It can be challenging to build strong and lasting business routines, but when you consider the amount of time, stress, and frustration they combat, putting the energy into creating routines makes much more sense. Today I’m taking you through each step in how to build strong and lasting business routines!
How to Build Strong and Lasting Business Routines
If you’ve visited Calyx and Corolla before, you probably know that I’m a
big fan, ahem, a bit obsessive about my routines. But that’s because they help me to be so much more efficient and effective, which leaves more time for my projects, fun, and family time!
Today we’re specifically talking about a weekly business routine, but when you work at home, the lines between your business and life blur. We don’t work in a vacuum.
- Run upstairs to switch the wet laundry to the dryer in the five minutes you have before that conference call starts,
- You deal with a couple of business tasks before the kids get up and ready for school,
- While waiting to pick up your kids from school, you plan an upcoming launch,
- And you continue with these quick role switches throughout the day and week, zigzagging back and forth from work to home & family and home & family to work.
Because of those frequent role changes the steps in today’s post will be more helpful if you include all of your roles.
I’m sharing 6 steps in today’s how-to. As you work through each one, you may find that you require fewer or additional steps. Tweak this and make it work for you.
Okay, let’s jump in and build strong and lasting business routines!
#1 Realize That You Need Routines
Perhaps you’re wondering why routines even matter. You’re getting your work done. All is well.
But what if you could have more time for your passion projects or your family or time for YOU?
That’s what routines are all about!
Here are 3 BIG things you gain by having strong and lasting business routines in place:
- More time – routines help you to be more efficient which equals more time for other things.
- Less internal resistance – routines help you do what must be done without the internal fighting that creates so much stress, frustration, and wasted energy.
- Decreased decision fatigue – when you’re tired your ability to make good decisions falters, and you often choose the easiest option (binge watching Netflix instead of working ahead on that client project); having established routines cuts out a large portion of your daily decision making and automates a set of activities; that means you suffer from less decision fatigue and make better choices (and get that client work done early)!
Now, that you’re convinced that your need routines, let’s talk about how to actually create them! 🙂
I’ve created a Sunday planning routine that ensures I have an enjoyable and productive week. Learn more in this post: 6 Things To Do on Sunday for the Best Work Week Ever.
#2 List Your Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Tasks
To get this routine building started, list all of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Include everything from all roles of your life: business, family, home, mother/father, wife/husband, etc. This is similar to a brain dump, but you’re targeting your list to tasks that you repeat daily, weekly, and monthly.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and list those tasks. Write as fast as you can until the timer goes off.
Depending on your commitments, you may want to repeat this step more than once.
If you’re a fan of printables, grab this task list printable for your list making session!
Love printables? Check out the Printables Project Gallery for more FREE printables!
#3 Lay Out a Basic Schedule
Now that you have a list of your tasks, you’re going to lay out a basic schedule.
And I have another printable for you! 🙂
Here’s a weekly schedule printable that’s perfect for laying out your basic weekly schedule.
If you’d rather work on a daily schedule, feel free! Here’s a daily schedule printable for you.
I like to start by adding my “non-negotiables.” These are tasks that will help me honor my top priorities and make progress on my big goals. Stephen Covey calls these tasks/intentions the “big rocks” in the jar.
Some of the first items added to my schedule are:
- Early morning coffee time with my husband (before the kids get up and the day gets going), so that we can check in and talk without interruption,
- Nurturing morning “me time” for yoga and goal review,
- Intentional time with my kids which includes breakfast together as a family, then a snack and conversation about their day after school.
Once you fill in your non-negotiables, add time-dependent tasks like getting the kids to or from school, kids’ school activities, regularly occurring meetings, making and eating dinner, etc.
For more information on creating an intentional morning routine, check out this post: 5 Essential Morning Routine Elements.
#4 Plug Remaining Tasks Into Schedule
After you add your non-negotiables and time-dependent tasks, plug any remaining tasks into your weekly schedule. You may find it helpful to group remaining tasks instead of adding every. single. one. to your schedule.
For example, I schedule client work blocks rather than assigning a specific time to each client. I also combine schedule a housework block each day and keep a running list of tasks that nee to be completed during that time (you won’t see this reflected in the schedule below as it’s a new addition to my weekly routine).
A trick that I’ve find found incredibly helpful is to overestimate the time required for tasks by at least 15 minutes. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending the time to create a routine, then have it blown when the first task of the week runs over by 30 minutes.
Overestimate! You’ll be glad you did.
Another important consideration is your regular energy flow. Are you energized and creative in the mornings? Try to schedule creative tasks during this time. Are you tired and lethargic in the afternoon after lunch? Schedule more routine, monotonous tasks that don’t require your full attention during this time block.
#5 Follow Your Routine
Now you have your basic routine for the week (go, you!).
But this is where things often get tricky….
Follow your routine, as best you can, for a few weeks. Some days you may only get through your first block of time before the day goes haywire. That’s okay. Other days may run like clockwork, and that’s awesome!
The most important parts of this step are to stick with it and to pay attention to what’s working and what’s not working!
Then you can take that information and tweak this schedule to make it work even better.
When tweaking you might:
- Expand or shrink time blocks as dictated by tasks,
- Move tasks around,
- Give yourself a longer break for lunch,
- Start your day earlier or later,
- End your day earlier or later,
- Add in irregular time blocks (my most productive blocks are the 3 evening hours I spend at the local library about once a week),
- Take more or fewer breaks.
Experiment to find your routine rock stars (like my library evenings) and keep tweaking this routine until it becomes perfectly suited to you. After a couple of months you’ll have a workable weekly routine that decreases your stress and frustration, boosts your productivity, and frees up time for passion projects, family, and fun!
#6 Remember That Life Happens
You’ve worked incredibly hard to create a weekly routine that works for you….
And then life happens.
Kids get sick, company arrives, you get sick, the kids are on break from school, the holidays roll around, and chaos ensues.
It’s okay! Take a deep breath. Tomorrow morning or next week is a new start, a clean slate. You can get back to your schedule when things around you calm down. This is part of the process of creating strong and lasting routines—whether for business or life!
Although it can be arduous to build strong and lasting business routines at first, the productivity boost, additional energy, and extra time you gain make the initial struggle totally worth it! Take this process step-by-step, create your basic schedule, then tweak it, tweak it, and tweak it again until you’ve created strong and lasting business routines!
Don’t forget to pin it!
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Thanks for joining me today!
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