These Books Helped Me Establish a Routine That Actually Works

No more multi-tasking and overwhelming to-do lists!

These Books Helped Me Establish a Routine That Actually Works
Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

No more multi-tasking and overwhelming to-do lists!

Ever find yourself drowning in the sea of productivity hacks, only to realize your to-do list is longer than the Great Wall of China? 

Yeah, been there, done that. 

I’m not here to peddle the latest miracle cure for your time management struggles. In this post, I want to share a little journey of self-discovery, with a sprinkle of trial, error, and a healthy dose of literary inspiration.

Let’s rewind the clock a bit. 

The 2019 me was a hot mess of good intentions and procrastination. I had hundreds of journal pages filled with business ideas. I wrote to-do lists and daily affirmations, but “life” always got in the way. The only thing keeping my sanity intact was the hope that one day I’d stumble upon the secret recipe for a routine that doesn’t crumble like a house of cards. 

Spoiler alert: it happened, and it involved some unlikely heroes — a stack of books that turned my life from a chaotic symphony of missed deadlines to a semblance of sanity when I can at least complete all the tasks on my to-do list.

Now, I’m no superhero. I can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound or summon lightning with a snap of my fingers. But what I can do is share the stories of these literary sidekicks. So, buckle up, because we’re about to embark on a journey through the pages that reshaped my understanding of routines and transformed the mayhem into a well-oiled machine.

1. Switch by Chip & Dan Heath

Image: Goodreads

You fancy changing the world, but let’s be real — you’re also the kind who’d rather hit snooze until the late morning sun starts judging you. 

Sound familiar? 

Welcome to the eternal tug-of-war between the logical brain and the emotional brain. If you could make these two frenemies work together, you could master the art of sticking to a routine. This is the essence of Switch by the brilliant duo, Chip & Dan Heath.

Picture this: an elephant (representing the emotional mind), a rider (the rational mind), and a path (your environment). Switch uses this metaphorical trio to unravel the chaos of our daily struggles. We often find ourselves stuck because our surroundings are throwing our emotional elephant for a loop. And let’s not forget the over-analysis trap — the infamous analysis paralysis. It’s all about finding the sweet spot between these two extremes. Switch serves up the recipe for taming The Rider, nudging The Elephant, and carving The Path.

Chip & Dan Heath’s Switch isn’t just a how-to for adopting a wholesome routine; it’s your guide to sustaining the change. Celebrate those tiny victories — that’s the secret sauce. The real-life tales woven into the book aren’t tales of superheroes but regular folks turning the mundane into the extraordinary. 

My favorite quotes from Switch by Chip & Dan Heath

“A good change leader never thinks, “Why are these people acting so badly? They must be bad people.” A change leader thinks, “How can I set up a situation that brings out the good in these people?”
“Change is hard because people wear themselves out. And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”
“Fundamental Attribution Error.” The error lies in our inclination to attribute people’s behavior to the way they are rather than to the situation they are in.”

2. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Image: Goodreads

The moments right after waking up and right before sleeping wield the power to shape the trajectory of your entire life. 

Trust me, it’s no exaggeration. 

When my daily routine resembled more chaos than consistency, Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning swooped in, revealing the secret sauce to optimize my mornings. Elrod’s S.A.V.E.R.S technique isn’t just a morning routine; it’s a blueprint for life transformation.

Let’s dissect these six game-changing habits tucked within the pages: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. 

  • Silencing the mind during morning meditations established a connection with my inner self, casting a calming aura over my day. 
  • Affirmations, once skeptically shrugged off, turned out to be a verbal catalyst for reshaping my reality. 
  • Visualizing success for a mere ten minutes a day is a powerful way to craft a mental roadmap to your goals.
  • A minimum of twenty minutes dedicated to physical movement is the jumpstart our bodies need to shift from rest mode to full-on activation. 
  • Resist the temptation of diving into the digital abyss the moment you open your eyes. Replace that smartphone scroll with a good read, setting the tone for personal growth and success.
  • Now, the pièce de résistance — journaling. It’s not just about jotting down thoughts; it’s a profound tool for self-discovery, progress tracking, and fostering gratitude. 

