I am so over all the viral content about so-and-so billionaire entrepreneur’s daily routine. It’s completely irrelevant to me. But you know what is relevant to all of us? Knowing how to build a daily routine, especially as a creative entrepreneur.
Building a daily routine that works for you is key, and it’s the only way to go. Who cares if someone famous wakes up at 3 AM if that schedule won’t work for your life?
Knowing what you need from your weekly schedule as well as what will work best for mind and body is the important thing. And if you know those things, then you just have to build the routine that will work for you.Knowing what you need from your weekly schedule as well as what will work best for mind and body is the important thing. Then you just have to build the routine that will work for you. Click To Tweet
For me, building a daily routine was the thing that not only got me in a really productive state of mine, but it was also a form of self-care in that it kept me on track and gave me the boundaries I needed to operate efficiently.
If you feel like a daily routine won’t do anything for you, maybe you’re right. But, if by the end of this post, you don’t see the value in the idea, I would be really surprised.
How to Build a Daily Routine
Building a daily routine is just as tough and arduous as building any habit.
Sorry if you thought there was a magic pill.
For me, I have to be very intentional, and I have to think about what I want as a whole. From there, I have to figure out what it will look like in practice.
Then, I have to be dedicated to the routine, but not so much that I get overwhelmed and defeated when something goes awry and the routine is ruined for the day.
It’s a lot.
But here’s some cornerstones you need in your routine as a creative entrepreneur to build a daily routine that will keep you productive and proactive in your business.
001: Wake up and go to bed at the same time every single day.
I know that sleeping in feels really luxurious, but it’s not a great thing to do.
If you’re staying up super late every weekend and struggling to wake up for the first half of the week, you’re really setting yourself up for failure. Getting enough sleep is crucial for productivity, and if you’re the only person in your business, you definitely have to be productive.
Getting on a good schedule has been the thing that has kept me relatively productive. My body has clear times for working and clear times for sleeping, and I don’t deviate much from them.
And sure, there are some days where I still feel tired, but I have a set schedule, and my body can now get up and go to bed at regular times naturally.
002: Create themes for each of your days to make batching easier.
I do specific tasks on specific days. Why? For a few reasons.
There are some days when I know I won’t have a ton of creative energy. There are some days when I know I’m naturally better at handling human interaction in Zoom calls. There are other days when I can hunker down and just write without interruptions.
I had to create this schedule, and having it has been super helpful. It keeps me on track, and I know what I need to do and when, so I never have to choose what I’m doing next.
003: Block your time so you know what to do when.
It can be easy to look at the whole day ahead of you and assume that you have time to tackle the whole to do list. But if you aren’t intentional about how you can use every single hour of that work day, you’ll find that time just slips away.
I don’t know why it does. Seriously. But it does.
So, I use Google Calendar to block out what I’ll be doing when on the specific days that I do those specific tasks. This helps me stay mindful of the time I have, and I’m more likely to get tasks done because I see the deadline of the time block, and I push to finish.
So maybe it’s just a great way to give yourself small internal deadlines, which then enables you to actually finish stuff and not leave it until later.
004: Don’t always be available.
You don’t always need to be available, even if it feels that way. Social media and text messages have really made people feel like they can contact you whenever they want. You don’t have to answer though.You don't always need to be available, even if it feels that way. Click To Tweet
I keep my phone on silent pretty much all the time. And I don’t keep it on my desk in the morning because I don’t want to see it light up when a notification comes across the screen.
Even if the notification is something I can easily ignore, the bright light will break my concentration. So, my phone stays on the charger until lunch.
And on that note, I don’t allow people to schedule calls with me in the mornings. Sure, there may be some calls I’m on in the mornings. But those are relatively few.
I try to keep a portion of my day to just myself so I can do some deep focus work and make some progress.
Why You Need a Daily Routine
Okay. So we’ve talked about how you can build a daily routine and I’ve shared some tips that are important to me.
But why do you need one?
Well, I would honestly say that no one is productive if they don’t have a routine. It can seem like a prison, but it’s not. It’s a great way to give yourself specific time to work and specific time to be off work.
