It’s officially month three of the new year. You are head high in your technical training program and life forges on. The New Year’s resolution you set can still be seen, can still be felt with sheer determination, yet the kids still need to be fed, the house still needs cleaning, and there’s an assignment due tomorrow! At NCE in Citrus Heights, California, we get it. When life throws you lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade, but what do you make when it throws you a tangelo and maybe a papaya, too? Aren’t accustomed to these fruits? All the better!
The point is, life throws you unexpected moments, situations, assignments, and more. We set out to do one thing, and life decides it wants us to go in another direction. And that’s fine! But it tends to give us an unsettling feeling.
So this week, we decided to do a little research. What we found is that some of the most successful people out there - entrepreneurs, inventors, even presidents - agree on one habit that helps:
Design a routine:
Belle Beth Cooper does it best in her article entitled, The Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How to Design Your Own Master Routine. If you have time to read it in full, you can easily be inspired by the likes of Jack Dorsey (CEO Square and Founder of Twitter), Benjamin Franklin, and Barack Obama. They share how they design their routines and stick to them to achieve success. And they share how to navigate those tosses of unexpected fruit…
To simplify this possibly new or reintroduced topic though, we want to narrow your focus to just three core points addressed in Belle’s article. They can be helpful to those of you that are already the list-makers, the planners, while also providing some flexibility for those who need more leeway to function. Furthermore, we’ve added our take given our vocational, technical training background!
- Start your day - or end your day - with a head start on what you need to get done: you may be a morning or an evening person, so we’ve combined the recommendations of both Leo Babauta (Author and Founder of Zen Habits) and Barack Obama in this point. Either way, you get to choose when you plan. If you don’t mind getting up early, begin by planning what you need to get done then. That includes making lunch for the kids, exercising, or picking up the wife from work. If you are more of a night owl, get a head start on your next day by reviewing your notes for next day’s class or getting your plans in order so that they’re ready when you wake up. Both allow you to set your goals and intentions for your routine and jump into the day with a head start.
- Allow flexibility: this is for those of you who need a little more room for spontaneity, breathing, and creativity. But it is also a reminder for those of you who tend to confine yourselves to a strict plan. Both personalities require balance and there are many that design flexible, yet productive, routines.
“The goal is to spend as much time as possible doing what we want by maximizing output in minimal time,” says Tim Ferriss (Author and Entrepreneur).
And according to Belle, Ferriss is a master at the flexible routine. Yet, at the end of the day and the week, he sticks to the core items needed to grow his ideas and his business, just in the least amount of time required. So, there is no waste in determining what lies at the core of your success, and then making those priorities in your routine.
- Ask yourself: “What good have I done today?”: finally, this is for those of you who feel most accomplished when something purposeful has been done in your day. Maybe you’ve learned how to change someone’s brake pads, or how to install a lighting fixture. Maybe you’ve successfully made breakfast for your family before rushing them out the door so that you, too, can get to class on time. By asking yourself this question at the end of your day, and to use it also in the morning (“What good will I do today?”), you can ensure that you make the most of it, as Benjamin Franklin once did.
In conclusion, designing a routine can be difficult. Yet, these points are meant to provide various approaches to create the right one for you. It is a process. Yet, it is one we here at NCE want to be a part of.