The Foundation: Routine & Habits
"The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits." - Steven Pressfield
We have already spoken about the importance of work/life balance and how you can’t pour from an empty cup (check it out here if you missed it). But how do you keep that going? How do you manage what you need to get done and what you want to get done? Routines, good habits, focus, and goals are what keep you moving in the right direction.
There are TONS of books about routines, time management, and getting what you put out to the universe. We’ve read a lot of them (hello personal and professional development), but the theme is pretty consistent - have a routine. A routine becomes a habit. If your routine has you taking positive steps forward, you will continue to grow and progress. If your routine, or lack thereof, isn't pushing you or allowing you to reflect on how you need to grow and move forward, then you won't grow or move forward. It’s pretty simple.
While our routines are different, we both have them. These routines don't guarantee that we are going to get everything on our “to do'' list completed, nor does a routine guarantee you success. But, it is going to guide what we are able to accomplish and if structured, give you the space to reflect on where you need to grow and adjust.
Frankie is an EARLY riser. She tackles her household tasks first thing in the morning, ones that many people close their days out with. She does the majority of her house work in the morning (dishes, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, etc.) while having her coffee at 5 am. At 7 am she begins getting ready for her professional work day. Her day starts promptly at 8:30 am - emails, meetings, reporting, research, etc. At 5:30/6 pm, when her work day is done, she spends time with those important to her (family and friends), with the final part of her day focused on her mindset. This is when she reads, listens to podcasts, journals, paints, etc. She uses the very end of her day as “wind down” time to reflect on what she has accomplished, what went well, and where she could improve tomorrow.
Tally’s routine is different. She wakes up between 7:30 - 8 am and the first thing she does is fix a cup of coffee and jump into her “mindset” time. This is when she reads, journals, takes time for yoga… Her morning is spend focusing on how she wants to go into the day, making space for all she needs to accomplish, and setting her intention for the day. She begins work at 9:30 - 10 am, mapping out the reporting, posting, emails, client meetings, etc. she is going to tackle. At 7/7:30 pm, she shuts down to spend time with those important to her (friends and family) ending her day straightening up the house, loading the dishwasher, laundry, etc.
While our routines are drastically different, we both have them and we know how important those routines are to each other. We understand things come up, and each day can’t be perfectly mapped out. But, our routines are the structure we have for ourselves, helping us manage what we want to get done while also allowing us the space and time to invest in ourselves.
The books we have read about success and professional development all talk about the importance of structure, positive thinking, setting goals, and working towards those goals every day. People are productive at different times of the day, they focus in different ways and likely attack projects differently. But knowing when and how you thrive will position you to create the routine that will be most successful for YOU. Of course, there are social norms that will contribute to how you should structure your routine (hello business hours), but we encourage you to spend time reflecting on how and when you focus effectively and adjust your routine to set yourself up for success (check out When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink to learn your own perfect timing). When you take the time to do this, not only will you be more productive, but those routines will become habits.
Once a routine becomes a habit, you no longer have to think about how you are going to start your day, or when you are going to work, or what you actually have to get done. It becomes second nature. Like an athlete, it takes practice; you have to have a routine to be successful and continue to grow.
"I can predict the long-term outcome of your success if you show me your daily habits."
- John Maxwell