Author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell says the secret of your success is found in your daily routine. What you prioritize and what you do consistently, day after day, will determine not only how productive you are and whether you reach your goals, but also your overall satisfaction.
Honing my daily routine is something that I’m constantly working on, and I love hearing from other women about how they structure their days. I like learning about what’s working well for other women and how they balance it all…kids, partner, work, home upkeep, self-care and their own well-being. One of the most important things we’re here to do as humans is to teach, inspire and motivate each other.
I’m always thinking about ways to organize my day so that I can get to everything that’s important to me. Having a plan to refer back to and time boundaries set in place helps me to stay on track with it all, as opposed to just trying to wing my day.
I’ve recently revamped my ideal daily routine and I thought it might be helpful to share with you here on the blog. This is typed out in the notes app on my phone and also posted in my office, and I refer to it often throughout the day to make sure I’m somewhat on task and on track with being my most productive and also fulfilled. If I need to stray from it some days that’s okay, but this is the template I try to come back to.
I’m also including a few tips on how to structure your own ideal day. Keep in mind that I work from home and my schedule is quite flexible, so take what you’d like but know that your day more than likely won’t look exactly like mine, or any other woman’s for that matter. Use this as inspiration to get started in making your own.
My ideal day typically looks like this:
- 5:15am – wake up, drink warm lemon water, make coffee
- 5:45am – meditate + journal my thoughts/feelings
- 6:15am – wake kids + do mom stuff, eat breakfast, drop kids at school
- 8:15am – back home and walk the dog
- 8:30am – clean up breakfast dishes, start a load of laundry
- 8:45am – shower + get dressed
- 9:15am – start my work day + work on my highest priority work (content creation)
- 12:15pm – lunch break away from my desk
- 12:45pm – back to work
- 2:15pm – leave to pick up kids
- 3:30pm – make myself an afternoon latte and return emails/messages, confirm appointments for the next day, test recipes, etc
- 5:00pm – wrap up all work
- 5:30pm – start dinner
- 6:00/6:30pm – eat dinner as a family
- 7:00pm – unplug to spend time with my family (I leave my phone in my bedroom so I’m not tempted to pick it up and mindlessly look at it), I also do some kind of self-care at this time (hot bath, face mask, etc) and fold a load of laundry while we watch a show or chat
- 8:45pm – girls’ bedtime, hang with Brandon or read
- 9:30pm ish – bedtime
*As far as my workouts go, the time frame differs from day to day. On Monday I typically do a 30-40 minute home yoga practice sometime during the day. On Tuesday and Thursday I meet a friend at the gym around lunchtime for a 30-minute weights session. On Wednesday I take a 5:15am cycling class at my favorite indoor cycling studio. Friday is a wild card that might be a 5:30pm hot vinyasa class, a morning hike with a friend or even an infrared sauna session.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW TO PLAN OUT YOUR OWN IDEAL DAY:
WRITE DOWN WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU
What are the top things you want to get to every day? Mine are the girls and Brandon, work, movement, healthy meals and some self-care. Write down the things that are non-negotiable for you. I also work times into my day to reset and take breaks, to walk the dog and to do a few daily household chores, since I work from home. Yours might not look just like mine and that’s okay, but you need to be clear on what your priorities are.
IDENTIFY YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE TIME OF DAY
I know that my energy levels are naturally the highest in the morning, so that’s going to be the most productive time of day for me and that’s when I do the majority of my creative work like writing. When I’m interrupted during a writing session, I tend to lose my creative flow, so I try not to schedule anything else during the time I reserve for wriring. Ask yourself when you’re most focused, motivated and energized, and block off that time to do your most high priority work. Then take care of your routine, less complex tasks during the time of day you have lower energy or less motivation. For me that’s around 3:30pm, so that’s when I return emails and confirm appointments.
SET BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR TIME
This includes disconnecting from social media and work at a certain time each day. Also, learn to say “no” to the things that aren’t a “hell yes” for you. If you’re prioritizing everyone elses’s to-do lists, you’ll be pressed for time to get your own items attended to. I’m getting better about not taking on so much and saying no to the things that aren’t a firm yes for me, and it’s really freed up space in my day. I’ve also started to limit the amount of coffee dates I set up with friends each week. As much as I enjoy them, they zap a huge part of my morning which is my most productive time of day. Now I limit them to only one a week.
WORK IN LITTLE BREAKS THAT YOU CAN LOOK FORWARD TO
For me, taking little breaks throughout the day actually increases my productivity and my creativity, and they give me something to look forward to and work towards. So I schedule them into my day. My little daily breaks include my morning walk with my dog, a lunch break away from my desk so I can step away from work for a bit and my 3:30pm homemade latte break. It’s also important to prioritize and schedule in time for yourself and for rest. Schedule that time for self-care at night when you’ve put your phone away, and set yourself up for success the night before by going to bed at your scheduled time each night. A productive day actually starts the night before with a good 7.5 – 8 hour rest.
ACKNOWLEDGE AND CELEBRATE YOUR PRODUCTIVE WINS AT THE END OF EACH DAY
Be sure to acknowledge all the hard work you do in a day’s time. In a world that seems to encourage us to get down on ourselves and be self-criticizing, it’s important to celebrate a job well done, no matter how small the job is. Started that load of laundry in the morning and folded it as you watched a show with your kids? Well done. Sent out that email to your list and wrote a new blog post? Well done. Went to the gym to meet your friend for a 30-minute training session? Well done! To foster greater self-love and self-acceptance, it’s important to regularly encourage and speak greatness into yourself.
BE GENTLE AND FORGIVING WITH YOURSELF IF THINGS GO OFF TRACK
Life ebbs and flows and you will get off track at times. No one is perfect and it’s time to let the idea of perfection go for good. Honor where you are each day and make necessary adjustments as you see the need to. When we can continue to love, honor and accept ourselves even when life doesn’t go as planned, we are on the right path.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and find out more about your own daily routine. Feel free to share in the comments below or reach out to me on social media.
Love, Elizabeth x