Creating Habits for Your Ideal Day

Creating Habits for Your Ideal Day - Productivity - Little Black Desk Society

Creating Habits for Your Ideal Day

How do I stay on top of it all? By creating habits. Positive habits and routines help me be more productive, accomplish my goals, and live my ideal life. Routines with positive habits provide the structure that allows me to make the most of my time daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

MY MORNING ROUTINE

What does my morning routine include? It is very simple.

  1. Step on the scale and then make my bed
  2. Drink a full glass (16 oz) of water and take vitamins.
  3. Stretch while coffee is brewing.
  4. Read devotional while drinking coffee
  5. Log into work.

The routine is effective and allows me to start my day well because of the positive habits I created.

HOW TO CREATE NEW HABITS

How are habits created? Habits are a tiny cycle made up of a trigger, action, and reward. The trigger prompts you to take action and because of the action you receive a reward. Your day is comprised of many habits or tiny cycles.

Example

  • TRIGGER: You visit a new coffee shop and want to share it with your friends.
  • ACTION: You take a picture and post it on Instagram.
  • REWARD: A friend ❤️  hearts your photo and leaves a comment.

Because you feel like you contributed something helpful to your network the next time you visit a new coffee shop you are like to share a picture again.

This is how a habit starts, but a habit takes time to form and be ingrained as part of your routine. They say it takes 66 days to form a new habit. This means repeatedly doing the same action ideally under similar circumstances so you no longer have to think about it.

BENEFIT OF USING EXISTING HABITS

New Habit: Increase Water Intake

Recently I wanted to increase my intake of water. Previously, I had tried flavored water and buying a water bottle with ounce markings on the side. Both helped but didn’t get me the results I wanted. I realized I needed to create a habit of drinking water that was linked to an existing habit. This existing habit would be my trigger.

To increase my water intake I decided to drink a full glass (16 oz) of water before and after each cup of coffee (existing habit). I already drink a cup of coffee in the morning and in the afternoon thus a natural trigger. The action is drinking the water. The reward is better thinking, clearer skin, and better health. Because of this existing habit, I am successful at increasing my water intake through a small incremental change.

  • TRIGGER: Brew coffee
  • ACTION: Drink 16 oz water
  • REWARD: Feel better
  • TRIGGER: Put the coffee cup in the sink
  • ACTION: Drink 16 oz water
  • REWARD: Feel better

New Habit: Workout Daily

I have a similar habit for working out daily. Working out is scheduled into my calendar for the same time every day. I give myself a head start by hanging up my workout clothes (existing habit) in the bathroom. This makes it is easy to get dressed and go. I also have a gym in my building. It was a condition when looking for a place to live in Chicago. These two things (clothes ready and gym in the building) reduce excuses. Reducing excuses is important in setting yourself up for success.

  • TRIGGER: Daily phone alarm
  • ACTION: Go to the gym
  • REWARD: Mental clarity and extra energy

Part of my own workout routine was inspired by Lara Casey’s post from 2013.

“I sleep in my workout clothes. I make sure my workout playlist is ready and I literally point my gym shoes toward the door in the hallway at night”

Lara Casey

As you read in my morning routine above, I weigh myself daily. Tracking both my weight and workouts daily using a habit tracker (MyFitnessPal) is key for keeping me accountable to myself.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”


Peter Drucker

MY PROFESSIONAL ROUTINES

I create structure and consistency by scheduling time blocks for specific projects into my weekly calendar.

  • On Tuesdays, I schedule (2) hours in the morning for Masterminds projects
  • On Thursdays, I schedule (2) hours in the morning for Academy projects.

These time blocks are color-coded in my calendar for easy viewing. Because they are appointments I then receive notification reminders both on my desktop and phone. These reminders let me know to finish what I’m working on so I can move on to the next project.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Jim Rohn
Creating Habits for Your Ideal Day - Calendar Example - Block Scheduling - Entrepreneur

The flip side to scheduling in blocks of time for projects is leaving buffer room in your schedule. As much as you can plan ahead you can’t control the unknown. Creating buffer room in your schedule allows you to adjust your day accordingly and still arrive on time and prepared for appointments and projects.

MY PROFESSIONAL HABITS

Additional habits I have that help me in business include the following.

  • TRIGGER: Personal reading
  • ACTION: Create and send weekly Best of Business email
  • REWARD: Helping other entrepreneurs and open/click rates
  • TRIGGER: Last day of month notification
  • ACTION: Completing business reports
  • REWARD: Seeing growth and progress
  • TRIGGER: Sunday night alarm for Fresh Start
  • ACTION: Write out projects to focus on for the week and top 3 priorities for each day
  • REWARD: Agenda for the week which allows focus and productivity (reward)

As my goals change and I learn better ways to do something I create new habits. I incorporate the new habits into my routine by replacing an old habit and/or attaching it to an existing habit.


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