Grab Your Day by the Balls

Why do daily routines matter?

Developing a rhythm within our day helps us create a rhythm to our lives. Our days will pass, whether or not we structure them. But by establishing intentional routines, we are taking control of our time (grabbing our day by the balls).

There is no lack of time. If we “don’t have time” for something, it’s because we haven’t made it a priority.

By building a framework for our ideal daily routine, we are able to hand pick our priorities and allow space for the stuff that matters.

Some tips –

1. Keep a daily journal. Track your daily activities for 24 hours. Each half hour, observe what you are doing and log it in your journal. Example,

7:30 am – woke up / checked phone
8:00 am – shower / got ready for work
9:00 am – arrived to work
9:30 am – checked emails
10:00 am – worked on project A
10:30 am – spent time on Facebook / watched cat videos
11:00 am – chatted with coworker / talked on the phone

It’s not necessary to track every detail of your day, but by being generally honest with ourselves we can revisit our log and perform a time audit. We can see here that from 10:30 to 11:30 we could have chosen to spend our time more productively. Less cat videos = more time. Our daily log allows us the perspective we need to make improvements.

Download a printable time journal template here.

2. Eliminate bad habits. Identify your areas of waste. We all waste time in very obvious ways. Then we complain there isn’t enough time for the things we’d like to do. Trash some of the bad habits to make room for the important stuff.

• oversleeping
• eating when we’re bored
• casual phone calls
• overchecking social media accounts
• excessive online surfing
• unnecessary shopping trips
• overcrowded social calendar
• multitasking (starting something and not finishing it)
• overplanning

3. Identify the things you spend your time on. Divide your daily activities into the following categories: sleep, nutrition, fitness, hygiene + self care, personal time + leisure, social activities (group), interpersonal time (one on one), family, work, creativity + enriching activities, housework, errands + miscellaneous. Labeling our activities by category helps us identify specifically what we’re designating our time to.

4. Find balance. Prioritize your categories. Maybe you’re spending too much time on housework and not enough on leisure. Or you’re spending too much time on social activities and not enough focus on work. In my personal pyramid, I’ve chosen to highlight 1) creativity, 2) work, 3) personal, 4) social and 5) fitness. Creativity, work and personal time are dominant because I’d like to spend the most time doing these three activities. Social activities are assigned less time because I would like to limit this area. Fitness is present not because I want to spend the least amount of time on this activity but because I wish to create a small space in my daily routine to add this in.


5. Design your ideal daily routine. On my ideal day I would wake up by 6:00 am, exercise (yoga, run or workout) and be at my desk by 8:00 am. Before I start work I would take time for personal creativity by listening to a podcast and then writing a blog article. I’d start my work day at 10:00 am and break around 2:00 pm for errands or a quick social outing. I’d return to my desk for a few hours and then start housework around 7:00 pm and leave personal time towards the end of the day for affirmations and intention setting. I might work some more on creative projects, do some planning for the next day and be in bed between 10:00 pm and midnight.

6. Map your week out. Use your “ideal day” itinerary as a frame of reference throughout your week, acknowledging that each day will be a bit different. Plan your schedule over a 7 day period and get an idea of the bigger picture.

7. Schedule meaningful stuff. Hygiene, work, nutrition, errands and social activities are the more automated of the life categories. It’s natural for us to schedule a social date and stick to it, but not as common for us to schedule creativity or more enriching activities. Take initiative and schedule time for writing, brainstorming, inspiration or self-study. Whatever “extra” activities you would like to pursue, whether that’s writing a book, taking on a new hobby or starting a social group – schedule it and make it happen.

8. Know your strengths / peak energy hours. If you schedule gym time for 5:00 am but suspect you’re not likely to wake up that early, move that activity to a more effective time slot. If you schedule personal time for lunch hour but might be distracted in the middle of the day, move that activity to early morning or later in the evening. If you’re more energetic during the first half of the day, schedule the most mind-intensive tasks early on.

9. Be consistent. It’s important to maintain your daily routine 7 days a week. Good habits are formed by consistency, not through exception. Though our days vary, the rhythm of our routines should allow our time to feel abundant, not depleted!

It is within our power to own our 24 each hours each day. Carpe diem.



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