It’s time for some honesty… I have a confession to make. One that I am not particularly proud of. I am a procrastinator. I love to put things off until the last minute and then scramble to get them done just in the nick of time. There was absolutely no routine for me and forget about healthy daily habits!
This was something I could easily get away with this when I was younger, and even after I graduated high school. Honestly, my first years of college were defined by putting off the essentials until their due date and turning in assignments at 11:58.
I still got good grades and completed all of my work, so what was the big deal?
Healthy daily habits. That was the big deal. I was building these really horrible habits, and the funny part was that I thought I was better off. As college progressed, so did my responsibilities.
Suddenly I found myself with a full-time workload, full-time college classes, and the beginning of our van life journey all on top of each other. I was struggling, y’all. Lazy Tasha wasn’t cutting it anymore.
I knew that if I couldn’t get a hold of my routine now, I would completely fail when we moved into the van and started traveling. So, I started doing my research on how to create a routine and better yet, how to stick to it!
I am not perfect by any means, but I do stick to my routine (for the most part). I’m finishing schoolwork early, working on our van, and running our social media platforms! That’s a huge contrast to the overwhelmed and overworked Tasha of the past!
I know I’m not the only one out there who procrastinates! That’s why I created this guide to walk you through the necessary steps of organizing your life and boosting your productivity! I want you all to feel the satisfaction of healthy daily habits, so let’s dive in!
Document Your Typical Day
The first thing you want to do is document your typical day. This feels totally weird, but it’s a must-do if you want to create your routine. Go about your day the way you normally would. And yes, that includes the 3-hour Netflix binge of The Office.
It should look something like this:
7:30 – Wake up
7:35 – Check social media
7:45 – Brush Teeth/shower
8:00 – Get dressed
8:15 – Leave for work
8:30 – Get Starbucks
9:00 – Arrive at work/post coffee pic to Instagram
Etc, Etc, Etc.
Jot it down in a journal, an app, or even in the notes on your phone. Take this opportunity to learn how much time you’re wasting. You will cheat yourself in the long run if you try to be more productive than you usually would be. This is your chance to understand your habits!
Don’t be afraid to do this for two days or even a week. The longer you document the stronger your understanding will be. I actually thought this was fun after I got over the shame of 4 hours of Bates Motel on a Tuesday night!
Plus, the longer you do it, the easier it is to see your trends and triggers. For example: if you have an especially stressful workday, you may be more inclined to veg out on the couch the whole night instead of organizing your closet like you said you were going to do three weeks ago.
Eliminate Time Wasters
Now that you have a good idea of how you’re spending your time, you can get rid of the stuff that brings you down. This was the hard dose of reality that really smacked me in the face. I was wasting SO MUCH TIME on things that didn’t serve me.
I cut out over half of my TV time! A younger version of myself would have fallen over, but I also cut out over half of my meaningless scroll time. I’m looking at you facebook videos…
Go ahead and identify your time wasters. Time wasters are things that take up your time without any benefit to you. Things like social media, TV, aimlessly roaming through TJ Maxx for an hour, you get the idea.
After I eliminated all of my bad habits, I was left with a ton of time. Like hours and hours of time that I could use to build our van life community, get a head start on school, or clean my house. This is when I started to feel inspired.
I had so many opportunities to better myself and maybe even pick up a new hobby! I was pumped. You will (hopefully) be feeling the same way. That means it’s time to list out your priorities and your healthy daily habits
Maybe you want to spend more time in the gym, or maybe you want to start an Etsy shop to monetize your artwork! Make a list of those priorities from the most important to the least important. You will be using it for the next step!
Fill in the Gaps with Productivity
Take your newly created priorities and fill in the blanks of your schedule from step one. You will want to put the most important priorities in the biggest time slots! Don’t worry, this isn’t your final routine!
If you have slots leftover you can fill them with the most important priorities or self-care practices. It’s important to include self-care so that you won’t get burnt out on your new productivity!
Discover Your Natural Rhythm
Speaking of preventing burn out, it’s important to learn your natural rhythm. And I’m not just being hippy-dippy, here. Everyone has a natural rhythm that is characterized by fluctuation in energy.
For example, I have zero energy between the hours of 2:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. I am usually groggy after lunch and have no motivation to do anything. So I schedule my least demanding task for the afternoon.
