Why You Should Have a Productivity Routine

The following is a guest post by Jen Lamb. Jen writes for No Hype Time Management and is passionate about time management techniques and productivity.  She wrote this at the kitchen table with her favorite pen nearby… the PC in the office isn’t good for creativity.

Your Routine Matters

I first thought about habits influencing productivity when I read Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art.”  As a writer, he has a very specific routine that he goes through every morning to get in the “zone” to write. Reading about his routine, down to a special name tag that he pins on his shirt, jump-started me in identifying my own time management and productivity habits.

Isn’t it interesting that many of us have routines for being productive? I produce my best work on my laptop in two locations, my bed (it has to be made before I open the laptop) and at the kitchen table. Even though I have an office with a PC and back porch with comfortable chairs on it, they don’t produce the same results.

Specific items are also a part of my routine: a notebook, 3-ring binder of organized notes, a current magazine (headline inspiration) and my lucky pen.

Intellectually, I know that these are just artifacts that don’t affect the quality of my work. However, when I try to produce without them it never works out. The funny thing is, I type my work, I don’t even use the pen except to jot random thoughts down!

A few ideas that help promote productivity:

  • Routine – You have a routine to get ready for bed. You should have a routine for getting down to business.
  • Your Happy Place – You may not be able to influence where your desk is at work, but you can move things around on it (bring your favorite pen!) and make your space conducive to concentration.
  • Get Focused – Once you go through your daily routine that sets you up to get down to business, don’t stop and do something else, stay on track and finish what you start. If you have several stops and starts, you lose time every time you mentally reset your routine.
  • Remember “Why” – Remember not only what you sat down to do, but why you’re doing it. The bigger picture and purpose allows you to stay focused on getting through it.
  • Knuckle Down – The most successful people don’t wait for inspiration to strike, they act and inspiration follows. Your book won’t write itself, your house won’t clean itself, and your job doesn’t do itself.  You get yourself in gear and start, and excellence creeps in while you’re at work.

Consistency has a powerful effect on your life and, just like the tortoise and the hare, results happen when you consistently make an effort to get better at something.  You’ve read about the one-hit wonders who had actually been toiling away for 10 years before they were “discovered.”

When you have a consistent routine for doing something important to you, a way to set yourself up mentally to approach the task, your results will speak for themselves.

Don’t get down if life is a broken series of accomplishments building upon each other, it’s important to hone your technique for producing your best work.  Once you’re in the habit of practicing your craft after mentally setting yourself up for success, and do this consistently, your productivity will soar.

Because you’re wasting less mental energy trying to create inspiration to do a task, and more energy actually creating, inspired work tends to sneak up when you least expect it.

Question: What is your best routine for productivity?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • There are two things that work well for me:

    1) Do things in certain order. In the morning, I know exactly what I’m going to do and when.

    2) Music. It gets me amped or focused, depending on what “zone” I want to be in.

    • TMNinja

      @Loren Pinilis Loren, sounds like you and @timokiander are on the same wavelength here.

      The order of your routine can definitely make a difference in many aspects. 🙂

  • I am getting in the zone of writing the moment I start writing. So if I am not inspired and “not in the zone” I get myself there. Start randomly writing as long as I have to… Simply write my thoughts down, no matter how silly they are.

    That left me with awful lot of material. It actually became a journal of a sorts, but writing my diary for 10plus years helped me get become better at writing.

    But at first I didn’t have consistency in short term. Consistency is something that you can develop over years, until one day you wake up and realize that you are actually good at it. You’ve been practicing it for a couple of years sporadically and that in an of itself made consistency.

    It took me long 6 years before I moved from writing in the actual notebook to blogging and online writing.

    And I still like to use Pen and Paper actually. It’s different perspective of writing. Because it’s a drag to delete, you are more focused on writing “the right words” So the end product of your writing can be quite better than what you usually produce on your computer.

    Those are just a couple of thoughts on how I achieved good level of productivity in writing.

    • TMNinja

      @Bojan011 Agree here! My method is to writing is to start with a “firehose.” I just start writing down whatever thoughts come to mind.

      Flow comes later as ideas combine and solidify. 🙂

  • Matttanguay

    Hey Jen,

    I experienced first-hand recently how sometimes you just gotta “knuckle down” and get it started. Then, inspiration follows.

    When I get an emotional block for whatever reason, I just have to get it started, no matter how small a task I get done!

    Cheers,

    Matt

    • TMNinja

      @Matttanguay Matt, you are right on! (Maybe a topic for another post…)

      Many think that inspiration leads to productivity…when actually it is usually the other way around.

      Hard work leads to creativity and inspiration!

  • dbonleadership

    I really like what you said about remembering the why in what your doing. Remembering the big picture of why your doing it really does matter. Great post!!!

  • Jen, I smiled when you wrote about having to have the bed made before you open the laptop. I can so relate to this! However, mine is having the kitchen table (where I work) cleared. And at the moment it certainly is not! I will be doing that now, and also taking notice of anything else that affects my productivity and thinking about my productivity routine. My latest blog post refers to my Productivity Style and I think this and your concept of a Productivty Routine mesh really well together. Thanks!

    • TMNinja

      @Abbie Allen Thanks, Abbie! Glad you liked the post.

      Sounds like you have your own productivity routine down! 🙂

  • ig_ro

    В @moredayscom все информативно,и нисколько от этого не противно.В нем есть домашний уют.Вот почему я тут.

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  • Great post!

    Routines are important for improving productivity.

    I tend to tweak my existing routines all the time to get rid of all the unnecessary steps. Also, I feel that certain routines need preparation before they can be successfully executed.

    My morning ritual is one example of this: I have changed the order I do certain things but also, I’m doing some preparation tasks the night before so that my morning routine is successful.

    Cheers,

    Timo

    • TMNinja

      @timokiander Thanks, Timo!

      Love the thought… the order of one’s routine can make a big difference in getting done what is most important.

  • HomemakersDaily

    Interesting idea. I started writing a blog last May, and as I’m learning, I’m trying to develop a routine. I’ve toyed with the idea of setting up a small area in my house that’s just for blogging. When I sit at my “regular” desk (I’m a homemaker), I get distracted by all the other stuff on the desk and sometimes by other tasks that need done. I want to treat my blog as my business so I thought an area dedicated to blogging might help me switch to blog mode when I sit down at that desk. Not having bills and projects and all that on the desk – just blogging – would help me focus better. My family all thinks it’s a dumb idea but I’m still giving it some thought. Seems like that might be just the kind of thing you’re talking aobut!

    • TMNinja

      @HomemakersDaily Sounds great!

      BTW, stay tuned for some great blogging information. I am going to be a co-teacher on a new blogging series. 🙂

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