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Understanding Daily Routines to Increase Productivity

In the past when I would evaluate my schedule in an effort to optimize my time, I would consider only the working hours of the day. For me, this is between 7:30a-5:30p. During those hours, I timeblock my schedule including reading/research time, set times to process email, time to plan for the upcoming day and more. Though I thought about what I wanted or needed to get done outside of those hours, I rarely scheduled it, with the exception of personal appointments.

As someone who strives to remain aware of my routines and processes, it occurred to me that I wasn’t taking into account everything else that was taking up my time. This realization struck me when I noticed how aware our pets, Sasha and Darren, knew my routine. I began to observe how Sasha moves on to the next step of my routine just based on a sound or movement. Sounds or movements that I repeated every day without thinking about it. They even understand the difference between my weekday and weekend routines. These were parts of my routine that I had never evaluated.

Recently I was spending time adjusting my schedule and began noting every moment of my day from when i woke up to when I went to sleep. If Sasha and Darren understood it, then I wanted to as well. A few of the areas that I noted, that I previously was not accounting for included:

  • Travel time to and from the gym: I had my morning workout time blocked off in my schedule but didn’t note the travel time.
  • Post-workout routine: For the 45 minutes or so after I get home from the gym, I have a morning routine that I go through prior to sitting down at my desk.
  • Walking Sasha twice during the workday: Every morning at around 11a and then around 4p I take Sasha for a walk. After her mid-morning walk, Sasha and Darren both come begging for treats which I happily oblige.

Individually these parts of my day don’t consume a lot of time but added up, they amount to approximately 1.5 hours each day, totaling close to 8 hours every week! My goal wasn’t to find a way to optimize these parts of my day but simply to be aware of them. By adding them to my schedule, it brought even more clarity to my day and reduced stress on those busy back-to-back meeting days.

To effectively increase your productivity, you must understand your daily routines – (Tweet This)

After accounting for all aspects of my day, similar to keeping a food journal, I used a template provided by Michael Hyatt to design my ideal week. Of course, almost no week is ideal but by having this vision of an ideal week, it would allow me to not only note these missing parts of my routine, but it would allow me to review my schedule and work on conforming it to my ideal week.

Since I went through this process I am more aware of all aspects of my day, not just my work schedule and, as a result, have been more productive in all areas of my life.

Question: Are there parts of your schedule that you’re not taking into account?

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee