Routine is one of the most powerful tools that we have as humans. It can help us be more productive, efficient and happier in the long run. When we establish a routine, we create a flow for our day-to-day lives.
You know this already, but it’s hard to stick to a routine. You have to be intentional about it and make it a priority.
Distractions, unhappy clients, family issues and industry curveballs get in the way of you following a consistent routine, despite your best intentions.
One of the best ways to create a routine is to work with an executive assistant. They can help you establish a routine that works for you and your schedule. Having someone who is accountable to help you stick to your priorities is invaluable.
Finding routine in a home office
Working from home complicates routine. You work where you live, eat and maybe even raise kids. It’s hard to establish work/life balance. One way to combat this is to have a separate space for work. It’s been said that environments have energy. You associate different things with different spaces.
Are you a leader who has to conduct a lot of sales calls? Is your environment suiting that need?
If not, consider making some changes. Ask your EA to remind you to always take sales calls from a certain room from your house. Or, when it’s time to break for lunch, actually eat in the kitchen, rather than your home office.
Are you writing a book or doing something that requires creativity? Do that work from a cafe where other people are doing similar work, or go to a library for head-down quiet time.
EAs, you can learn form this, too. If you are having a hard time focusing, your environment may be to blame.
Use your calendar to create consistency
Where you work is just as important as when you work. Work with your EA to use your calendar to help you maintain routine. Create events for every day of week at the same time.
- Exercise twice a week at 11 a.m.
- Always take lunch at 12:30 p.m.
- Consistently block 2:30 for administrative tasks
“Time has memory,” writes Jay Shetty, author, speaker and podcaster. “If you do something the same time every day, it becomes more natural.”
Here is an example of calendar blocking, which helps reduce context switching and honors routine:
Context switching corrupts your productivity. You lose focus when you take a sales call, pivot to answer email and then host an internal meeting with your team.
Strategically use your calendar to do like-activities in blocks of time. Create structure by doing:
- Sales calls on Tuesday and Thursdays
- Creative work on Fridays
- Internal meetings & admin work on Mondays
Whatever works for you.
This advice is true for EAs, too. Block your calendar to create better routine and structure. And don’t forget to block off time for breaks for you and your Leader. Everyone needs time to recharge, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
EAs: Does your Leader’s calendar have break time? Put it on their calendar.
- Schedule time to drink water and eat a healthy snack
- Create reminders to walk outside and ground your feet in grass
- Make a note for your leader to take deep breaths
Do these reminders sound trivial? Far from it. Many leaders want an EA who will help them remember to take care of themselves. They want to be served as a whole person, not just for work.
What about when things go off track?
It’s inevitable that things will happen that throw us off of our routines. A client gets upset, the internet goes out or someone we love gets sick.
When things happen that are out of your control, take a deep breath and remember that it’s okay. Interruptions are a part of your work week. It’s unrealistic to think that your routine will go off without a hitch.
Expect interruptions. In fact, you can create calendar events specifically for interruptions. Block the time and make a list for your leader to handle the work that popped up last minute (assuming it’s not an emergency).
Work with your EA to clarify your top priorities for a week, then empower them protect that time — and hold you accountable.
Your habits have a domino effect
If a part of your routine is not serving you, scrap it.
Routines are meant to help us, not hinder us. If there is something that you’ve been doing that isn’t working, make a change.
A routine is not set in stone. It’s flexible and should be changed as needed. Just because a guru wakes up at 5 a.m. to exercise doesn’t mean you need to wake up early if it drains you by 2 p.m.
Take back control of your time. What can you do in the morning, before work, that will set you up for success.
- Do you need 30 minutes of quiet journaling?
- Do you need a full breakfast to function?
- Or, do you want to start work before your kids wakeup so you have moments of silence?
Consider your evening routine, too. What do you do when you close your laptop?
- Are you prioritizing your commitment to eat a dinner at the table with family?
- Are you compulsively checking email after hours when you should be resting?
- Are you staying up late scrolling Instagram when you’d be better served reading and going to bed early?
Evaluate your current routines and make changes as needed. Your habits have a domino effect. What you do at night affects your morning. What you do in the morning affects your workday flow.
Your EA is here to help you master your time. If you need a better nighttime routine, discuss your habits with your assistant. They are here to help you.
What’s happiness got to do with it?
Routines help you to be more productive and efficient, but also happier. With structure and consistency in your life, you won’t feel out of control — like your day is running you. You can know that your schedule accounts for all of your needs, both personal and professional.
When you have a routine, you can check off items on your to-do list without feeling anxious. You can work with ease because you know what’s coming next. You can relax because you’ve created space in your schedule for down time.
Routines help to create balance in your life. If you feel more balanced, you will feel happier and more stable.
Don’t do it alone
Are you feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how to get your routine under control?
Our Priority MATCH services can help you hire an executive assistant who will help you create a routine that works for you. Having someone who is accountable to help you stick to your routine is invaluable.
Stop struggling with distractions, unhappy clients, family issues and industry curveballs. Let us help you establish a routine that will make you more productive, efficient and happier in the long run.
Schedule a free, 30-minute strategy call right now and fill out our questionnaire so we can start helping you find your ideal teammate!