Daily routines can make a huge different to how happy, healthy and productive we are. But what makes them even more effective is if they're personalised. I've recently tried adjusting my routine in the hopes of getting more important work done and wasting less time.
While it's important to take inspiration from other people to see how their routines work, you also need to pay attention to you. You need to understand how your own brain works and what will suit your body best.
So in the hopes of increasing my own productivity, I now hope this gives you the ability to help increase yours too. Here are some of the things that can help you create a personal routine to stay creative and productive.
Know what you want from your personal routine
Building a routine that works for you is one of the best ways to make sure you're as productive as possible. I know this is difficult for those of you (like me) who work full-time. But you've got to play to your strengths.
Set hours for working on your blog when you know you're going to be the most productive. If that's as soon as you get in from work, that's great. For me, I love exercising in between so I start working on my blog after we've had dinner. Or maybe you're a morning person and prefer to get up really early.
It's about wanting to do the work at the right time. If you force yourself to do it, it'll make you accomplish even less.
You can also have an order of tasks too. There'll be some points during your routine where you're more energetic and productive - utilise this time to get your most important tasks done. Usually for me, writing a blog post is at the top of that list, because that takes the most energy and creativity; whereas reading blog posts would be something I'd put further down my list.
Be realistic about what you can achieve
Once you get to know yourself as a worker, you'll begin to learn how much you can realistically except of yourself. We all want to get a lot ticked off our lists in a day, but sometimes it just won't happen. What's better - putting together a huge list of tasks and feeling disappointed about not completing them all? Or prioritising two or three tasks and feeling great at the end of them?
You know how much you can accomplish in a certain amount of time. Focus on the tasks that you 'need' to get done (instead of 'want') and you'll find that over time, you'll accomplish a lot more.
There's so much we have to do as bloggers and that can become even more overwhelming alongside a full-time job. The best thing you can do is to dedicate your most productive hours to doing creative work that means the most to you. Just because you've got two important emails to reply to, doesn't mean a task of going through your entire inbox. You've got to be careful you don't fall into any traps, which is where priorities come in.
Ideally, I get my blog posts written up during the week so I've got my weekend to deal with emails and any other admin.
Create your own systems
Taking inspiration from someone else's methods is completely fine. But copying their whole process when it isn't a good fit for you won't be the magic formula to increasing your productivity. I mean, there's no point in using the bullet journal method when you've tried it and it doesn't suit you.
Instead, find a system that works for you and make it unique. Now, I don't mean carry on using sticky notes pinned all over your office. You want it to be a smart system. If you prefer writing things down, then stick to paper. Or if you like keeping everything in one place online, then check out some digital tools.
For me, I have a number of methods I use to make up my productivity process. Here's a little lowdown:
- Google docs - this is where I create my blog editorial calendar for the month
- Google drive - the place I use to store all my blog photos and documents (organised monthly of course)
- An annual diary - for life appointments, birthday and any reminders I need to set myself. Basically, what's happening on a day-to-day basis.
- Bullet journal - a more in depth way of knowing everything that's going on with all my lists in one place
- Notebooks - used day-to-day for different purposes.
Keep an editorial calendar
For your blog, your Twitter, your Instagram - planning in advance is key. I plan content for ABOH up to a month in advance on my editorial calendar and I aim to get posts scheduled up to a week before they're due to go live.
Planning in advance can be even more important when it comes to marketing. For the launch of the Blogging Breakthrough eBook, I didn't just want to put it out there to everyone without my community not knowing what it is.
So I created a launch plan that lasted around two weeks. This included teasers, insights into my process and even for my audience involved. It definitely made the launch more successful.
Keeping editorial calendars really does help to take away the pressure and give you much more time on a daily basis. You'll also find that you'll be a lot more consistent with your work too.
Take a break
Being creative 24/7 is a challenge. Sometimes, it's just as important to take a break as it is to do the actual creating. Like anything, you've got to renew your energy. Working long hours and trying to cram too much into one chunk of time is an unproductive way to work and can be really destructive to our creativity.
Taking all of these into account for your routine means you'll be able to create one that's personal to you. Deciding how many hours you want to work, taking regular breaks and doing work you believe in are all ways to renew and grow your creative energy. This will mean you're happier, healthier and even more productive. I know I am.
Let's chat in the comments - what's involved in your personal routine? Will you be taking inspiration from some of the points in this list?