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5 Keys To Developing A Daily Routine And Sticking To It

5 Keys To Developing A Daily Routine And Sticking To It

The increasingly popular non-fiction genre built on the more mundane secrets of successful people — from how they make their coffee to what books they read to what time they go to bed — underlies what we all know: building a pattern of behavior aimed at succeeding makes more sense than just hoping to fall into success.

Here are five keys to getting started on building a routine — and sticking to it.

1. Commit To Having A Routine, And Start In The Morning

“The choices we make during the first hour or so of our day determine whether we have productivity and peace of mind for the rest of the day, or whether it will clobber us over the head,” write Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander in their book, "My Morning Routine."

Spall and Xander interviewed military leaders, Olympic medalists and Fortune 500 executives and found most start their day the same each day. The actual routine, from wake-up time, to breakfast to reading or working out or not, was different from person-to-person, but nearly all do pretty much the same thing every morning.

2. Make To-Do Lists For Reminders, But Also For Accountability

To-do lists help remind you of what the routine should include, but they also bring accountability, sitting there in front of you, urging you to check the items off.

Time management expert Julie Morgenstern recommended in a New York Times story that at the end of each workday, you should make a list of five to eight goals for the next day. Be realistic, and don’t add items for the rest of the week, at least on this list. That will make your list too daunting. Break projects into component parts. Don’t list doing a project, list finishing one or two specific parts of the project.

3. Don’t Procrastinate With Scattershot Email Or Other 'Necessary Distractions'

Checking email may seem like a good idea – it’s work-related, and something that has to be done. But it can also be a rabbit hole of non-productivity that can blow up your routine. Several experts recommend setting aside certain times of day to plow through emails and sticking to your routine by ignoring them when you need to be productive.

4. Make Routine … Well, Routine

A routine is a habit. Most people who say they benefit from routines in their professional life keep them going because they make their whole day about routine.

Many successful people thrive on outside-of-work routines, from fashion editor Carine Roitfeld’s commitment to boxing while listening to classical music to Winston Churchill’s insistence on champagne, brandy and cigars everyday at 1 p.m. to the trendy habit of meditation now espoused by seemingly every successful person.

5. Stick To It With A “Commitment Device”

Commitment devices keep you on track by creating a consequence for not following-through, or a reward for meeting a goal. It could be a colleague you check in with on how you're moving toward a goal, or it could be a self-imposed punishment for not sticking to a routine.

As Freakonomics podcast host and economist Steve Levitt puts it, with commitment devices "we make a deal to punish (or reward) ourselves if the future self doesn’t follow through on the current self’s promise.”

Related Links:

The Steady Trader's Rigid Morning Routine

4 Habits Of A Successful At-Home Trader

Posted-In: advice morning routines Routine success secretsEducation Psychology General Best of Benzinga


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