Successful people have daily habits and routines.
It’s been written about by Business Insider, Forbes, and Huffington Post. We all want to know what separates successful people and unsuccessful people. Jeff Olson, author of one of my favorite books, The Slight Edge, says that we must do the simple things every day in order to be successful.
If I told you there was no magic pill and that it is something that each and every one of us can do, how would that affect your success?
One of my strengths is that I am efficient. I can (and do) get a lot done. I also follow the mantra, “If you’re going to do something, do it right.” My ability to accomplish a lot is not because I have a superpower or because I have unlimited energy. It all goes back to daily habits and routines, and it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time.
My mom did an incredible job teaching me the importance of routines. She had me to make my bed each morning during the school year and even during the summer and on holidays. She also had me to pick out my clothes for school at night before the next day. And even though my mom was a stay-at-home mom (she called herself a domestic engineer) most of the time I was in school, she got up every morning and was dressed head-to-toe (even if it just meant sweats and tennis shoes) ready for her day. I learned by example of how routines are helpful to create a more productive day.
Another person I learned from was FlyLady. I discovered her system about 15 years ago. While on the surface it seems like a system for keeping your house clean, it actually is more than that. It’s about a lifestyle. It’s about creating habits and sticking with routines. It’s about being accountable to yourself and someone else. It’s about doing the little things so that they don’t get in the way of the big things.
"It’s about doing the little things so that they don’t get in the way of the big things."
The first step in the FlyLady system is to clean your sink. Every night before you go to bed, you are supposed to clean your sink until it shines. Such a little thing, you might be thinking. I encourage you to see if you can do it for 28 days. You see, when you do this for 28 days, it will become a habit. Something you just do without thinking about it. It becomes an important part of your nightly routine. It works your self-discipline muscle.
FlyLady’s system is about not just about keeping a home in order, but it’s also about clearing away the clutter so that we can be calmer, more in control, more productive, and able to make better decisions. Doesn’t that sound like qualities of a successful person?
How to create a daily system.
- Start with one thing. One small thing. Clean your sink every night, or make your bed each morning. Clean off your desk before you leave work. Do 50 crunches each morning. Write down three things you’re thankful for each night in a gratitude journal.
- After a week, add another step to your system.
- After a week, add another step.
After 28 days, re-evaluate your daily system. Is it making you more productive? Do you need to add another daily habit? Is there one you need to stop doing?
Here’s my system:
- I plan our dinner menu for the week and create a shopping list from the menu. This saves us from extra trips to the grocery store during the week, and saves time with planning or deciding what we will eat during the week.
- Each night, I decide on and prepare my lunch for the next day. Also, I decide what I will wear to work the next day. This saves time in the mornings.
- I clean the kitchen completely each night before going to bed and set the timer on the coffee maker for the morning. This way, I get up to a clutter-free, clean kitchen with fresh coffee waiting on me.
- Each night, I review my calendar for the next day. If there’s anything that needs to go on my to-do list, I create an appointment with myself on my calendar for the next morning and include my action items in the description.
- I keep a project journal. In the journal, I have different ideas listed on each page. As ideas come to me, I lit them in the journal so that they don’t create clutter in my mind. As I come up with specific steps that are needed to bring the ideas to fruition, I add to the specific pages.
These are the five habits that create conditions for me to be efficient and productive. Do you do any of these are part of your daily routine?
How might educators use daily habits and routines to empower students and each other?