SEPTEMBER 19, 2020
You can be sure of becoming successful when you know that the actions you are taking right now are leading you towards the future you want.-Prabhsimrat Gill
One of the most important parts of our lives is our daily routine. Every day, doing something and not doing something doesn’t seem like a lot. But, over time, the results can be extremely different. When two planes take off from the same airport, the difference in their direction is not visible from that airport, but over hundred of kilometres, even a slight difference of three degrees can create a major difference in where these planes land up, and it is the same with our lives. We don’t realise it but the decisions we make today might not affect us at all because of which we take it for granted, but over the long term, that specific decision can create a major difference. And, that is why daily routines matter. It is immensely important for us to structure our daily actions in a way that guides and takes us to the desired result that we want. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how to form the right routine and stick to it.
Whenever most people consider forming a daily routine, the very thought of it sometimes seems daunting, let alone making or following it. The simple reason behind this is that many people have multiple misconceptions about daily routines. And, the biggest misconception is, “Routines are tedious and difficult to follow. How can one do a specific task at a specific time over and over for years and years?” Well, at first, this may seem logical. But once you understand the importance of routines and how to form them, this misconception will seem completely irrational. Thus, we need to first understand the importance of routines and see how the actions we take today form the future that awaits us.
Imagine that there are two girls, and both of them want to become professional vocalists. Now, let’s have a look at the daily routines of both of them. The first girl wakes up 3 hours before school and goes for a run around her house. Then, she gets back home and does some special neck exercises for about five minutes. Afterwards, she gets ready for school and practices for some time. After school, she gets right back to her house and does her school work in the next 2 hours. Finally, in the evening she goes for a forty-five-minute vocal class and then comes back home to practice what she had learned, and then sleeps at night. On the contrary, the other girl wakes up just one hour before school, only to get ready and eat her breakfast. After school, she spends an hour or so freely roaming around wherever she wishes to and after coming back home, she either takes a nap in her room or checks her social media, and finally does her school work after which she sleeps. The only place where she sings is her music class once a week in school. Now, both of them want to become professional vocalists, but who do you think is going to do that? Obviously, it is the first girl. But in our lives, we often forget to realise the significance of small actions like the run, the neck exercises and the evening class, but when we see our lifespan over the long-term; these small actions are what make that three-degree change in direction and give us the ability to land up in a place that we want to, or we don’t want to.
Now that the importance of following a routine is clear; it is important to know how to build one that aligns with your goals. And there are certain steps that need to be taken into consideration to understand how to develop a great routine that creates the three-degree shift in your life, giving you the power to end up where you truly want to: –
- Know what is it that you want as your end goal. Making a routine is like sowing a seed. And before sowing any seed, it is important for you to know what it is that you are sowing. That is the same with making a routine. Therefore you need to know what it is that you want, and you will sow accordingly. In the month of June this year, I decided to follow a routine from the first till the last day of the month. And here is how I did it. I had certain objectives in mind. I wanted to get more into writing stories and blogs like this so I set out some specific time for writing every day. Then, my next aim was to keep my school studies on track and to finish the holiday homework on time. So, I set out 3 hours a day for that. My next aim was to increase my reading and thus I set out 3 hours in the morning to do that. I also had the thought of learning more about technology, coding and the financial markets, so I set out studying the financial markets and coding every alternate day for one hour. And for the evening, I kept my relaxing time for watching an episode of a web-series. I followed this routine for 37 days until my school started on 8th of July and by that time, I had learned considerably about coding and the financial markets. I had read 10 books and over 2000 pages. I had written multiple things with a blog being published every week and I kept up with my school studies in a perfect manner. This was that specific three-degree shift for me, and it truly helped me get onto the path that I wanted to.
- Don’t be too rigid. This is one of the major myths regarding routines. People think that following a routine means doing something at a specific time on specific days or every day. But this is completely wrong! Routines don’t need to be rigid. Actually, forming a routine and following it is very flexible. When I made my routine for the month of June, I wrote down the specific timings on my Routine sheet. But I did not keep those timings as deadlines, I kept them as a reminder of what is it that I need to do and for how long do I need to do it. I woke up at 6 every day, and for many days I did things exactly in the order that I was supposed to do them in. But there were days when I did my study before reading, or I did everything else and then did my writing at the end. It is this simple. There is no need to be rigid. You can be flexible with the timings, or you can also just write down the things that you need to do and do all those things, but at any time that suits you. Also, it is important to know that you should not be frustrated if any external factors affect your routine and break it. It did happen with me and I had to change my routine a little according to the things that came in the way, but it is important to get back to your routine once the task is done.
- Keep improving your routine. This is an immensely important part of following a routine. Yes, the basic routines like brushing your teeth, cleaning up your workspace and maintaining hygiene are important and there is no need to modify these routines. But, once you set up a routine, it does not mean that you need to stick with it for your lifetime. Life is a constant flux and all of it cannot be put into a specific routine. Your goals may change or your situation may change because of which you need to bring about certain changes to your routine, and you must welcome those changes and live with them. Take my example. From 8th July, my virtual school had begun and I could not follow my old timetable anymore. So, I cut down on some of the activities and reduced my reading to the morning hours before school in order to compensate for the schooling time. I also had my Trinity Music Exam coming up for which I made a special slot in the evening and discarded some activities for this important activity.
- Understand what’s most important. This is extremely essential for you to understand. Prioritisation of actions is the most important as that is how you will be able to decide how much time you want to give to a certain activity. And, over the course of following your routine, this can change. I was not well near the end of my holidays and thus, I fell back on my reading. So, I kept the writing and the studying parts because these were important to me. I had the target of finishing my tenth book in four days, however, the first two days, the most that I read was 20 pages. Now, I had 180 pages left to cover in two days. I compensated my entertainment and my other extra learning time into reading while continuing with the important activities. And, I read hundred pages the first day and the eighty on the next, which meant that I had finished the book on the day that I decided to! This way, you also need to figure out what is most important for you, and if it falls back, then you can cut on what is not so important and cover up for the slow down, which may have occurred for any reason.
- Relax yourself! Remember, this is not a race. You don’t need to exhaust yourself in the process of following your routine. Making your routine flexible also means keeping time for just taking a break and relaxing yourself. Every Sunday, I did the same. I continued with reading and writing but I did not do anything else on Sundays. It was the day I chose for relaxation and it is important that you also must relax yourself and be at ease with yourself in this journey. Taking a break is important, but returning back to your improved routine with full energy is equally important. Also, to make this routine interesting and for shaping yourself into it, keep a reward for yourself at the end of the day, just like I did by keeping that one episode of the web-series for the evening, and this time can act as your relaxation time too!
Now, does it seem that making routines is tedious? And does it seem that it is very difficult to do things every day over and over again for years and years? I am sure it doesn’t! Making routines is interesting and it is profoundly necessary for creating the three-degree shift in your direction to lead your plane towards the destination you want it to reach. Follow these five steps and the way you structure and utilise your day will be done in the most efficient and aligned manner!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope that through this blog, I was able to ignite the bulb of curiosity in you! I am sincerely grateful for your constant support and I will love to read your thoughts in the comments below!