How to Create a Daily Routine That Works For You
The Spruce / Ruthie Darling
Habits are powerful, but they’re not easy to form—particularly good habits. Creating a schedule for your daily tasks and activities that you’re able to stick to will help you to form good habits and break bad ones for a more productive, happier life.
Setting up a solid daily routine is a little bit art and a little bit of science. The science is figuring out what you need to get done, while the art is figuring out when to do it.
First, write down everything you need to get done daily, both in your home life and at work. Don’t worry about how you organize this list; this is a brain dump, not a to-do list. Take 30 minutes with a notebook to jot down everything you do each day, as well as everything you should get done.
If you feel like it’s too hard to remember all the tasks in one sitting, carry around a notebook and take notes throughout the day. In the beginning, no task is too small—if you want to work “brush teeth” into your routine, put it on the list.
Early birds get things done most effectively before lunchtime, while night owls tend to get their creative burst of energy in the evenings. Think about when you work best, and group your tasks into the time of day that makes the most sense for when you will best complete them.
Within these loose outlines of each part of your day, you can get as specific as you want. For example, you might want to write out a routine for your morning that looks something like this:
6 a.m.: Wake up, brush teeth, and shower
6:30 a.m.: Breakfast
7 a.m.: Leave the house
7:15 a.m.: Drop off the kids at school
7:30: Arrive at the office
That’s a very detailed schedule, but some people might feel more comfortable with that—at least until they get the hang of the routine.
Life gets in the way of even the most detailed of routines. The point is to harness your most productive times to use for your most challenging tasks, and your least productive times to do the more mundane tasks. There might be times when you have to go to a doctor’s appointment during the hours you usually set aside for work, or your evening is taken up by a social gathering—life gets in the way, but a daily routine will keep things flowing smoothly, despite hiccups.
Take your new routine for a test drive for 30 days. How does it feel? Did you schedule your tasks at activities at times that make sense? Do you need to adjust things? Tweak anything that is not working on a case-by-case basis, and then assess after 30 days to see how your new routine is working for you.