Creating a Routine That Works For You


I've lived in Reading for just over a year now and I've finally settled into a routine that I enjoy whilst playing to my strengths and accounting for my weaknesses. It can be restricting adhering to a routine too strictly, but having a rough daily routine in place can really help you stay focused, motivated and happy. It has certainly been useful in my own mental and physical wellbeing.

Getting a routine that's just right for you can be quite a tricky process and admittedly, it's just been a lot of trial and error for me. However, I have picked up a few tips on the way and thought I'd share some of them with you today.

What do you want to achieve? 

When creating a routine, it's essential to have your end goals in mind. For example, there's no point creating a daily routine that includes no writing time if you're trying to become a better writer. You need to make sure that the tasks you carry out day in, day out are ones that move you forward to where you want to be, otherwise you'll be at risk of stagnating or simply forgetting to schedule time to achieve whatever it is you want to.

For me, creating a solid day routine was all about stability. Since I moved down south in 2014, my life has been turbulent at best. Moving to Reading was a last ditch attempt to find somewhere to call home and start trying to rebuild my life. I therefore made sure my daily routine makes room for self care, cooking proper food, regular fresh air and exercise and enough sleep, rather than pretending I'm the type of person who enjoys and benefits from meditation and journalling at 5am every morning.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

If you've tried to set up a regular routine in the past and failed, why is that? It's likely because you've not taken into account your strengths and weaknesses.

For example, for ages, I was creating giant To Do Lists for myself every day to be completed after I'd already spent an entire day at work and unsurprisingly, these never got done. It's because I'm always knackered after work. I now know that I'm better off saving particularly large tasks until the weekend and either using my weekday evenings to just relax or get one or two small things ticked off the To Do List. I've also learnt that there's no point trying to do anything on a Friday evening because I'm just too tired after the working week. This is the night where I'll have a ready meal or takeaway and catch up on TV instead of trying to change the world!

Work out how your body and mind works and then schedule yourself around this.

Don't expect your "daily" routine to be the same every day 

While I was still figuring this routine thing out, I used an app called Wunderlist which reminded me I had to do the same things every single day. While it's true I do need to wash, eat and sleep every day, trying to cram in blogging, TV time, reading time, gaming time and exercise every single day is downright impossible.

Now, I use different days for different things. The swimming pool closest to me only has evening adult only sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, so I know that these are my swimming days. Thursdays are good for blog admin. As mentioned before, Friday is time for me to get some rest ready to have an enjoyable, productive weekend.

Having a rough routine that changes slightly depending on what day it is, is the best way to go.

Discover wasted pockets of time and start using them wisely

I love to read, but since I finished university, I've found myself struggling to fit it in. I'm always too tired before bed and my weekends get eaten up by socialising, blogging, TV and video games. However, I soon noticed that I was sat on the bus for at least one hour a day twiddling my thumbs, and this would be a great time to start reading.

We all have little pockets of time we can rescue and start using for our own enjoyment or productivity. Where are yours? Perhaps you have a long commute, a decent lunch break or you get lost in the abyss that is social media when you get home from work?

Be realistic

There are only 24 hours in a day. If you're at all sensible, you will spend at least eight of these hours asleep. I assume most of my blog readers work, which is another eight hours out of your day, not taking into account commuting! For the vast majority of people, there is simply not enough time in a day to do everything we'd like to do every day. The sooner you learn to accept this and factor it into your plans, the more successful you will be.

Be prepared to chop and change

My daily routine actually changes pretty regularly. I recently upped the number of days I go swimming a week and changed the way I plan my meals. This is because my needs changed and I realised I could be more efficient. What was once the perfect routine for you can change a month later. Be prepared for this and adapt your schedule as needed.

Write it down

I've got a little note to remind myself of what I'd like most days to look like. It helps keep me on track and increases the feeling of stability my life currently has.

Do you have a routine you're happy with or is this something you need to work on?