Developing a daily routine based on your unique needs and goals is an effective way to improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, increase productivity and achieve optimal success. As an entrepreneur or business owner, moseying along in a haphazard fashion is not going to cut it. You need a structured plan of action.
Sure, you also need to be flexible, open to compromise and prepared to fly by the seat of your pants when things don’t go according to this plan, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with the inevitable challenges and stresses of setting up and running a business if you incorporate structure and discipline into your daily life.
Take a less from history
It’s no coincidence that the most successful people in history, from Descartes to Darwin, had a well-structured daily routine to facilitate their work.
According to Mason Curry, author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, “A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.” Choreographer George Balanchine liked to iron whilst he worked; Ira Gerswhin composed all day long whilst wearing his P.J’s and slippers; Charles Dickens, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven all took long walks every afternoon (not together, obviously); Jean-Paul Sartre took a less salubrious approach by consuming large quantities of narcotics….
Developing a routine that works for you
There are no strict rules when it comes to developing a daily routine, though probably best to lay off the drugs. Instead, incorporating valuable and healthful practices within a structured schedule will help to improve your physical and mental wellbeing and, consequently, your overall productivity and success.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that your regime has to work for you, not the other way around. It needs to be tailored to your individual characteristics, preferences and goals. If it’s not, it will be completely pointless and only hinder your success because you’ll spend most of your time battling against yourself.
1. Sleep schedule
Getting up early works for a lot of people. Most CEOs get up incredibly early in the morning, but that’s normally due to the demands of their chosen professions, so it’s not a hard a fast rule. It depends on the requirements of your own job and daily schedule, as well as the time of day you’re most productive. If you’re a night owl, the 5am start favoured by Richard Branson may not be the right choice for you.
You may have to sacrifice an hour or two in bed on occasion to meet the demands of your busy schedule, but this shouldn’t become a habit. Chronic lack of sleep has a number of damaging effects that will impact your mood, cognitive function, productivity and general health, so you need to make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis to ensure long-term success.
The ideal time to get up in the morning and get the most out of each day depends on your own body clock, or ‘circadian rhythms’. It is a very personal process, but you need to make sure you’re going to bed at the right time to achieve quality sleep and feel energised upon wakening. Our bodies like routine, so a regular sleep schedule is recommended. You may also benefit from using a sleep cycle app to monitor your patterns and quality of sleep.
2. Physical exercise
Daily physical excesses is absolutely vital, even if it’s just a brisk 30 minute walk or a spot of afternoon yoga. It’s often difficult to summon the energy or find the time for exercise, but making this activity a priority will give you more energy and time in the long run and enable you to work more efficiently.
Aside from the physical benefits that we’re all aware of, exercise has a considerable impact on the way we think, thus the way we perform at work. By incorporating it into your daily regime, you will feel less stressed, your mood will improve, you will enjoy a better night’s sleep, and you will experience better concentration and overall cognitive function.
Practicing gratefulness on a daily basis s a great habit to adopt, whatever your profession and current situation. When everything seems like it’s going to the proverbial, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeatist. Focus on what you’ve achieved and what you’re thankful for. This will put things in perspective and help you to deal with challenging situations. Over time, this practice will become second nature. As a result, you will notice a marked improvement in your general outlook and mental wellbeing.
The healthier you are inside, the better you will function on the outside. It’s as simple as that. Make sure you’re feeding your body well throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning – I can’t stress this enough – and you’ll achieve more at work and in your personal life.
If your daily schedule is hectic, planning ahead will enable you to enjoy a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner with healthy snacks in between. Even just grabbing a banana, yoghurt and a glass of fresh water with lemon and ginger first thing in the morning will set you off on the right track for the day.
It’s tempting to skip meals when you have endless tasks to complete and deadlines are looming, but this is counterproductive because you’ll only slow yourself down. You’re not a machine, but even they need care and maintenance to function properly.
5. Rest and relaxation
Your life can’t all be about work. There needs to be a balance, even if you’re a workaholic. It’s important to set time aside for friends and family, hobbies, alone time away from work, and even just a bit of ‘me’ time to completely switch of the frazzled brain.
If you don’t take time to recharge and appreciate other aspects of your life, you risk burning out. If you’re really obsessed with your work and simply thrive on it, just think how much more joy you’ll get from it when you take time out. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and sometimes this applies to your job, too.
About the Author
Rachel Craig is the senior content writer and editor for 1st Formations, the leading company formation agents in the UK. A specialist in her field, Rachel provides in-depth guidance and advice on UK company registration, corporate compliance and starting a new business. Follow Rachel on Twitter.