We all have routines in our lives, and they are a great way to be efficient... and even to complete the most mundane of tasks.
For example, I have an evening routine (apologies for being boring) but:
- I put my apartment key in the drawer by the door. I then always know where it is, rather than searching pockets.
- I empty all of my pockets into one place in my drawer. This way I know that when I am heading out of the door the next day I am not going to forget something.
- I then take yesterday's suit off the pant presser (yeah I know) and hang it up.
- I then put today's suit on the pant presser. So it will look in decent shape when I next wear it.
It is a simple little routine that saves me time and means I am less likely to leave home without something important.
William Blake had a routine, "Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night."
We can use this same technique in our work lives to be efficient. Here are 10 little routines you could easily build into your routine.
- The daily check. Did you get everything done (yesterday or today, based on when you do this review)? Make sure unfinished items are carried over to the next "To Do" list. Capture any notes you might have missed during the day. Identify any emails/tasks that still need to be actioned.
- The end of week check. Update "To Do" lists. Send "thank you" notes. List people who you are due to follow up with. Add to the reading pile (interesting articles, reports that have come in).
- The quarterly check. Review annual goals and progress against them. Adjust plans accordingly.
- The monthly contact update. Add to your "mailer lists", "Holiday card list" etc. anyone new that you met this month.
- The monthly health check. Review exercise program and weight against targets. Adjust plan as necessary.
- The weekly calendar review. Ensure all important meetings are scheduled in. Look out for several weeks to ensure you are ready for upcoming meetings, travel etc. (take advantage of advanced travel pricing). Take advantage of any spare time in calendar.
- The annual goal setting. Review results from last year against goals. Set new targets for this year. Adjust plan based on lessons learned.
- The special events review (monthly perhaps). Ensure you are aware of upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, special days, for people in your life. Family, friends, colleagues, clients etc.
- The training review (twice yearly?). What training have you done? What do you need/want? What is available in the coming months? What do you need to do to get on the training?
- The Report Cycle. If you do a weekly/monthly/quarterly report for your boss then you want to build that into your routine.
How Do You Use This?
- Decide which routines work for you, maybe some or all of those I listed. Maybe some of your own.
- Create a calendar entry for each of them. Identify how long you will need. For example you might need 15 minutes for the daily check. Create a 15 minute meeting with yourself every workday (morning or evening to suit you.) Set the reminder feature to remind you 10 minutes ahead of time. Do the same thing for each of your routines throughout the year.
- Now remember that each of those meetings is important. You MUST have them, although it is OK to reschedule them when you need to.
You now have a system that will help you to be efficient. Work with it, add to it, adjust it to meet your own needs and enjoy the positive benefits of building conscious routines!