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“Long term success is a direct result of what you achieve everyday. Goals provide your daily routine” .

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” —Sean Covey

 

Getting stuff done (PKM Pillar 1) requires not only finding and sorting everything you need to do, it requires you to develop routines, habits, or rituals that ensure that you’re getting the right things done. These routines, habits, and rituals ensure that your review your lists regularly, and items get included in your daily workflow that needs to be done. Routines, habits, and rituals are similar in result.

A routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. For getting stuff done, we will define many routines. A daily routine or a morning and evening routine. Then we will need a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual routines. For each of these periods, we will follow a sequence of actions that will result in helping us ensure that we’re getting the right things done.

A habit is a routine or ritual that we perform without having to think about it. We think of habits usually more in the context of things we want to do every day like exercise, sleep, meditation, or brushing our teeth before going to bed. We do these things each day without thinking. We don’t skip them. Routines can become habits.

A ritual is a series of steps performed on a more ceremonial occasion. Christmas dinner, a bar mitzvah, or an initiation ceremony for an organization or office.

These are similar in that they each require a sequence or series of steps to be performed regularly. For our case of getting stuff done, we will focus on our routines.

How do we build a routine?

Building a routine requires some thought. First, we focus on what the result or results are we wanted to see when we’re done (our outputs). A morning routine output could include tasks for the day, meetings for the day, projects I want to focus on if I have time, and it could contain the theme for the day, or you could separate calls from tasks.

Then we decide what we need to do to get the results we want: The Processes. Processes could include a review of all unfinished tasks, your calendar, and your projects list. Then, we identify the inputs we need for the processes that will give us the outputs we need. This way of defining your processes is called system thinking.

 

As you can tell from this, your routine can be whatever you want. It isn’t set in stone once you start it. You have to think about how you work. Pick your initial routine then add to it or take steps out that you don’t need.

My morning routine’s purpose is to guide my day. It helps me focus on those things that need my attention that day, and it allows me to identify what I need to get done to feel good about my day.

Step 1 What are my outputs?

a. meetings

b. task or action items to do.

c. projects to work on today

d. calls I need to make

e. relationships I want to nurture.

Step 2 What processes or things do I need to do to get these outputs.

For me, my main outputs are meetings from my calendar and tasks that I want to do today. My process is to review my calendar and list the meetings or activities I will participate in. My second most important decision is that, given how full my day is with meetings, to decide how many and which tasks I can get done to make my day successful? I review all my tasks to see which ones (3–6 is normal for me) that I can do for the day.

Step 3 Where is the information that I need to process to get the outputs I need?

For me, I have to have my calendar and an open task list available to determine my outputs. I look at my calendar and choose the meetings or activities I want to do today and list them in my daily template. I also have a project’s list.

Then I review all my tasks that need to be done and put the ones in my template I want to get done today. I consider calls as tasks, so I don’t have a separate category on my daily template for them, but you could. If you’re in sales and have to make a certain number of client calls each day, then I would have that as a category.

The next list I review is my projects list to remind myself of a project I want to make progress on today. My projects include writing and publishing 5 five articles or twitter posts per week. Gathering the information, I need to decide if I want to become a freelance writer.

The final list item is relationships I want to build, repair or work on. This is a real stretch for me because it’s outside my comfort zone because the last thing I want to do is waste someone’s time.

My Daily Template

I talk about a template like you know what I mean, and some of you do. Most of the note-taking applications that people use allow for a way to build a template. This is just a fancy term for a blank form.

Each day, when I get to my computer, I bring up my template and fill it in. I use Roam for my Personal Knowledge Manager. I will be discussing other applications for storing your notes in your digital brain in my next PKM Blog. Here is my template.

  • Theme: Embrace the New

  • calendar events
  • Tasks
  • Projects-Area focus on for today
    •  
    •  
  • Surprises
  • every day
    • write 500 words
    • email
    • check bank balances
  • Rating

This is the one I currently use, it’s always subject to change and isn’t quite the same as described above. My surprise list is for those things I had to do today that I didn’t expect. And the everyday category is self-explanatory. Every day I write 500 words for my blog or medium articles. I handle my email—what a waste of time. And I check my bank balances because money is tight since my wife passed away a year ago and her income no longer comes in.

Here is my completed daily list for Friday.

  • Theme: Embrace the New

  • calendar events
    • 1030 O&M
    • 1215 hurdles David S.
    • 1 how to level up your writing
  • Tasks
  • Projects-Area focus for today
    •  
    •  
  • Surprises
  • every day
    • write 500 words
    • email
    • check bank balances
  • Rating

A champion doesn’t become a champion in the ring, he’s merely recognized in the ring. His “becoming” happens during his daily routine.” Joe Louis

“If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you won’t have to motivate yourself to have it grow. It will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.” ―BJ Fogg