I’m a broken record whenever I say productivity is a muscle that gets better the more you work on it. And one exercise that helps strengthen this muscle is the structure of a routine.
In this blog post, I’ll be showing you how to use Google Calendar for creating routines, so you can enjoy more productive days and weeks.
5 Steps to Make a Daily Routine on Google Calendar
Let’s jump right in and see how you can create your own daily routine with the help of Google Calendar. All you need is a Google account and your corresponding Calendar app to get started.
1. Create a list of all the tasks you’d want to be doing consistently
First thing’s first, brainstorm about all the things you want to wish you were doing more consistently.
These could be those hard-to-fit-in activities that you know you ought to be doing but can just never seem to find the time for. Some examples of those are exercising or reading.
Also include other non-negotiables for your big goals. If your goal is create more consistent blog posts, put it on the list. If your goal is to practice guitar every day, put it in the list.
On the other hand, are there things you wish you could be doing less of?
A lot of people tell me they wish they’d spend less time on Instagram – but don’t want to cut it out entirely. That’s fine! Put that on the list together with those other hard-to-let-go-of time wasters like Netflix or YouTube.
Your most important task for this step: List down every single thing, big or small, that you want to do. (Yes, even things that help you relax, like a little bit of Netflix time.)
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2. Group them into general categories
Once you’ve exhausted your list, it’s time to move on to putting them into categories.
For an easier time, group them into general categories that require the same amount of effort on your part. So writing blog posts and creating videos might be put in the same category called Content Creation.
A few ideas for your own categories:
- Morning routine
- Evening routine
- Content creation
- Social media
Your categories can be as broad or as specific as you need them to be. Depending on where you are in your creative life, you might need more or less categories, or have different things in their own category.
For example, if you work a full-time job, you might create just one big category called Work that takes up the majority of your day.
But say you have a side hustle after work, you could create different categories that cover the different tasks you need to do to grow that side hustle.
For example, adding Outreach for when you want to reach out to potential clients; or Social Media Scheduling if creating social media posts is part of your marketing strategy.
Your most important task for this step: Keep your categories clear and defined. If it helps, re-do your list, this time focusing on the categories and the tasks that go under them.
3. Plot out when you’d like to schedule them in your day or week
Here’s the fun part – put those tasks on your calendar!
This is when you assign chunks of time in your day to these categories. A little pro-tip: don’t schedule anything for less than 30 minutes a day. You’ll need a little leg room to let yourself breathe. (Aka don’t go crazy and over-stuff your schedule!)
You might need a little trial and error to nail this down. In fact, if this is your first time creating a daily routine, your first schedule might not be your last.
You’ll find that you might have to move some things around depending on your energy in the week or as you notice important things about your own productivity that weren’t otherwise clear to you until now.
Another pro-tip: if you have categories that feel related to one another or use the same tools and materials, you might opt to put them all in the same day.
For example, you have a photography business and you take photos for your own website and for your clients. You could have set a category called Post-Processing for when you want to bulk edit your own photos. You also have a category called Admin Work for when you want to just tidy up and back up files, etc.
Since both these tasks involve sitting down by your computer, it might be possible to do them in the same day. After all, your computer is already up and ready to go.
Following this example, a YouTuber might schedule Video Shooting (category 1) and Social Media Photoshoot (category 2) all in the same day too. (This is because they probably have their studio set up, and would already have gotten ready to be in front of the camera!)
Your most important task for this step: Assign each category of tasks to specific times in your calendar. Don’t overthink it! You can always adjust later.
Another important task for this step: In order for this to become an effective routine, set each task as weekly-recurring tasks. (Or monthly-recurring, depending on the task, i.e. file taxes, etc.)
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4. Set reminders and notifications for important tasks
One handy feature I like about calendar apps is that you can notifications for when an event (or in this case, a task) is about to start.
While I still love putting pen to paper, admittedly they can’t just make a nice little ping to tell me when it’s time to start something else.
I like to set reminders for when it’s time to start important tasks. For example, after I take a lunch break and spend some time reading, I might set a notification to tell me when it’s time to start working again.
This just eliminates any chances of me getting carried away by whatever I might have my nose in.
This step is pretty optional, especially if you hate getting notifications (been there). But I can personally vouch for this and say that it helps me keep on top of the time.
Your most important task for this step: Set reminders after particularly long or draggy moments, such as following long breaks (lunch, reading, Netflix, etc.). If notifications scare you, reframe the scenario as the notifications being your tour guide that’s showing you the next thing you ought to do.
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5. Use as your daily productivity guide!
Now go have fun with your new routine care of Google Calendar!
Some notes you want to keep in mind:
This calendar is only meant to serve as a guide. Don’t see it as a prison that suffocates you and drags you to one task to the next.
Trust that whatever routine you set in your calendar is the person you want to be. You want to be an organized, productive, go-getting person – that’s why you made this calendar in the first place!
Stick to the schedule as best as you can, and I really mean give it your honest best.
If things come up (getting sick, events, family emergencies, etc), drag-and-drop your non-negotiables to a different time of the day or a different day of the week. Really, whatever works for you! There’s no hard and set rule for this.
What’s important is if you do reschedule, make sure you also update your calendar. And if you want to know why this is important, keep reading to the next section.
Why Use Google Calendar for Creating Routines
One reason I absolutely adore having a routine every week is because when I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and when I’m supposed to be doing it, I’m more likely to get things done instead of procrastinate.
Creating a schedule for yourself eliminates having to ask, “What am I supposed to be doing right now/today/this week?”
And, if you take a step back to notice, trying to answer that question can take up a lot of brain space and a lot of time!
So skip the overwhelm already and flow through your days and weeks with ease. My tool of choice? Google Calendar.
And of course, you didn’t think I was going to leave you without an example of this super-awesome daily routine, did you?
Check out the image below for an example of my own Google Calendar routine!
Leave me a comment:
Are you going to try making your own Google Calendar? What would yours look like? What would you do differently?