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4 Daily Rituals For a More Productive Day

Woman-workday-startup-ritual-for-productivity
  • August 1, 2023

Have you ever had an amazing idea come to you in the shower? It's because you've showered 13 thousand times. Your brain doesn't need to think about what's next. It knows the general order of how things go, so you're on autopilot. When your body has the muscle memory to handle the task, it frees up your brain to daydream or think about other things rather than the actions your body is taking.

So how can you apply this amazing double work scenario to other areas of your life? Enter daily rituals. Daily rituals involve creating intentional routines and habits to maximize your time and attention helping you achieve peak productivity at work and in life. 

Rituals are a key component to unlocking our full potential. By automating repetitive tasks and embracing well-structured routines, we can free up mental energy to focus on what truly matters.

Understanding the Power of Rituals

By eliminating the need to remember what to do next, we can unlock: 

  • Enhanced Creativity - Contrary to common belief, rituals don't stifle creativity; they liberate it. The idea is to put intentional thought into a ritual one time and then put that set of recurring actions on autopilot. By automating these steps, we free our minds to focus on more creative endeavors.

  • Speed & Efficiency - By providing clear guidelines and a step-by-step process, rituals allow us to effortlessly move through our to-do lists. Once these rituals become ingrained in our routines, they become automatic, ultimately saving us valuable time and mental energy.
  • Error Prevention and Correction - Rituals act as safety nets, preventing mistakes by anticipating potential failures and incorporating solutions into the routine. They can be self-correcting over time, making us more reliable and effective in our actions.

Just as professional athletes rely on pre-game rituals to boost their performance, we too can harness the power of daily rituals to pave the way for success.

4 Core Rituals for Productivity

You likely already have some rituals in place, though they might not be intentional. Below are four rituals you can first observe and then intentionally design to maximize your productivity. 

1) Morning Ritual
The morning ritual begins the moment you wake up and carries you through until you start work. Think about the activities that fill your cup and set you up for a successful work day. While everyone certainly seems to have an opinion on what your morning ritual should look like, it's highly personal. What prepares you and the next person for work are extremely individualized. 

Here are some elements you might consider to set the right tone for your day.

  • Hydrate
  • Pee and brush your teeth
  • Mindful breathing, practicing gratitude, or journaling
  • Exercise or joyful movement  
  • Read
  • Caffeinate
  • Shower and get dressed
  • Eat breakfast

A well-crafted morning ritual boosts your energy and focus for the rest of the day

2) Evening Ritual

The evening ritual prepares your mind and your body for sleep. It should include activities that help you wind down, relax and get the rest you need for the next day.

I recommend Craig Ballantyne's 10-3-2-1 strategy. 

  • 10 hours before bed: No more caffeine.
  • 3 hours before bed: No more food or alcohol
  • 2 hours before bed: No more work (I would say no more work after your workday shutdown routine but this is the drop dead guideline.)
  • 1 hour before bed: No more screen time

Additional evening ritual elements might include: 

  • Reading
  • Conversations with loved ones
  • Meditation
  • Warm bath
  • Setting out essentials for the next day

An effective evening ritual ensures you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Pro Tip: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to start your evening ritual at the same time every week night. This will remind you to start your evening ritual and help you keep the promise you are making to yourself to complete your morning ritual the next day.

3) Workday Startup Ritual

The workday startup ritual is the routine you kickoff upon arriving at work or in your home office chair to start your day. This should consist of routine items you need to do every day but that can be tedious. By getting them out of the way first thing in morning, you can create more space for you to focus throughout the day knowing these items are taken care of. You can also use this time to set a clear agenda for the day.

Your workday startup ritual might include: 

  • Communication - Answering email, voicemails, texts, Slack messages or customer questions.
  • Checking in on Social Media (if your role requires it)
  • Setting or confirming your Daily Big 3 items to make sure you take daily action toward your goals
  • Checking your calendar to confirm your agenda for the day

By following the same sequence daily, muscle memory takes over, streamlining small tasks efficiently.

4) Workday Shutdown Ritual

The workday shutdown ritual is designed to help you successfully transition from work to home. This might include: 

  • Checking email, slack, texts, etc.
  • Express gratitude or acknowledge what you accomplished that day.
  • Setting your Daily Big 3 - your plan for what's most important to accomplish tomorrow.
  • Tidy up your workspace

A workday shutdown ritual helps you leave work at work, ensuring you can prioritize family, health or hobbies that will fill your cup. By prioritizing things outside of work, you'll be able to return the next morning refreshed and motivated to get to work.

Implementing the Core Rituals

To help you implement these rituals, start by clearly marking their start and stop times on your calendar. For example, it might look like: 

  • Morning - 6 to 8 am
  • Workday Startup - 8:30 to 9 am
  • Workday Shutdown - 4:30 to 5 pm
  • Evening - 9:30 to 10 pm

By scheduling these into your digital calendar, you'll get reminders to kick off that series of tasks. Maybe you put your checklist of things to accomplish in the description of each so you know what order you are trying to automate.

Summary

Daily rituals are a powerful tool for productivity, offering a structured approach to manage our time, attention, and creative energy effectively. Embrace the concept of rituals to automate and streamline your routines, allowing you to focus on what matters most.

By implementing the four foundational rituals – morning, evening, workday startup, and workday shutdown – you can enhance your productivity and achieve more with less effort. Begin incorporating rituals into your life today and unlock the key to maximizing your potential and success.

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