity you can accomplish with one less snooze before work. Next, we will review some ideas to include in your evening routine for even more productivity and relaxation.
Ideas for Your Evening Routine
- Chores: Wash the dishes – We’ve all had days or weeks where the dishes pile up until we realize that no one else is coming by to clean them, so why wait! Stay on top of this chore for a kitchen that is always cleaner
- Chores: Pack your lunch – Maybe you do this already but if you don’t, consider this: The 10-15 minutes you save by making your lunch the night before are 10-15 minutes you can now apply to your morning routine
- Hobbies: Workout – If you aren’t a morning workout person, then your evening routine is the place to reserve 30 minutes to an hour to get your sweat on
- Hobbies: Start a side hustle project – I spent months thinking about starting this blog before I actually took the plunge, and I couldn’t have started without blocking off time in the evening to work on it! You can find the time in your own routine to work on your own pet project
- Relaxation: Read – Not only does reading make you smarter, but an exciting book series can keep you just as engaged as the latest hit T.V. show!
- Relaxation: Write in a journal – I have been keeping an (almost) daily journal for the past three years, and it has without doubt been one of the most important and enjoyable part of my evening routine. Expect a future article about the benefits of journaling
The lists we just reviewed are only a small sample of the dozens of ideas you could integrate into your morning and evening routines, but they are a great place to start. You can build onto your routines as much as you’d like and as often as you’d like.
Wow, we covered quite a bit! Perhaps the best way to conclude the many topics covered today is with a personal observation. It isn’t very difficult to create your daily routines, but it is extremely difficult to follow through on them. There is a high level of personal discipline required to do that. However, the payoff is immediate and it is daily. Daily routines are one of the few ways in which you can maintain a sense of control and stability in your otherwise busy professional life.
On the topic of personal discipline, I recently picked up former Navy Seal Jocko Willink’s book “Discipline Equals Freedom”. Not only is the book easy to digest and straight to the point, it offers insight on almost all of the elements of daily routines we explored above. Learn how to get the most out of your fitness, your chores, and your relaxation time. You can check out the book for yourself through the Amazon link below!
Now go forward and take control of your life. Start creating your daily routine today!
Have you been following a daily routine of your own? Are there books that have inspired you to follow your hobbies or reserve time to relax? Please share in the comments below!