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5 Powerful Daily Rituals That Will Increase Your Productivity

'Here are 5 powerful daily rituals that will increase your productivity and decrease your stress levels.'
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Are you feeling overwhelmed, scattered, and like there's never enough time in the day? 

Well, you're not alone. As a freelance writer, it's way too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind and lose sight of what really matters. 

It’s a problem we all have.  

So today, I want to share with you 5 powerful daily rituals that will help you regain your focus, boost your productivity, and avoid burnout.

Who am I to give you advice?

I’m Trudy Rankin. I'm a digital strategist, online business consultant, online course creator and writer. I've run my own online business for 9 years now. And I've had more than a few twists and turns as I’ve learned what to do and what not to do to achieve my goals. 

And because of what I’ve learned, I’ve become passionate about helping overworked and overwhelmed freelance writers like you grow your writing business without burning out or giving up.

So if you're ready to, once again, dive into growing your freelance writing business, and learn how to use daily rituals to get more done with less stress, let’s get cracking. 

What Is A Daily Ritual?

Daily rituals are things you deliberately do every day, usually at the same time, that help you refocus your mind and energy.  There are so many different rituals you can use that can be helpful. 

But today I want to share with you the 5 key daily rituals I consistently use that have made a big difference for me and for my business.

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My First Ritual Of The Day Moves My Focus Away From Me

In the mornings, after I've had a bit of breakfast, I like to spend a few minutes reading something that is thought provoking ... usually from a spiritual perspective. 

It could be a poem or something from an author I admire.  Sometimes it’s reading something by someone whose ideas and approach to spirituality I’m challenged by.  And sometimes it’s some of the great works that have been around for hundreds of years. 

In the past I’ve read through parts of the Bible and the Koran/Quran, worked my way through the creation narratives of several other cultures and been challenged by writers and books as diverse as Phillip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace, Karen Armstrong’s The Case For God and Paul Brand’s The Gift Of Pain: Why We Hurt And What We Can Do About It (all affiliate links).

Why have a morning ritual based around spirituality?  Because it makes me think about more than just myself and move beyond the daily grind to a bigger picture of who we are and why we’re here. 

And I believe that taking the focus off of ourselves, even for just a few minutes a day, is a really healthy way of putting all our problems and challenges into perspective.  Especially at times when maybe it feels like the whole weight of the world is on our shoulders.

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My 2nd Daily Ritual Helps Keep My Sanity Intact

Like you, my days are very busy and full on.  What with producing and being on podcasts, managing content websites, writing multiple newsletters, creating and running courses, coaching and doing collaboration projects, the demands on my time are intense.

So every day, without fail, I go for a walk.  It’s almost always for an hour, although sometimes circumstances mean I have to go for a shorter time.  There is something just so hugely cathartic in simply walking.  In being outside in nature and putting one foot in front of the other. 

Usually while I’m walking, I will listen to podcasts.  They are a great way to gather ideas and learn new things.  However, occasionally, I’ll just walk and try not to think, especially if there’s a lot happening and my brain is feeling a bit fried and I’m struggling to concentrate.

And while I’m walking and listening (or just thinking), I’m also watching the scenery around me.  I’m fortunate to be in a location where the walking paths follow a small creek whose banks are covered with green trees and shrubs.  Which means that there are often lots of different types of birds.  Herons hunting frogs.  Magpies warbling their liquid songs and sleek black ravens eying me beadily as I go past their perch on a fence railing.

It’s a time when all of my senses are engaged in a wholistic and coordinated way.  And I find that my daily walking ritual results in some of the most productive thinking time I have, whether I’m listening to a podcast episode or not.

Image shows a collage of bird images (taken by author Trudy Rankin).  From left to right, 3 sulphur crested cockatoos on green lawn, 1 swamp hen on bark chips and a kookaburra sitting on a tree branch

My 3rd Daily Ritual Keeps Me On Track During The Day

This daily ritual is 4-step process that takes a bit of discipline to do, but pays off far in excess of the effort it takes.

Step 1: Review My Daily Goals

I do my weekly planning on Mondays.  So every morning, the first step in this daily ritual is to take a look at what I’ve planned for the day and revise it if necessary. 

Then I spend a couple of minutes thinking about how I’m going to get my #1 most important thing done and then my #2 and #3 next important things … and how to squeeze in all the admin tasks that sneak in whether I want them to or not.

My planning system has evolved over the years and I’ve developed my own planner that includes all the things I need to keep me on track.  I use that planner, plus copious amounts of Post-It notes to keep my day going smoothly. 

Step 2: Track My Daily Goal Completion

And so the second step in this daily ritual happens later in the day.   Every afternoon at the end of my working day, I go through my planner for the day and do a bit of a check-in to see what’s been completed and what needs to be moved to another day.

