What I Learned From Just One Week of a Consistent Routine

There are several factors that have contributed to my absence on here. One of the most prominent reasons is my inability to take control of my day. I thought I had a “routine” set in place, but alas, I did not. Waking up between 6:45 and 8 and predictably drinking coffee does not qualify as a schedule of any kind.

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite podcasters, Julie Solomon, talked about her everyday routine and the effects it had on her business, work-life balance, and overall happiness on The Influencer Podcast (it’s the Influencer Insights episode 10). This was the final inspiration I needed! I’ve heard so much about how your body thrives when you wake up at the same time, the importance of not looking at your phone right away, and just — all the things on this subject. But it wasn’t until I put it into practice that I realized how true it all is!

Here’s what old me would do on any given weekday: Alarm goes off at 7 or 7:15, snooze 2–4 times, eventually get out of bed at 7:40 after scrolling through my phone (plugged in right by the bed), take the dog out to the dog park, come in around 8, make coffee, sit down with my laptop and start work.

Here is a rough outline of our new daily schedule, which I am proud to say we followed to a T this past week! (This example is a Tuesday/Thursday schedule, which includes working out. In the evening time slot, Monday has Trader Joe’s shopping, Wednesday has house church, and Friday has date night.)

7 a.m.: Holly Wake Up + Take Olive Out

7:20 a.m.: Brandon Wake Up

7:30 a.m.: Yoga

8 a.m.: Brandon Start Work // Holly Make Coffee + Have Personal Time*

9 a.m.: Holly Start Work

11 a.m.: Lunch + Olive

5 p.m.: Take Olive Out

5:30 p.m.: Work Out

At Some Point: Neighborhood Walk 

By 11 p.m.: Go to Bed

*Holly Personal Time = Doing exactly what you’re reading here! I hope to use this hour to write, post to Instagram, respond to comments, etc. By the time the evening rolls around, I am a bit less motivated to do any personal blog-related things after a day spent writing and looking at social media. So I figured an hour in the morning might be the best approach. And that’s all the time I need, really!

This also gives me a free hour to get started on real-life work if it’s a busier week. The flexibility of this hour gives me that freedom, too. I even did that on Thursday and Friday, and it helped me complete all my tasks for the week. But more on work schedule structure later!

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There are several factors about our new schedule that have helped tremendously. First, I don’t look at my phone until 8 a.m. I now plug it in on the dresser in our room, which is not next to the bed. And when the alarm goes off, I turn off the alarm and then keep the phone there while I’m at the dog park and while we do yoga. This has been a huge help! Like I said, I’ve heard many people stress the importance of this and now I understand why. Consuming people’s colorful lives first thing in the morning can be debilitating to your mental health. Instead, giving myself a slice of time without a screen in sight (especially since I look at a screen all day!) has been heavenly.

Secondly, I wake up exactly when the alarm goes off. Game. Changer. After just one week, my body automatically starts to wake up at exactly 7 a.m.! In fact, I have anticipated my alarm going off several times because I naturally start to wake up at 6:56ish. Craziness.

Also, doing yoga every day has helped us ease into the day. We started using the Gaia subscription several months ago, but we only practiced yoga a few days a week, and then would go several weeks without it. Shifting to a daily practice has forced us into a rhythm. When we used to say we’d do it Monday, Wednesday and Friday, not doing it on Tuesday got us out of the routine. We absolutely love Gaia. We pay just $9.95 per month for unlimited access to their 8,000+ videos. Our favorite instructor is Rodney Yee, so we tend to redo a handful of his beginner yoga routines.

Working from home means all of the above feels that much more important. I don’t have the normal commute that forces people into a routine of sorts. So I needed to create my own rules to abide by, and so far, it has helped tremendously!

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Speaking of work, my bosses came up with a new structure to our workflow a couple of weeks ago. That new work schedule + this personal routine = absolute bliss. The overwhelm I was feeling with both personal and work-related tasks is nearly gone!

If you don’t already know, I write blog content and handle social media for three real estate brokerages across the country. This means there are a lot of moving parts throughout the week, including scheduling social posts and writing blog content (and all of the steps that go into that process, both before and after a piece is written). In the olden days (...like three weeks ago), my days included a hodgepodge of all aspects of my job, which meant switching between 100 little to-dos all day long. That is a nightmare for a writer!

During our team retreat earlier this year, we discussed the importance of time blocking and avoiding distractions, which includes checking email constantly or even checking social notifications for clients. And Julie Solomon loves time blocking as well! As do so many productivity gurus out there on the Inter-webs.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, time blocking means delving into one specific subject for a long period of time and avoiding all distractions during that time. You essentially block off that chunk of time to complete a major task, usually starting with the more daunting tasks and working your way towards the smaller items.

We took that one step further by dedicating entire days to one subject. Monday includes a lot of things that would take too long to explain, but essentially getting ready for the week, then scheduling social posts for Tuesday–Thursday. Then Tuesday is devoted solely to writing content! Wednesday, we have client posts going live, then outreach for those posts, then social scheduling for Friday–Monday. Thursday is another all-day writing affair, and Friday we publish some more posts and upload all freshly written posts to WordPress. And on each day, we check email and social media at designated times throughout the day.

Like I said, before this schedule was in place, each day seemed to include an element from that list, starting with frantic social posting in the morning (because I ran out of time to schedule the day before), followed by some writing, then some social posts here and there. Sprinkle in constant email-checking and social media rabbit holes, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

While I feel I’ve made significant progress in taking control of both my work and personal schedule, I am not perfect by any means. Please let me know what tips, tricks and practices you’ve found to be successful. I love gleaning ideas from others who are learning to live more purposefully in this chaotic world we live in.

Comment below or shoot me an email with any suggestions. I would love to hear from you!