The Miracle Morning doesn’t just hand you a routine; it gifts you a morning ritual that’s intentional, transformative, and downright revolutionary.

My biggest takeaway was the 5-second rule from the book — count from five to one and leap into action. It’s not a promise; it’s a potential reality waiting for you to seize it.

My favorite quotes from The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

“Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.”
“Discipline creates a lifestyle.”
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

3. Manage Your Day-to-Day 

Image: Goodreads

Convincing someone that creativity is a skill you can develop through practice is an uphill battle. The common belief is that you should wait around for inspiration to strike. But here’s the truth: if you’re looking to stay productive, that’s not the secret sauce. The real deal is in crafting a daily routine that’s disciplined and aligns with your long-term goals. Whether your work demands a marriage of creativity and productivity or you simply want to find joy in your tasks, Manage Your Day-to-Day is the guide you’ve been searching for.

We all have a body clock, a rhythm dictating our energy levels throughout the day. The cardinal rule? Mornings are the powerhouse of productivity, afternoons are for other tasks, and evenings are reserved for planning, a dash of entertainment, and some well-earned rest. I stumbled upon this gem, and it’s been a game-changer.

Here’s the epiphany — ditch the morning email marathon. Instead of being a pawn in others’ chess games, reclaim your mornings for personal growth. Manage Your Day-to-Day brings forth some nifty hacks for a productive routine: 

  • single-tasking, 
  • the art of relaxation, and 
  • setting work boundaries. 

And let’s talk about your environment — it’s not just about feng shui; it plays a starring role in your focus game. Kick distractions to the curb by organizing your workspace, silencing notifications, and carving out sacred blocks of uninterrupted work time. Intrigued? There’s more where that came from — crack open the pages of this book and soak in the wisdom. Trust me; it’s a game-changer waiting to reshape your routine and infuse your days with purpose.

My favorite quotes from Manage Your Day-to-Day 

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
“Frequency makes starting easier. Getting started is always a challenge. It’s hard to start a project from scratch, and it’s also hard each time you re-enter a project after a break. By working every day, you keep your momentum going.”

4. The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

Let’s talk about the most underrated luxury in our lives — a good night’s sleep. It’s a privilege not everyone can boast of, and the absence of a proper sleeping routine can wreak havoc on our health, mind, and work. Amid our relentless, fast-paced lives, Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution emerges as a beacon, addressing the sleep crisis and guiding us on the journey to mastering our sleep.

Consider this book a wake-up call, especially for someone like me who was in the throes of a terrible sleep schedule. The root cause of the sleep crisis, as pointed out by Huffington, lies in our societal failure to prioritize rest as much as we do work. In a world of overachievers, where the expectation is to juggle a multitude of tasks, a 24-hour day feels woefully inadequate. The Sleep Revolution boldly challenges society’s norms, urging us to recognize the profound importance of sleep and debunking the myth that success requires sacrificing our rest.

Delving into the science of sleep, the book explores its intricate connection to cognitive, emotional, and physical health. Factors like technology and corporate culture have insidiously altered our sleep patterns. The practical strategies shared in the book have been my saving grace, transforming my sleep habits. Now, I consciously prioritize sleep over everything else, and the positive changes are evident in my life.

If you’re seeking a well-rested, revitalized life, dive into these pages. Trust me; it’s a journey worth taking.

My favorite quotes from The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

“By helping us keep the world in perspective, sleep gives us a chance to refocus on the essence of who we are. And in that place of connection, it is easier for the fears and concerns of the world to drop away.”
“When we feel like there isn’t enough time in the day for us to get everything done, when we wish for more time,” wrote sociologist Christine Carter, “we don’t actually need more time. We need more stillness.”

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