One of my favourite songs in all of Disney is “When Will My Life Begin” from Tangled.
This is because Rapunzel literally spends the song describing the details of her daily routine.
7am the usual morning lineup
Start on the chores and sweep ’til the floor’s all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry and mop and shine up
Sweep again and by then it’s like 7:15
It is a princess planner in a SONG and it is marvelous.
She fits an extraordinary amount of activity into her day. While part of this is movie magic (that “book or maybe 2 or 3″ she’s reading each day must have a LOT of pictures in it…), there is a lesson to be taken from her methods.
What’s ingenius about Rapunzel’s planning technique is that each task leads into the next.
She’s got the ritual down, incorporating all her favourite things into her daily life. (Sadly, her tower-dwelling circumstances do not give her the freedom to break the routine and take a day off, but that’s another matter).
The verses of her daily routine song are structured around daily fixtures: getting up at 7am, having lunch, and fitting in extra tasks at the end of the day if there’s time. While the tasks may differ from person to person, what everyone can learn from Rapunzel is how she sets triggers:
- 7am —> get up
- have lunch —> puzzles and darts and baking
How does this work in the “real world”?
A couple months ago, I made a bad habit goal: eat something green every day.
My heart was in the right place. My motivations were sound. Healthy, even.
But “every day” is a terrible point of accountability. I kept finding myself, at the end of the day, going wasn’t I supposed to do something? Oh yeah. Eat green food. Did I do that?
- Go outside every morning.
- Tackle my emails for 30 minutes after lunch.
- Meditate before bed.
What do these goals have in common?
They are all time-bound.
Setting a trigger
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you already have triggers set in your daily routine.
- Get up –> Brush your teeth.
- Sit down at a café –> Take off your coat.
- Stand in a queue –> Take out your phone and start scrolling.
A key to habit-forming is to incorporate a trigger that will lead you to performing the habit.
Set your habits around what’s already fixed in your day.
The Morning Routine gets a lot of attention, but you can have routines and rituals in the afternoons and evenings as well.
After eating lunch, I put on the kettle and enjoy a cup of tea while I work on my emails. While I’m on a roll at my computer, I check on the Lumos Your Life common room right afterwards. After dinner, I sit down and plan out the next day. After a call with my business coach, I go for a run to process the new ideas we’ve discussed, and shake out all the stress of the day.
When you’re setting a new habit, or taking on a new commitment ask yourself:
- What do I want to get done?
- What am I already getting done? What is fixed in my schedule?
- When is the best time for me to do the new habit?
Let me know how it goes!
P.S. Still stuck? For some extra guidance, how about we sit down to chat about your organisation methods? I have a limited number of free Prologue calls to give away each month: sign up for yours here!