One of the most productive practices I’ve developed over the past few years is a daily routine. Countless books and articles will confirm that a routine is extremely beneficial to productivity. It was a difficult thing to adapt to because I have always been a spontaneous, “live in the moment” kind of guy but once my business started to grow, it became impossible for me to manage all the things I had going on. Things started to fall through the cracks and procrastination became a regular occurrence. I felt like I was busy all day but never getting anything done. Do you know the feeling?
Why is a daily routine so important?
Routine helps you to sustain energy by reducing the time and effort that goes to making regular decisions. We all have a finite capacity for optimal decision-making and throughout the day we start to burn through that energy. A routine helps you to optimize your energy to ensure you are doing the right things at the right time. A daily routine will help you to accomplish your goals and to move your business forward. You ALWAYS want your business to be moving forward!
We all know someone who decided to “Get in shape” and then starts to go to the gym or run and within a few days or weeks it’s all over. What went wrong? Exercise was not a part of their routine. It was not a habit. Professional athletes make exercise a part of their routine. That’s why they become so good at what they do. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you have to do the same thing, you have to develop the habits and routines of a great entrepreneur.
Franklin was the youngest son and fifteenth child born to his working-class father and he only attended school for two years – but he made enough money to retire from active business by the age of 42. One of the secrets of his success was his daily routine:
My daily routine (times are approximate and shift based on when I start my day – you need to allow for flexibility):
- 9:00 AM – As soon as I arrive to the office, I spend 5 minutes planning my day. I do this BEFORE checking email or even turning on my computer. I write down the top 3 things I hope to accomplish that day.
- 9:15 AM – I spend 30 – 60 minutes doing “creative” work. Writing a blog post, designing a new ad, tweaking thing on iStabilizer.com, or any type of work that generally requires creativity. I find that by doing this first, I am not bogged down by the multitude of emails or pending tasks yet. I like to do my creative work before the day seems hectic.
- 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – I work on my inbox, responding to emails and forwarding or delegating what I can to the appropriate people within the company.
- 12:00 PM – I usually spend an hour break for reading and lunch. This break is very helpful for me to reset and focus. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body!
- 1:00 PM – I start to work on my “top 3” things of the day. This will usually take me 2 -3 hours.
- 4:00 PM – Emails again. I usually have new emails that need to be looked at or responded to.
- 5:00 PM – I like to spend 30 minutes or so reading through articles/stories on the various blogs and social media channels I follow: HBR, Entrepreneur, Twitter, Facebook, etc…
- 5:30 PM – Organizing and planning. I like to take some time at the end of the day to clean my desk and organize my office so that I can start fresh the next day.
This daily routine helps to stay organized as much as possible. Do I stick to it religiously? Absolutely not!! Some days conference calls and meetings will disrupt the schedule so I just have to be flexible with how I do it. For me, the main idea with the routine is that it prevents me from spending all day doing busy work and never moving my company forward. What tips do you use to stay productive and always moving forward? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.