The summer is ending, schools are beginning, and the cold weather is making its annual return. With the change in seasons, it’s time to get back into a more structured routine.
Many times, routines may seem boring and rigid. Especially if you have kids. Children are not fans of set bedtimes, wake up time, study time, etc. Anything that hinders their ability to decide for themselves is viewed with a negative connotation and, at least for my kids, causes them to see how far they can push the envelope. Little do they know having structure in their life will allow them to have more active free time.
The same can be true for adults as we often fight the idea of setting (and sticking with) a well-thought out routine. Too often we think that if we have a strict routine, we will miss out on something. The major issue with this is that the things that we believe we will miss out on are unknown. We don’t know if something will or could happen, but in case there is something that happens we can’t go to bed or we will be the only one who wasn’t there. In reality, we won’t miss out on anything because if something was happening we would know exactly what it is.
Have you experienced a day with nothing planned. You may find yourself at the end of it going to bed dissatisfied because you didn’t accomplish anything? It’s like scrolling through a video streaming platform trying to find something to watch only to spend an hour and a half searching. This is why having a plan is important – beyond trying to pick out a show.
When we allow ourselves to accept we might miss out, we will be freed to live in a structured environment and thrive because everything is planned. Filling out your calendar for the day will help keep you on track and remember what it was you had to do today.
Six ways to build structure:
1 // Make a plan the night before
When we make a commitment with someone else it can be a motivation to get out of bed in the morning. This could be finding a workout partner, setting up a coffee meeting, or meeting with your co-workers. Whatever you choose, this will hold you accountable.
2 // Use a calendar
Calendars are a great resource to help make the most out of your day. Putting things on your calendar is also a great way to check boxes off and be confident in your ability to accomplish what you say you will do.
3 // Chunking and Hard spots
When planning your tasks, consider how you want your day laid out. Chunking and hard spots are a great ways to create a plan and stick with it. Hard spots are the things in your day that cannot be moved. For example, picking up the kids at 3 or working out at 7. List the hard spots on your calendar first and then chunk around them to get other important tasks done.
4 // Start small
Making a habit change can be extremely difficult. If you try to change too much all at once, it will seem very overwhelming and could stop you from accomplishing any type of structure. Pick one thing to start and once you master that, add something new. I.e. Waking up 15 minutes earlier than you typically do.
5 // Plan your meals
One of the easiest things to forget about is meal planning. Planning healthy meals increases our immune system, lowers stress, and so many other health benefits. Plus, having dinner with your family is a great way to stay connected and hear stories about everyone’s day.
6 // Personalize your structure
Oftentimes, we try to follow someone else’s structure or someone might tell us that our structure is wrong. But if you don’t personalize your own structure that works for you then odds are you won’t follow it and fall back into old patterns.
Putting some structure into your days will help increase your productivity and allow you to have more freedom to do the things you actually want to do. Don’t let another day go by where you are trying to think of something to do and end up just wandering around your house or job looking for random things that need attention. Attack each day with a plan and live your best life.