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The Daily Routine: How To Stop Wasting Time And Increase Your Productivity

Have you ever had that moment when you’re lying in your bed at the end of the night, and you can’t seem to remember what exactly you accomplished in that day? You might have been able to finish some of your homework assignments, spend time with some friends, and had time to call your mother. But what about in between those events? If the average person sleeps for eight hours per night, then that leaves 16 hours of the day spent awake. Surely, it didn’t take you all 16 hours to accomplish those tasks. Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you knew exactly what each minute of those 16 hours were being used for. This is why it is essential for everybody to establish a daily routine.

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From Charles Dickens to Walt Disney, every person who has met success accomplished more from their lives because they adhered to a strict daily schedule and knew how to make the most out of their time. Think about it: President Obama has the same amount of hours per day as everybody else. If he’s able to accomplish everything that gets thrown onto his very large plate, then who’s to say you can’t too? Here are some tips to help you establish your daily routine:

1. Start with Something Big

Whether it’s working on the major assignment for your Early American History course that’s due on Friday, or assembling the new desk you just picked up from IKEA, make sure that you start every day with the biggest “to-do” on your list. As these tasks will almost always take up the majority of your mental or physical energy, it’s best to knock them out of the way at the earliest possible time when you have the most energy to burn. Not only that, but after working on your most important tasks, you will feel more accomplished and less burdened which will help you to get more done throughout the rest of your day.

2. Make Note of Your Most Productive Hours

While most of the world operates on a 9am to 5pm schedule, it’s impossible to believe that everybody is the most productive during that time span. Benjamin Franklin was notorious for being an early-riser; often waking around 5am. On the other hand, F. Scott Fitzgerald, famed author of The Great Gatsby, often began his day much later when he awoke at 11am. Every person operates on their own pattern, and while some people find they are most productive in the early hours as the sun rises, there have been many great ideas that have been created by brilliant minds burning the midnight oil.

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3. Eliminate Distractions

With the current boom of technology, smartphones, viral videos, and connecting with friends through social media, it is very easy to find yourself doing something else than what you originally planned to do when you sat down in front of your computer. If you schedule a certain amount of time to complete certain tasks in your daily routine, then you’ll only waste time and rob yourself of being productive if you become distracted by the little things. By switching your cellphone on silent or airplane mode, or installing apps on your browser that will block webpages that are hubs of distraction for you (Productivity Owl for Google Chrome, or SelfControl for Mac), you can have technology work for you, rather than against you, in your fight to end procrastination and distraction. Eliminating distractions also becomes easier with our next tip, and that is:

4. Schedule Free-time

You’ll block off certain hours of your day to complete school assignments, appointments, and work-related tasks, so how about you also block off time for you to simply relax and enjoy what you really want to enjoy? Feel free to schedule time for grabbing lunch with a friend, watching that brand new episode that’s been sitting in your DVR list, or even watching that video of a singing cat that your mom is always sending you on Facebook. It helps to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when working on difficult tasks, and knowing that you’ll have time to just unwind soon will be enough motivation to keep you focused on the task at hand. Frequent breaks will help you recharge and give you enough energy to keep knocking things off of your “to-do” list for the day. Just be sure to not spend too many hours on free-time instead of getting the important things out of the way!

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5. Create Daily Schedules Ahead of Time

Just as you shouldn’t drive to a place you’ve never visited before without first mapping out the journey, you also shouldn’t begin any day without first having figured out what needs to be accomplished for that day. At the end of every week, it’s absolutely crucial for you to take some time to map out your journey for the week. List every task that absolutely needs to be completed for that next week, which tasks can be worked on little by little, and which tasks that you can work on if you have enough time. By figuring out what needs to be finished, you can set aside adequate time each and every day to ensure that you are using all of the hours of your day as productively as you can, and that you aren’t working too long on tasks that you may have more time to complete. It also helps to know that as you go to bed every night, you already know what to expect from the upcoming day, and you will be even more charged to wake up and ready to achieve another highly productive day.

With so many distractions in our world today, combined with the fast pace that society moves around us, it’s essential that we be able to accomplish many tasks in as little time as possible. By establishing a daily routine, we set ourselves up for success in visually seeing where our hours are being applied to and seeing how much of our ever-growing “to-do” list is being accomplished.

How do you organize your time? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Alex Vu

Acoustic guitarist. Part-time poet. Rap aficionado. Critically-acclaimed backup dancer. World-famous DJ. Just kidding, I'm just a writer.

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