How to Reset Your Routine & Stick to it
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with my lack of routine. I’ve been feeling adrift, unable to motivate myself as I usually can. I’ve noticed recently that I’m struggling to focus on tasks and I jump from one thing to the other constantly, with none of the tasks getting done very effectively and a lot of procrastinating in-between. I wind-up at the end of the day feeling rubbish about myself and unfulfilled.
Part of the reason I’m in this funk is because I’m soon leaving my job to take may side-hustle full time. As a result I’m feeling a little unsettled but the irony is, having a routine is something that will help me ease into my new working week and help me manage my anxiety during the transition. Clearly my current routine isn’t serving me, so it’s time for a routine reset.
If your routine isn’t serving you, it’s time for a reset
If you’re feeling a little adrift or in a strange state of flux with your daily routine as well, why not join me in resetting your routine too? We can do it together and cheer each other on. Throughout lent (6th March - 18th April) I’ll be resetting my routine, posting daily in my instagram stories to share how I’m getting on (and to give myself some accountability). I’d love it if you’d join me.
I’ve written before about where to start with creating a productivity-boosting routine. If, at the moment you have no routine to speak of, that will be the best place to start. But what about when you realise your routine isn’t serving you any more and you need to reset it?
Review your current routine
So, you’ve realised your current routine isn’t serving you. That’s great, you’ve got a jumping off point. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not in your current routine. List out a few things you want to change in your daily routine.
For me jumping out of bed and getting straight to work isn’t serving me because I get to mid-day and realise I’m hungry and still in my pyjamas. This is a bad habit that’s not serving me at all - so the new habit I want to embed is to eat breakfast and get dressed BEFORE starting any work. That’s going into my new routine.
Design your new routine
Once you’ve picked out what you want to change in your routine it’s time to design a new one. Write out a breakdown of your ideal day. When would you get up, what healthy habits would you fit into your routine, what new habits do you want to introduce and what have you done in the past that’s made you have a productive day?
I had all sorts of wonderful ideas about how I was going to start getting up at 7am on the dot every day (I know, for a lot of people, especially parents, that probably sounds like a lie in) and how I was going to not look at instagram until after lunch. My new routine was starting to look like a punishment, which is exactly not what I wanted. A routine reset needs to be a positive thing. I want to fit things into my routine that will not only make my days more productive but also more enjoyable and make me feel fulfilled.
Bear this in mind with your routine, if your routine’s focussed on making you feel good and framed in a positive way you’ll have more chance of sticking to it. So rather than having ‘get up everyday at 7am on the dot’ you could change that to get to bed by 10.30pm (so that you get enough sleep to naturally wake up by 7am, and who doesn’t love bed time!).
Edit your routine down
Change is hard and generally speaking us humans don’t like it. With this in mind now is a good time to edit down your routine reset. Strike off any actions that you know in your gut just aren’t realistic. Keep your routine reset to just the most impactful tasks, the habits that will help to boost your productivity and bring more joy to your day.
There you have it, a brand new routine to start embedding during your routine reset period. Here’s my reset routine incase it helps to inspire some ideas for your routine reset. You’ll notice there are no timings, it’s not a rigid hour by hour account of my day, just a few things I want to fit in that will help to set me up for a productive day and make me feel in a good place too.
Get dressed and eat breakfast BEFORE I start work
5 minutes of meditating
Go for a walk
Read for 30 minutes
(these longer lunch breaks will be more possible when I’ve left work but I can start to embed this now in shorter chunks). I like to break up the day as my most productive hours are in the morning so this seems a good way of separating the ‘brain work’ part of the day that requires lots of my mental energy, and the down hill part of the day in the afternoon.
Respond to emails – rather than jumping straight onto my inbox in the mornings, which can be a massive drain on my mental energy, I’d like to start responding to emails in the afternoon, saving my really productive hours for creative work and client calls.
Write To-Do list for the next day
Be in bed by 10.30
Tips for sticking to your routine
You’ve got a dreamy new routine sketched out and all of the intention, now you’ve got to embed the routine in your daily habits. It’s going to take some discipline but the great thing about habits is that once they’re embedded into our daily routines, they become second nature. A few pointers on sticking to your routine:
For the first few weeks write your routine out and stick it on a sticky note on the mirror, on the fridge, on your laptop, wherever you’ll see it. This will help to remind you of what’s in your new routine, while you’re embedding your new routine.
Set a reminder on your phone for when you want to do certain things from your routine - for example for my going to bed by 10.30pm routine I’ve set an alarm on my phone for 10.15pm. After a few days you’ll find your body clock starts to remember what time that reminder goes off on your phone.
Go easy on yourself. If you slip up (which is going to happen at some point) don’t beat yourself up just get back on track when you can.
Create accountability by telling friends about your plans to reset your routine, doing the routine reset with an accountability partner or joining in with my lent routine reset. Use your support network where ever you can to encourage you to embed your new routine.