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Leadership in Focus (Issue 4)

·3 mins

Rigid, uninspiring, and boring. If you had asked me about the idea of having a strict daily routine a few years ago, those are some of the words that would have come to mind. Today, however, I have completely changed my view and see the value of the discipline and freedom that keeping to a routine can bring.

Adhering to a daily routine is still a work in progress for me, but the results I am getting have convinced me that taking the time to develop some solid routines and committing to them are worth it. There are four separate routines I use throughout the day: morning, work start, work end, and evening.

Here are some practices I have found helpful:

  1. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends. As a natural night owl, this is a struggle for me. Yet I’ve observed that my most productive and satisfying work days happen when I get up the first time my alarm goes off and jump right in to my morning routine. Sleeping in feels good at the time, but puts the rest of my day out of sync. Of course, all of this is built on getting myself to bed early enough to guarantee adequate sleep.
  2. Be specific about your routines. Write everything out in detail and stick to it in the same order every day. Instead of wasting brain power on deciding what to do next, rely on your routine and save your best thinking for what matters most during the day. Keep score with a checklist for each item if it helps you, or just keep track of completing the entire routine itself. Start a chain and do your best not to break it, but if you do fall down, give yourself some grace and start a new chain.
  3. Avoid email and social media for as long as possible. I don’t use the internet at all until I get to my “work start” routine.
  4. Decide on your “daily big 3” tasks (the three most important things for you to accomplish during the day) the day before. I do it as part of my “work end” routine which happens after I’ve finished my main work for the day. Setting those “big 3” priorities the night before helps me hit the ground running the next morning.
  5. Build in some daily (or at the very least weekly) time for reflection on what you are doing well and what you can improve. A cheap pen and notebook is all you need to get started on a self-reflection journey that is guaranteed to help you make progress.

A Thought To Ponder #

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

Something Delightful #

Richard Montañez started as a janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California and is now a VP at PepsiCo. Check out his amazing story of determination.

Update: The story linked above has been updated since this post with some additional information about Mr. Montañez’s ascent to the executive ranks. There are some disputed elements in the original reporting.