Do you take the day as it comes or do you build routines and habits into your schedule? When I try to just "wing it" I inevitably find myself at the end of the day having forgotten to schedule that appointment, run that errand or work on that goal that I meant to start last week. I have found that building in a few consistent habits helps me live my best life. Here are 7 of my favorites.
1. Set a morning alarm. This might seem kind of obvious, but even if you have flexibility with your start time, it's a good idea to make this a consistent practice. I do give myself a day off now and then, but for nearly all working days, I get up at the same time. Keeping this at the same time has a number of benefits including staying energized throughout the day.
2. Have a morning routine. Once that alarm goes off I don't want to waste my precious time getting distracted by things that don't really matter. If I have a script to follow with alarms set throughout the morning, it will keep my on track and help me ensure I have time for all the things that matter. I like having the quiet hours in the morning to myself. When I have a plan for how I use that time I can focus deeply on what I want to accomplish.
3. Schedule time to plan your month, week, day. If you have a family or significant other this is a great way to make sure you are communicating expectations for commitments in your life. Doing this proactively keeps you from dropping the ball on something important. It also eliminates the stress of having to scramble last minute to drive and pick-up kids from school or practice.
4. Just like planning your time and your money, you want to plan what you are going to eat and when. Every day is different and some days I just don't have time to cook. By planning my meals the night before, it keeps me from spontaneous snacking and eating unhealthy food that drains my energy. I like to use an app on my phone to capture the calories, macro-nutrients and the time of day I plan to eat.
5. Schedule your exercise. Whether it is a morning run, trip to the gym, evening walk or yoga, you will want to make sure you have a consistent plan to exercise. If you are going to just try and squeeze it in somewhere, it's going to be tough to remember to make time. Little stuff has a way of filling in our time. Make this a priority to stay healthy and maintain good energy throughout the day.
6. Set an alarm to go to bed. Yes, that's right. I know you are already awake, but even more reason. It is too easy to get distracted by things and think you are going to do "just one more thing" and then go to bed. A good morning tomorrow, starts tonight with a consistent bedtime.
7. Nighttime routine. This gives me time to wind down, relax, make sure everything is completed for the day and I am ready for the next day. It keeps me from waking up in the night in a panic because I forgot about something I have to do the next day. I review what I have accomplished in the current day to celebrate successes and identify anything specific I want to step up tomorrow. This time for reflection helps center me so I can fall asleep quickly and be ready to wake up with energy in the morning.
The possibilities for habits are endless, but these are some that I swear by to keep me on track and feeling balanced. By staying disciplined with a few routines mixed with open downtime, I feel calm and relaxed so I can focus on what matters most to me and live my best life!