Recently a member of a Facebook group for Virtual Assistants (I’m the Time Management expert for the group) asked this question:

“Do you find that it’s best to have a set schedule for every day of the week, or do your days differ because that is life?”

My answer was . . . drum roll please . . . it depends! 😊

Here’s what I know – everyone needs SOME structure to be successful, but not the same amount. What feels good for me could be restricting to you and at the same time loosy-goosy to someone else.

You have to find the amount of structure that works for you.

Maybe each day has a theme – Marketing Monday, Thinking Tuesday, etc.
Or, you block your day into multiple segments – one for project work, one for working with clients, one for training employees, one for maintenance.
Or, you structure every 30 minutes for a different task.
Minimally, everyone will benefit from a morning and an evening routine. This way no matter how chaotic the day gets, you have control over how you start it and how you end it, which continues to set you up for success.

So, what goes into a morning or evening routine?

Here are some ideas that Leo Babauta shares in his book, The Power of Less.

A few guidelines…

  • Start with a couple of tasks first.
  • Implement the routine for a few days.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness. (Are you actually following the routine you created?)
  • Adapt and adjust the routine if needed.
  • Repeat.

Once your routine is pretty solid, you can continue to add additional pieces to it IF YOU HAVE THE NEED! Just be careful – if the routine gets too long, you won’t continue to implement.

Here are Babauta’s examples of tasks that could go into a morning routine (remember, start with 4 – 6 tasks!).

  • Drink tea
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Exercise
  • Shower / bath
  • Read
  • Identify 3 most important tasks for the day
  • Gratitude session
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Walk / enjoy nature
  • Prepare lunch
  • Write
  • Journal
  • Review goals

Here are some of Babauta’s ideas for an evening routine. He recommends two parts – one to review your goals and one to wind down from the day.

(Note: there is an overlap between some of the tasks from the morning and evening routines. You need to decide 1) which tasks are important to you and 2) whether you would prefer to do these tasks in the morning, evening, or both.)

  • Goal Check
  • Review / identify priorities for tomorrow
  • Review today
  • Log data and progress towards goals
  • Write
  • Wind Down
  • Cook dinner
  • Eat dinner
  • Shower / bath
  • Teeth / floss
  • Prep clothes
  • Meditate
  • Facial
  • Read to kids
  • Talk with partner
  • Journal
  • Write
  • Read
  • Exercise
  • Make lunch
  • Keep house clean

Your day may look quite different from these examples – do it YOUR way, with routines that fit your life. The point is, just DO it!

Here’s what I want to know: how do you add structure to a chaotic day? When you follow a routine you are definitely more productive. Please comment below – let me know your successes and any stumbling blocks.

Curious about how to best incorporate these ideas into your life? Schedule a complimentary Productivity Breakthrough Session!