When the COVID-19 outbreak hit in early 2020, most people wouldn’t have predicted what followed: a year of intermittent lockdowns, social distancing becoming an enduring concern, and companies of many shapes and sizes finding ways to work remotely. The result of these things was the general dissolution of well-established daily habits.
Particularly in light of the suffering caused by the pandemic, many chose to look for the positives in the situation, and settled on the fundamental reworking of the average day. It was nice to give up the commute: no more covering substantial fuel costs or paying for expensive public transportation, no more cramped office spaces, and no more wasted travel hours.
But as the year went by, it became apparent to most people that there was something lost in the transition from the old workday arrangement to the new remote working model. The relative lack of routine was a problem in some ways. As we look to the future, we need to think about how we can restructure our schedules — it’s vital for our personal lives, yes, but it’s also vital for our working lives.
Here’s how establishing daily routines can help in your career success.
Daily Routines For Career Success
1. Time Tracking
Taking a freewheeling approach to your work feels fun at first, but it quickly loses its appeal when you discover just how ineffective it is — and the less effectively you work, the more time you need to commit to get through your regular tasks. As alluded to above, working from home is supposed to save you time, not make your day longer by dragging everything out.
Without direct oversight to keep you in line, you need to monitor your own activity, which is where time tracking comes in. Using a time tracker like actiTIME will allow you to see exactly how long you’re spending on particular tasks and reshuffle your priorities accordingly. If you’re dragging your feet on a task that should take half the time, you can be less particular.
At the end of each month, you can look back and see everything you achieved during that time. This can both support you in devising your plans for the next month and inspire you to keep working hard in an effort to continue producing such strong results. This tracking only works if you commit to it on a daily basis, though, so don’t take it lightly.
To some, the skill of discipline can feel incredibly elusive: something that can only be gained if you’re pushed into a corner and given no other options but to buckle down and get through. Among others, this is a key reason why many people aim to fill up their schedules. They want to stop giving in to their self-defeating impulses and start nearing their potential.
Someone who works out for an hour every morning doesn’t possess more willpower than anyone else. They simply became good at resisting base impulses long enough to establish new habits — and once you have new habits, they’re just as easy to follow as the old ones. And the handy thing is that plenty of routines aren’t even difficult to follow if you line them up.
Take something like catching up with your friends and / or colleagues, for instance, which isn’t a given for the introspective among us. You may not be able to meet up with them in person, but you can meet up with them online (tools like Topia even have options for mimicking the way in which real-world gatherings dynamically split into groups), and scheduling at least one weekly social session will push you to keep engaging with them.
Speaking of working out for an hour every morning, exercise is even more important today than it was before remote working became normal. This is because it’s easier to be slovenly when you’re working from a home office and staying indoors most of the time, and because it’s easy to feel dispirited when you’re deprived of colleague interactions. Exercise helps with all of that.
The more you work out, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better you’ll be positioned to make the most of your current role. You’ll also be much more optimistic about your future prospects. The employment world is tough at the moment with a lot of great talents on the market, so you can suspect that you’re not good enough to compete. Exercise sharpens the mind (per Harvard Health Publishing, it grows the part of the brain responsible for memory and learning) and helps you to get past that and any other hang-ups causing you trouble.
Lastly, being able to know roughly what you’re going to do on any given day makes it much easier to deal with the stressful times. You know that you don’t need to make decisions about your next task or the task after that: you can concentrate completely on what you need to get done. You can’t have every element planned — unless you hire a personal assistant through a site like PeoplePerHour to do it for you, perhaps — but you can have the general lineup ready.
Preventing yourself from getting overwhelmed won’t just help with various things we’ve mentioned, such as productivity and efficiency. It’ll also help with your state of mind. Burnout is a very real danger these days, and it will be terrible for your career if you get so exhausted from your job that you can no longer endure it. Maximizing your comfort will improve your longevity and allow you to pursue long-term career goals.
Career Success Starts Now
Let’s wrap things up by running through the points we’ve looked at here. Tracking your time allows you to get more work done in less time, helping your professional performance and boosting your prospects. Establishing routines allows you to build up discipline, a key skill that can support you with all of your future tasks. Exercise habits improve your mood and health, making you a more confident person — and planning out your schedule gives you one fewer thing to worry about during a stressful workday.
To maximize your efforts, start with managing your time and implementing a time tracker. For example, in actiTIME, you can track you working time using online weekly timesheet and a browser extension and time off work using the mobile app. Review your productivity using charts and reports, compare your efficiency using real-time widgets. If you work as a freelancer, use your time tracking data to build bills and invoices. Explore all benefits using a free 30-day trial (no credit card required).