As a creative entrepreneur, I recommend it to everyone — even the creatives who think they don’t need one.
Everyone needs a routine. Here’s why:
001: It creates an anchor.
If you are 100% in charge of your time, you need to have an anchor that keeps you in the sea with your peers.
So, if you work for yourself and you’ve found that you’re sleeping until noon and missing out on Zoom networking coffee sessions with organizations like Creative Mornings, and then working long after so many of your friends have gone to bed, you probably feel really isolated.
You are free to work on whatever schedule you want. But know that most people keep a schedule where they work during the day and sleep at night.
So if you aren’t able to chat with friends or if you feel like you aren’t seeing any sunlight, it may be time to create a routine that keeps you tethered to the rest of humanity.
002: It keeps you human.
You weren’t meant to work whenever or rest whenever.
You need the boundaries a schedule can create to keep you happy and content with the work you do. And there are so many creatives who push themselves to work extra hours — that’s not okay, and I don’t recommend it.
Keeping a routine lets your brain know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest. You can make your work time whenever you want, but you want to make sure you aren’t giving yourself a ridiculous workday that burns you out.
And on the other hand, you want to make sure that you don’t spend so much time off that you feel guilty about it.
Burnout and guilt are real problems when it comes to making your schedule, so just remember that you’re human, and a lot of feeling human is just imitating other humans.
Give yourself the space to do that.
003: It cuts way down on decision fatigue.
You only have so much energy.
So don’t waste it trying to figure out what to do.
I spent a lot of time at the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey trying to work intuitively. I would ask myself what I felt like working on that day, and that was never really a good idea.
Sure, I would dive into the thing that felt good at the time, but that meant other projects sat unfinished, and if I’m being honest, I never really felt like answering emails or scheduling social media.
That led me to feeling like I was making the wrong choices in my business, and I spent so much time and energy just weighing my options in my head that I couldn’t get much work done.
So now, I have a set routine and it’s changed everything.
My Daily Routine as a Creative Entrepreneur
Admittedly, I tried to play the “fast and loose with my day” game when I first started working for myself.
That did not last.
It made me feel so grumpy and off. I hated how I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done, and I spent so much time deciding what I should work on that I didn’t have much time or energy to actually do the work.
That has all changed.
I’m also going to share with you this list of non-negotiable things I need in my daily routine to be productive.
001: I wake up at 5:30 AM 6 days a week to workout.
I don’t say this to brag. I say this because it’s doable. And I do it to keep me healthy. If I don’t make working out a priority, it’s very possible that I will just sit at my desk all day.
If I don’t work out first thing, I won’t work out at all. I can’t stop in the afternoon to work out. And I don’t want to work out in front of other people. So doing it while everyone is asleep means that it’s done, and I get my alone time.
And honestly, my brain works better when I’ve been able to expel some energy.
002: I’m very specific about the work I do and when.
Mondays are for scheduling pins and social media content. I also do some client work too.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are for writing and product creation. (I also do an abundance candle spell on Thursdays.)
Wednesdays are for filming YouTube videos and Instagram reels. And since I have some makeup on, I’ll take some photos for the ‘gram as well.
Fridays are for writing my newsletter and planning out content for the next week.
Doing this has made it so much easier for me to know what I’m tackling and when. I preach the joys of task batching in Art Like a Boss, and it’s definitely something I practice too.
003: I try to quit by 5 PM.
Chris, my fiancé, is done with work at 5 PM. So I try to finish up at that time too. If the weather’s nice, we may take a drink out on the back porch and chat. If the weather sucks, we may sit on the couch and watch some YouTube videos together.
Getting my work done during the normal workday means I have time in the evening to spend with the people who matter. And it means that I’m not stuck at my desk all day when I really want to be cuddled up watching movies.
Admittedly, as a morning person, this is really easy for me, so I’m not saying that everyone should work this way. But it’s definitely something that works well for me.How do you structure your work days? Do you use time blocking and themed days? Want to see how I do? Click To Tweet
Do you have a daily routine?
How do you structure your work days? Do you use time blocking and themed days? What parts of your routine are important to you? Let me know in the comments!