It doesn’t matter if you work at an office job, run your own business, or do a combination of both - having a routine is absolutely necessary for productivity and personal growth. Discipline is freedom, and learning how to get things done is essential for both personal and professional development.
Not only have I experienced this with my own journey, but also with sooo many others! I often find through conversations that people aren’t chasing their passions because of lack of ambition, but because they don’t have the right time management tools in place. Being able to determine and set non-negotiables are at the core of these tools.
Below I’m not only going to explain to you what non-negotiables are, but I’m giving you a list of 5 in-depth non-negotiables you should be setting up in your daily routine for maximum growth.
WHAT ARE NON-NEGOTIABLES?
Daily non-negotiables are routine tasks that you simply will not compromise on. They are things you will make time for - no matter who calls, texts, or what comes up.
These are boundaries you set for yourself and others. These boundaries allow you to feel in control and to get things done.
It’s your life and you have to set the boundaries of it. If you are an entrepreneur or creative - this is absolutely needed to keep structure and productivity in your life.
Below we go through 5 non-negotiables for daily productivity.
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uninterrupted work TIME
Setting aside time to work on your goals and projects is incredibly important. Too often people plan out their daily tasks, then drop the ball on their to-do list when other matters come up. If that’s you, stop it.
In my opinion, this is the number one thing people need to set non-negotiables for. To achieve the things you want in life, you need to set aside time for those things. It’s not always easy, it’s not always convenient, but it needs to be done.
We all have the same 24 hours in the day, it’s what we choose to do with those hours that counts.
For example, if you work from home, then perhaps you set aside a 5 hour period during the week where you take no interruptions. This means no coffee dates, no phone calls, and no social media. If a friend calls and wants to meet up, then you make sure it’s after this period.
Maybe it’s simply writing for the first hour of every day.
Whatever it is, set time aside for it and try to keep it consistent. Try marking it in your calendar, in your phone, or simply on a sheet of paper when you start your day. By reminding yourself that this is a priority, you will develop a habit that can help you achieve your goals everyday.
Daily success starts the night before. This is because you only have so much energy, and so much time, every day. If you waste both trying to make decisions on what your day is about - you’ve already used up some of your best energy actually achieving nothing.
Also, procrastination leads to more procrastination. For most people, morning planning is a great way to do just that - procrastinate.
That’s why you need to plan the night before. Make a list of what you want to accomplish, and when you want to accomplish it. Use it to help you develop a routine that lets you get the most out of your time and energy - in the morning.
Now there are many different ways you can do this - including setting up a to-do list or by blocking out hours in your day. I recommend giving both a try and determining which works best for you.
I also recommend my article: Become a Morning Person: 5 Proven Methods
Health affects your mood, it affects your focus, and it most definitely affects your energy. If all of those things are in the negative, there is a good chance that you will get nothing done - no matter how much time you set aside.
Figure out what makes you feel good and block off time for it.
Is it going for a morning run?
Is it going to the gym?
Is it eating healthy?
What about meditating?
Maybe it’s setting aside breaks during the day to go for a walk.
Figure out what makes you feel at your physical best and set make time for it. It might mean less time you spend on your phone, in front of the TV, or doing monotonous chores. However, everybody has time to put their health first. Doing it is simply a matter of finding what part of that time works best for you.
Also be sure to check out my article on how intermittent fasting can improve your daily life.
a strict sleep schedule
When I was in college, I would try to do all-nighters, only to find out that I would have done better by not cramming and sleeping instead. Sound familiar?
If there was one thing I learned from those days, it was that if I prioritize sleep first then the rest of my priorities could be conquered a lot more easily.
We need sleep to be our best selves, that’s why we need to set up boundaries and not negotiate it.
Find a sleep schedule that works for you (or sleep hours) and stick to it. Be consistent. The more consistent you are the better you will feel.
So many people are willing to compromise on their sleep and then spend their day complaining about how they have no energy and can't focus. Don’t let this be you. Set aside time to catch up on your sleep - and your body will thank you.
Setting aside time for personal growth is my favorite.
Personal growth can mean numerous things, but in this instance it means setting time aside for your education and self-improvement.
I use to work at a university - and one of the things my predecessor use to do is set aside Friday afternoons for personal growth. He took what would normally be the least productive time of his week and made it incredibly productive. He did this by using it for self-improvement.
He didn’t work on any tasks, take meetings or make phone calls. Most importantly, he didn’t try to “milk the clock”. Instead he found interesting subjects and invested time into learning them - often times resulting in new creative and productive ideas that benefited himself and his job.
He would read articles, watch educational videos, or simply learn a new task. In some instances, he would even sit in on a university course.
If there is one thing I learned from training from him, it was doing this one thing: learning. I set aside time everyday to listen to podcasts, read ebooks, learn about the world, or practice a new task. Sometimes I even invest in affordable online courses.
The thing is, you don’t need an afternoon to achieve this. You can use your lunch breaks, your time laying in bed, or the you are cleaning and making dinner.
Replace time spent listening to music or playing on social media with personal development - you’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn.
FINDING YOUR DAILY NON-NEGOTIABLES
Non-negotiables are about setting boundaries for yourself and others - so you can get stuff done. It helps prioritize YOU so can you can be the best you in your business and professional life.
The most successful people in the world have the same 24 hours that the laziest people in the world do - it’s just a matter of how they choose to use those hours.
It’s simply up to you to determine how you will use yours.