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Redefining Habits & Routines

Most people tend to function better when they’re in a routine that suits them and their lifestyle. Even if you don’t want to admit it,  you know you do, too.

When you’re able to start your day in a certain sequence or get certain tasks done each day – you just feel better and more productive. So why do people stick with routines that don’t make them happy and force habits that are no longer serving their purpose? There’s no rule that you need to stick with your same routine all the time – in fact, we switch ours up several times a year! As the seasons change, our routines change. We’re more likely to want to stay inside and power through work during the winter months, whereas in the summer, we will try and take our work outside to enjoy the sunshine.

So with the end of another year was coming around, we took a step back to see what was (and wasn’t!) working for us in our routines and what was in our power to change. After binge-reading A Life of Productivity, we learned that maybe the amount of caffeine we were consuming was really destroying multiple parts of our days: we didn’t feel well, we never gained more energy, and we weren’t sleeping well (again). So we went the first 10 days of the New Year with no coffee and just rehydrated with water and caffeine-free tea. And we didn’t miss it. We still aren’t missing it, as we haven’t reintroduced it yet (only twice, and those were after some very rough nights with a very upset toddler, so we earned those 2 cups!). This is a habit we think we’ll continue, at least for the most part, of limiting ourselves to a cup or two in the morning and then that’s it. We enjoy them more and the benefits seem to be winning out.

Another important habit we wanted to figure out was sleep. We all know sleep is important, but what a difference it makes when you set yourself up for the BEST sleep possible! We also borrowed some of these tips from A Life of Productivity, but these have been the massive game-changers:

  • turn off devices/screens at least 1 hour before bedtime
  • no caffeine after 11am
  • read before going to bed
  • set a bedtime and stick to it

Now, which of these contribute the most/least to better sleep is unknown, but they seem to be working! I can say that for certain as the few nights where I haven’t stuck to this evening routine, our sleep has been awful! So we’ve committed to this routine at least on worknights, with some leeway on the weekends (although to be honest, we’ve continued it on weekends just because the quality of sleep has been SO much better!).

Starting your day off on the right foot is also a great motivator and will set you up for success, but we’ve revamped that one, too. We’ve finally accepted that we will NEVER be morning people, but that waking up sometime between 6-6:30am is doable. This allows us some time of quiet to move through the motions of waking up, making the bed, having some tea and water, and maybe getting in a chapter of whatever we’re reading, before the tiny human wakes up. Especially in the winter months, we might add in some light stretching just to get our bodies moving (everything is sorer when it’s at least -30C outside).

This is all to say that if you haven’t taken a bird’s eye view of your routines and habits lately, we strongly encourage you to do so. Revamping and implementing a new routine is exciting and might just spark some new ideas…

Happier people are more productive. Way more productive.

Chris Bailey, The Productivity Project

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