“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” - Mike Murdock

What do you think and feel when you hear the word "routine"? For some, it brings thoughts of rigidity and mind-numbing boredom. For others, it evokes calm and a sense of accomplishment.

No matter your reaction to the word, I promise you - you have routines. You may not have intentionally crafted them, but you have them. When we allow detrimental habits to play out on auto-pilot, these routines can work against us. When we use our routines for good, they create consistency and intention around positive behaviors.

I shared an image of my daily focus pages in a previous post, and those pages contain a checklist of my daily routines. Since then, I've received several requests to share the specifics of those routines. I'm happy to share, but please remember routines are very personalized, and mine continually evolve to move me toward accomplishing my goals. Yours may look very different.

At the time of this writing, I have four main daily routines.

Morning Routine

Review mission, goals, and today's focus activities
(Sunday) Refill vitamins
(Sunday) Read
I have goals around water intake, exercise, calming my mind through meditation, and a commitment to positive self-talk. I review my goals every day to keep them top of mind. To stay informed, I listen to a curated collection of informative podcasts that don't serve up the berating negativity of network news. These things are important to me, so my day begins with these behaviors.

Startup Routine

Sort email inbox and voicemail into necessary actions
Process vital actions from email and voice mail
Complete today's focus activities
Industry reading
As my workday begins, I have a specific order of activity to avoid being derailed and sucked down the rabbit hole of someone else's priorities. My routine keeps me true to my desired areas of focus - priority activities, keeping up with my industry, and keeping my email under control.

Shutdown Routine

Final processing of email for the day
Check my "action reminder" file for tomorrow
Set tomorrow's top three focus activities
Process paper and digital notes from the day
My shutdown routine keeps essential items from falling through the cracks at the end of the day.

Evening Routine

Task and habit tracking
The day ends with tracking progress toward my goals, capturing highlights of the day through journaling, and supporting my health by taking vitamins.

I completely understand if you're rolling your eyes in disbelief that I document these activities. But these sequences act as my compass at critical points of the day and keep me moving toward my goals. They prevent me from wandering aimlessly through my day without a plan.

To create your personalized routines, consider the goals you would like to achieve and the behaviors that support those achievements. Design a plan that incorporates those behaviors into your daily actions. Having a plan will help you build momentum, avoid distraction, and minimize procrastination. Your productivity will increase because you first focus on the most important things, leaving less room for busy work and time-wasting activities.

As you build your routines, be mindful that they don't need to be complicated. You want to start small to avoid overwhelm. I recommend starting first with a morning routine. The activities you perform at the beginning of your day set you up for success and allow you to start your day on a positive note.

Be prepared to revise your routines as needed. Life consists of many variables, so stay flexible and adapt to your available bandwidth. Be patient with yourself, and celebrate the incremental wins.

Routines provide a vehicle for blending your goals into your daily life, and beautiful things can happen on the path to your goals.

This article first appeared on the New Path Perspective blog by Kathy Muzik for New Path Productivity, LLC.

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Muzik is one of Productive Environment Institute's Certified Productive Environment Specialists™ (CPES™).

Our team is consist of Certified Productive Environment Specialists™ (CPES™) who teach business owners a 9-step system to go from overwhelmed to optimized. Step 1 is a free Assessment that can be found at www.ProductiveEnvironmentScore.com.