Successful people have laser focus on what is most important to them and their success. Such intense focus is challenging. How do they do it? What do they have in common?
One common aspect of their success is that they follow routines. A daily routine frees up your mind from having to figure out what happens next, leaving you to focus on the task at hand.
What should you include your routine?
Your routine should include anything important to you and your success.
If being home for dinner is part of having a successful family, then be home for dinner every night and schedule it for the entire family.
If you are a writer, then schedule writing time. If you own a business that develops products, schedule product development time. Steve Jobs spent his afternoons in his design lab, and we know where that lead.
What you do is far less important than the fact that you follow a routine, which frees your mind to focus on success. Important stuff happens when you make room for it.
What are the common elements of a successful routine?
It can help to look at the elements of routine successful people have in common. According to a Harvard Business Review article, there are some of the aspects, which have helped the most successful people of the past.
Create a workspace that allows for minimal distractions. Lock your office door. Set up ‘do not disturb’ hours. Turn off your phone. Close your email program. Steve Jobs developed an impenetrable design lab where he spend his most productive hours. How can you create your version?
No doubt, you have heard this before, but daily exercise is essential to success. You can go to the gym, play a game of pick up before lunch, or go for a daily walk. How you exercise matters little so choose what you love to do as long as it is exercise. Regular daily exercise is vital to brain function. Our brain, like our muscles need both exercise and rest. In addition to all the other benefits, regular exercise has often been a source of inspiration.
How do you measure your success? If you are a writer, you can track the number of words you write. If you are in sales, track the number of sales calls, deals closed, etc. No matter what you do, track your progress. Do not confuse tracking success with tracking progress. If you do not write the number of words you hope to write, then you still log how many words you wrote. That is progress. As you practice writing and eliminate blocks, you will become more successful. Measuring progress helps you learn and create success.
Productive vs. Busy
When you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and reacting to every ding on your phone, you are busy. When you shut down your social media and turn off your phone, you are much more likely to be productive. Understand what productive looks like for you. Are you productive when you create a new webinar for your clients? Are you productive when you break down a project into doable tasks? Think about what is productive for you vs. busy. Then, be ruthlessly productive.
Quit while you are Ahead
This might seem like an odd piece of advice, but it has proven success. In gymnastics during a practice, an athlete never leaves after a bad tumbling run. If her last run is not a success, she does one more, even if it is another tumbling run she is so good at, she cannot fail. A gymnast always walks out of the gym on a high note. Hemingway put it this way, “You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again.” Walk away from your work when it is going well before you run out of steam and land up feeling negative about it.
If your partner supports you and actively works for your success, then count yourself most blessed. If you are single or in need of support elsewhere, then find a partner or a community of people as dedicated to your success as you are. Having someone who takes on other tasks to free up your time and energy, helps you create a space that allows you to excel and who listens to your ideas goes a long way toward giving you the support you need to succeed.
Limit Social Time
Who doesn’t love a good party? Most successful people, unless pomp and ceremony are part of their success, do not spend their evening and weekends out. Rather, they tend to spend their evenings and weekends in with those closest to them.
Take stock of your routines this month. Which of the above elements are already part of your routine? Where can you improve to make room for more success in your life?
Download the routine worksheet to help build routines into your life.