A consistent routine is a crucial pillar in entrepreneurial success. We are creatures of habit; therefore, our quality of life is directly linked to our habits.
If you can make a habit of following a consistent and well thought out daily routine, the quality of your life and business improves.
How can having a routine influence your success as an entrepreneur?
Routines are an important part of life. From young kids to adults, we all follow some form of routine. Now, following just any routine will not lead you to success. The same can be said if you follow someone else’s routine.
You need to establish a routine that works for you. Sure, following Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Warren Buffet’s daily routine can get you some results, but you need to dig through their routines to see which pieces will work for you and your life.
When doing this, you will notice each of their routines are different, but there are clearly some similarities between them. For example, both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are very big on reading, the latter reading over 500 pages per day. But for the most part, their routines are tailored to their needs and individual experiences.
Before we get into how to develop a routine that best fits your lifestyle and goals, it’s important to know the benefits of consistently following a routine.
A routine provides structure, increases efficiency and productivity
The more we follow a routine, the more standardized we become with our activities, although this can lead to auto-pilot mode in which we just go through the motions without thinking.
However, if you can consciously pull yourself out and away from that mode, you will notice your efficiency will improve.
With structure, you will always know what is next, helping you avoid procrastination. The less wasted time, the more productive you will be and you can stay focused on the task at hand.
Having structure, efficiency and being productive are good habits to have. This leads us to our next point.
A routine helps build good habits and break bad ones
Bad habits—everyone has them. Some of us acknowledge them; other people believe they are flawless.
A bad habit could be over-committing, a very common bad habit many starting entrepreneurs have. We aren’t as good at multitasking as we like to think, and doing too much can lead to fatigue, taking away from your business.
Over-commitment can force you into working longer days, lead to sleepless nights and increase your stress levels.
A way to overcome that specific habit is to implement a daily routine; that way, when a new opportunity arises, you can see clearly if you are over-committing, allowing you to take a step back before giving an answer.
A routine builds momentum
Once you have structure and have formed good habits, you will notice certain tasks will become easier and will flow much more smoothly.
This is the power of momentum; once you are on a roll, you will continue to roll (up until a roadblock, which is a post for another day).
Make the most of this, stick to your routine and you will find you complete more and more each day.
With momentum, you negate the need for willpower and motivation.
Both are limited sources of energy and having to rely on willpower and motivation is a recipe for failure. They both will run out at some point.
Save up your motivation and willpower for when you really need it. Allow the power of a consistent routine’s momentum to help you reach entrepreneurial milestones.
So…how do we set up a routine?
There are many ways to set up a routine. This is the way I currently use, but everyone has different days/jobs/problems. So it’s best to modify it to suit your needs.
First, you need to establish when you are most productive.
This is simple enough for most and can generally be answered by asking yourself the following question: “When do you complete your best work?”
Notice I said “best work” not “most work.”
Don’t get “more” confused with “better”: I can complete more work at night because I have more time, but the best work I complete is generally in the mid-morning to early afternoon.
Now that you know when you are most productive, grab a piece of paper, a notebook or even just on a document on your computer.
Schedule that time to be allocated toward your most important tasks.
Everyone is different, so for me it’s 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, but it might be different for you.
Now we can start to fill in the gaps.
And we will start at the beginning.
Developing a morning routine
Everyone already has a morning routine.
We all wake up, shower, brush our teeth—but what else can we include to make our mornings more productive?
Serial entrepreneur Matthew Toren includes 5 minutes of focus into his morning routine.
“I set an alarm on my phone and for five minutes try to deliberately walk myself through the actions and needs of the day.”
This will help you set up mental goals for the day and improve your overall productivity.
Developing a productive window routine
Earlier, we established our “best work” time window.
I know I have a four-hour window to work solely on the important tasks. Now, how should I order the time so that I get those things done?
Be honest with yourself and really ensure you complete the important tasks during this time. Avoid spending it emailing back and forth as though it may feel like you are accomplishing something. You really aren’t.
Developing an evening routine
For most, an evening routine includes dinner, gym and spending time with your loved ones. For others, it may include working on your side business.
Find something you can enjoy and stick to it consistently and be sure to include time away from work to clear your mind.
Developing a night time routine
The benefits of a night time routine are endless, and I’m sure you’ve already heard about them.
Switching off electronics, reading and meditating are all part of a good routine—and are all pieces that will improve your sleep.
Improved sleep leads to waking up feeling better and more creative, leading to a more productive day.
Every entrepreneur can improve themselves and their businesses by sticking to a consistent routine. Setting up the routine is easy; following it is where it can become difficult.
Those who do the work of setting up routines will experience many benefits and achieve their goals and objectives, leading to a more fulfilling life.