In contrast, I have tons of energy from 8:30 AM to around 1:30 PM so I try to knock out my biggest tasks during those time slots. I have another lull around 5:00 in the evening, so I don’t force myself to write my entire term paper before dinner!
Everyone’s natural rhythm is different, and understanding yours is key to staying consistent in your routine! Not only that, but you’re giving yourself a break when you need it most. If you go against your natural rhythm you will find yourself HATING your new routine, and may even giving up on your healthy daily habits.
So, listen to your body and respond accordingly. Your new routine should be something that you look forward to. It should be something that enriches your life and keeps you motivated. Not the other way around!
Start Your Day Off Right
Having a good morning routine is a great way to kick off a productive day. I’ll admit, I struggle with this one a little more than I should. This may be difficult for you if you are a night owl like me, but I promise it’s totally worth it.
Morning is the perfect time to do things that you don’t have time for during the day. Yes, this requires you to wake up at least an hour earlier than you typically would, but the world is so quiet in the mornings!
You can fill this time with a nice slow cup of coffee or tea. You could practice gratitude, meditate, or (if you’re brave) exercise. Waking up early gives you the chance to start your day off with intention and peace. Plus, when you start productive, you end productive.
My ideal morning routine consists of having coffee, doing my skincare routine, and looking over my to-do list for the day. I complete any tasks that were leftover from the day before and have a healthy breakfast. Sometimes I include a quick meditation if I have time!
These simple little practices give me a solid foundation to a great day! Do I do this every morning? No. I have an unhealthy relationship with my snooze button, but I try to do this more often than not.
Give it a go and see if you love the benefits as much as I do!
Make Your Routine
Now that you have aligned your priorities and your natural rhythm, go ahead and schedule your day! Keep in mind that your schedule shouldn’t be so strict that you have no room for change. We would be able to stick to a perfect schedule in a perfect world, but that’s not the case.
Things will change, people will cancel, kids will get sick, and you will oversleep (at least once or twice…) so try to be adaptable with your schedule. Give yourself the freedom to utilize your routine in the most beneficial way for each day!
Being rigid will spoil all the fun and make you feel like a failure. Which you absolutely are not!
Look at you being so organized! You’re killing it already!
Revisit Your Routine
Now that you’ve created your amazing new routine and healthy daily habits, look over it a few times a day. Right after you wake up is the optimal time to review your routine and to-do list. You could also give it a peek around lunchtime to make sure you’re on track.
This may seem like overkill, but keeping your routine top of mind is a big part of sticking to it. At least until you have formed the habits necessary to stay productive. This will keep you on track and ready for the next task on the list!
I don’t recommend that you look over it before bed. Take that time to relax and unwind once your tasks are done for the day. If you’re anything like me, looking at my routine causes my mind to spin in a million different directions, and that’s the opposite of what you want when trying to relax.
Like most things, staying productive requires a healthy balance of discipline and self-awareness. The first few weeks might be a little rocky, but you’ll get the hang of it and wonder how you ever lived without this kind of structure!
Remember when I said keeping a productive routine requires a healthy balance of discipline and self-awareness? This includes knowing when to take a day off. Spontaneity is such a special experience, and I don’t want you to think that you have to say goodbye forever!
You will know when it’s time to take a day off, and when that time comes, welcome it! Go on that girl’s trip and leave your laptop behind! Lay in bed with your hubby binging your favorite show once a month. You can have a routine and do what makes you happy all in one!
Cutting yourself some slack will prevent burn out, and taking a break from your priorities will leave you fresh and motivated to start again!
Don’t Give Up
Speaking of taking a break, don’t be too hard on yourself if your one afternoon off turns into a week. These things happen, and the most important thing to do in this situation is to get back on the horse.
Your routine will be waiting for you. All you have to do is start. You’ve done it before, and I know that you can do it again! Perfection is not realistic. Everyone strays from their good habits every now and again. Trust me, I am the poster child for starting over.
Go ahead and give this routine thing a shot. It only takes three weeks before it becomes a habit! Then you’re stuck with all of this productivity for life!
I honestly can’t wait to see all of the things you accomplish with your routine! Ever since I chose to create a structure for myself, I have produced more high-quality work than ever before. And when I do rest, it’s so much more satisfying.
Let’s compare notes about your favorite routine practice. Let’s chat in the comments below!
Happy travels, Friends!