Productivity tricks and hacks are of little worth if you don’t have one thing figured out already – your routine.
Your routine is bar none the best productivity tool at your disposal. If you have yet to recognize it as such, it’s time for closer examination.
Christian singer-songwriter Mike Murdock said:
The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime.The things you do, as well as the things you don’t do, speak volumes of what you will ultimately accomplish in this lifetime. Click To Tweet
What to Include in Your Daily Routine
When it comes to forming an effective daily routine, you must triage mercilessly.
No matter who you are, and no matter what level you operate at, 20% of your effort creates 80% of your results.
This isn’t to say the other 80% is wasted effort, but it certainly pales in comparison to the 20% that’s creating all the results.
What this suggests is that you can assign a value to everything you do. If you aren’t sure what’s driving results, the Effectiveness Diagnostic is a tool worth utilizing, and one you should return to periodically.
Now, our tendency will always be to think in terms of work and work only.
But who’s to say Thursday night Netflix binges aren’t fueling you up, giving you the energy and inspiration, you need to engage in Friday meetings?
Productivity isn’t just about getting more done. At least not at a high level. It’s also about optimal performance – being able to bring your best self to everything you do.Productivity is about optimal performance – bringing your best self to everything you do. Click To Tweet
If a specific activity gives you energy, and it contributes to all other areas of life – physical, relational, spiritual, and so on – then it’s worth keeping in your routine.
Keeping Accountable to Your Routine
If you scheduled in three workouts last week, and you followed through on all of them, then we know you’re making positive progress with regards to your health.
Three workouts aren’t going to change your life. But the results stack over time, and that’s the secret of all daily habits.
For instance, one daily blog post turns into 365 over the course of a year if you publish daily. And that’s 365 new opportunities to connect with your audience you didn’t have before.
Once you have a routine, you need to follow through on it. And oftentimes, that is the hardest part.
But you’ve also got to keep in mind that you’re the one making the rules. If your routine isn’t serving you, you’re serving it, and that’s the opposite of what systems are for.
Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place.Whenever something doesn’t work, instead of beating yourself up, acknowledge what didn’t work and put a new structure in place. Click To Tweet
We think beating ourselves up harder and better will make the difference this time, when that is – in my observation – never the case. There is no breakthrough in behavioral modification.
The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now (your blind spots). And that often requires an outside perspective.The only breakthrough is in discovering what you don’t see right now. And that often requires an outside perspective. Click To Tweet
Iterating on Your Routine
The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity.The best routine is one that’s sustainable for a virtual eternity. Click To Tweet
Many people try to do too much, and don’t share in responsibilities or delegate enough.
As result, their schedule is overloaded from the moment they begin Monday morning. If they were to take on one more project, their life would quickly turn to organized chaos.
First, unscheduled time isn’t a sin. Just as a blank canvas beckons, you can leave space in your life for spontaneity, and even have time available for a project you desire to take on.
Second, you need a mental model to determine what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. If you’re just getting started, then you will deal out your share of yesses, but as your project quiver grows, you’ll need to begin saying “no.”
And, to call it a mental model would be an exaggeration. What you need is a gut instinct. A primal response. “Hell yeah!” or “no.”
Stop saying “yes” to anything you’re less than stoked to take on.
More importantly, iterate on your routine as necessary. As noted, some routines may not be workable over the long haul. Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life.Closely examine whatever you’re giving your time to, and pay attention to whether it adds to your quality of life. Click To Tweet
Once you have your routine sorted out, you can begin implementing additional productivity hacks. Until then, it’s like trying to solve the entire puzzle when all you need to do is connect the first piece.
Self-mastery isn’t necessarily easy, and it does require discipline. But the benefits are enormous.
If you have a sustainable routine that you’ve been living by for more than a year, I can already guess with a fair bit of certainty that you have a fulfilling, happy, enjoyable life.
Routine may seem boring at first. But once you’ve experienced just how powerful it is, you’ll internalize and appreciate its value as you never have before.