The Discipline Behind a Routine
Discipline. Routine. The opposite of what we associate with an entrepreneurial venture.
When we don't have to answer to anyone, it is commonly assumed that life is filled with spontaneity. In reality, my business has taught me the importance of discipline and routine, especially for attaining personal happiness and productivity in the long term.
Why? Too much flexibility creates a chaotic environment that leads to procrastination and anxiety. Structure, on the other hand, creates efficiency, which is an important aspect of entrepreneurship that is often disregarded. To develop and stay in routine, effort and mindfulness are required.
We are all individuals, with our own unique needs, but I am sharing below three of my most important routines, because they give my life a sense of harmony, and I hope they may be of use to you, too.
Turn On Do Not Disturb
My phone and Mac are usually on DND for, on average, 85% of my day. Thank you apple for this best function. While most of my work is social, I choose when I am available to people. This allows me to stay focused on tasks at hand without getting side-tracked by distractions. I apply this routine to my personal life, as well. When I'm in the company of others, I avoid checking my phone, which keeps me mindful and concentrated on the present moment. This is the best routine I’ve established, as well as the one that has taken the most discipline and will power. Take charge of your technology before it takes charge of you.
Mindful Task Completion
Our brain is incapable of paying attention to two things at the same time. What looks like multitasking is really only switching back and forth between a number of tasks, which reduces productivity by 50%. This is why, over the years, I have learned and continue to work on a single task at a time. It takes practice. Every morning before sitting down to work, I go over my priority list and schedule time blocks for each of my main tasks. Only between those do I check my phone or divert my attention. If I need to leave my phone in another other room, so be it.
*Another tip that has helped me here is hiding my messages on my Mac, as well as email notifications and counts.
I’ve mentioned this a number of times before, but my night routine is sacred. It is my time for self love. Usually, I'll enjoy a bubble bath, or a long shower, and then spend time caring for my skin. All the while, I'll sip on chamomile tea and listen to soothing music. As sleep has always been a challenge for me, I've made this time to unwind and be alone with my mind and body a priority. I am slowly introducing meditation before sleep to reflect on the day and then release it, too.
While these three routines seem simple, they have taken years to become habit. Though at times it feels tempting to skip them, I've learned it is these very times that we need such routines the most. As I said earlier, in my experience, structure keeps chaos and anxiety at bay. The more we ritualize our life, the more energy we have to channel into what is truly important. For me, this is creativity, mindfulness (staying in the present), and focusing on positive outcomes despite external stresses.