If something has been completed, I’ll give it a tick and crumple up the relevant Post-it note.  If something hasn’t been completed, it gets an X and the Post-it note gets moved to the next suitable slot for when I have time to work on it.

There is something very satisfying and tactile about being able to tick something off a list.  And crumpling up that Post-it note and pitching it into the recycle bin is just that little something extra. 

There’s a little psychological kick there (endorphin hit?) that makes it feel like I’ve cleaned something off of my plate … which always feels like it’s too full, so it’s a relief when something gets removed.

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Step 3: Review How The Day Went

The third step in this process is to do a daily review.  I’ll think back through the day and write down 3 things that were amazing.  Sometimes it can be hard to come up with something that actually was amazing. 

On days like that, I think it’s more than enough just to say that I had a crack at something.  I tried to do something different or new.  Or even sometimes, that I made it through the day even if I didn’t feel like working.

Step 4: Doing It Better

For the fourth and final step in this process I answer the question “what could I have done better?”  Some days, I’ll know I could have done something better or differently and I’ll make a note of that.  Other days, it’s enough to say that my day has been okay. 

And when my days are okay, I’m grateful.  It’s the mark of success for me and means things are on track, heading the right direction and that things are on an even keel, emotionally.  Not too high, not too low.  Just right for me.

The Bonus Part Of This Daily Ritual

The really valuable part of doing this daily planning and review is that months later, if you’re having a down day (and we all have them), you can go back and have a look at how things used to be. 

You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll suddenly realise that where you are now is way far ahead of where you used to be.  And you should be patting yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made, not slamming yourself for some imagined lack of skill or lack of progress.

It’s a great way to give yourself a mental boost.  And we can all use those small mental boosts, whether we run a business or not.

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My 4th Daily Ritual Gives Me Permission To Take Deliberate Mindfulness Breaks When I Need Them

I tend to work in blocks of time.  And as I get to the end of these blocks (or if I feel my concentration starting to lag during them), I’ll walk away from my desk and look out the window. 

Or I'll go outside and spend 5 minutes with the plants on my balcony.  If that's not enough, then sometimes I’ll spend a couple of minutes doing a quick intensive strength training exercise or some stretches.

If I really really need to clear my head, I’ll do a quick walk around the block.  It doesn’t take long and the fresh air can do wonders to stop the gerbil wheels spinning around in my thoughts.

Taking multiple mindfulness breaks during the day is a great way to keep your productivity levels high.  You can meditate or listen to a song, whilst focusing completely on the music and words.  You can draw or doodle a picture.  Spend 10 minutes doing your favourite craft.  Do a puzzle.  Write in your journal.  Whatever it is, 10-15 minutes is all it takes to make a difference.

The key here is to allow yourself to get lost in doing something else besides work. Something that soaks up all your attention and lets your mind reset.

There are so many ways you can stop, refocus and clear your mind.  You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to doing something that works for you.

I Do My 5th Daily Ritual In The Evening

Once I’m in bed and my head has hit the pillow, I like to think about the people I care about (there are a lot of them) and the things I’m grateful for.

I’m one of those people who can lie there staring at the ceiling … sometimes for hours, waiting for that elusive sandman to send me into a (hopefully) dreamless sleep.  So I usually have plenty of time to stew on things that have happened during the day, either bad or good.

That makes this an especially important ritual, particularly if I’ve had a rough day.  Maybe things haven’t gone right or I’ve lost a client or I tried something new and it blew up in my face.  But even when I’ve had a good day, the mental “high” as I remember how things went, can keep me awake too.

So by thinking about the things I am actually grateful for, I’m removing any space for thinking about all the “wows” or the “not so wows” from that day.  And if I’m feeling grumpy, it helps reset my mindset away from me to whatever it is that’s making my life better just because it’s there.

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So There You Have It 

Those are my 5 simple yet powerful daily rituals to help me get more done while staying grounded, sane, focused and not burnout. 

  • Focus on something wider than yourself
  • Do something physical that lets your mind rest
  • Plan, review and comment on your day
  • Take regular, deliberate mindfulness breaks
  • Think about what you're grateful for

If you don’t have any daily rituals yet, I’d encourage you to start small by picking just 1-2 of the ones I’ve mentioned (or something that works for you) to incorporate into your routine. It make take a bit for those daily rituals to become a regular habit, but be patient with yourself.  

If you want to speed up your daily ritual adoption process, take a look at James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits (affiliate link).  I found it really helpful for building new habits and keeping them going over the longer term.

Over time, your daily rituals will become second nature and you’ll wonder how you ever got on without them.  Their positive impact will help you do more than before and with less stress.

So all the best as you get out there and start building or extending your daily rituals. 

Please note that as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.  That means that if you click on one of our affiliate links (these are clearly identified) then we will receive a small commission, for which we thank you.  It helps us keep on providing informative posts that help you build your freelance writing career and business.