Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Beauty of Routine

I’ve always thought routine was important. Even back when I was in grade school, during free time I’d be writing out my “Schedules of Time” trying to figure out how much time I had for reading and playing the in orange groves while still doing my homework and chores.

When I started working at home I wondered what would be the best routine for me. I’ve read many articles over the years about the best time of the day to do certain tasks. I also had to think about when my family would be home, when dinner needed to get into the oven, what kids I needed to run where.

Tame the Email Monster
I originally started the day by checking my email and seeing what needed to be done. The problem was I often got derailed and several hours later found that I hadn’t gotten to my to-do list for the day.

Then I read this article from Business Insider on things productive people do everyday. One was to NOT start your day by checking your email. I’ve been implementing this for a couple of weeks now and I actually find it very freeing. I do my “big rocks” (more on that later) then check my email, knowing that I have a time limit where I need to be moving on to my to-do list items.

So once I tamed my email I thought about what I needed to do each day to make me feel productive, even if I did get derailed.

Place the Big Rocks
I have six kids at home, teens and tweens. It’s summertime so they sleep late. I’m a morning person and I like quiet to do my reflective work. So I asked, “What are my most valuable skills? Where do I bring the most value to my clients?” and finally, “What do I need to do to create an environment that cultivates those things?”

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have most of them. But I did decide that I needed to do my time in the Word, my exercises, and my creative time before noon. Those are my “big rocks” and I can get most of them done before the monsters—uh, kids—wake up.

Routine is Coffee’s Friend
The article above reinforced to me the value of routine. It frees your brain from having to think about what needs to be done next. It allows you to walk around like a zombie in the morning and still get something done before the coffee kicks in.

The best routine is one that works for you with your energy levels and life situation. There is no one-routine-fits-all I’m still experimenting with what makes sense for me, but I’m happy with what I’ve discovered so far.

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