The Importance of Daily Rituals

How much time do you waste thinking and deciding what you should do next?  How much emotional energy gets wasted on trivial things that could be predetermined in advance?

We all have a finite amount of energy and willpower.  By creating rituals: a predetermined list of actions, we eliminate the friction and drain on our emotional energy.  This allows us to sharpen our concentration and use our energy and willpower on the things that matter most.

By creating these seemingly simple rituals you create the rhythms necessary to sharpen your concentration and focus on the things that matter most.

Below are some examples of the rituals I follow.  I’m sure you are like me, you are a creature of habit.  I realized I can either be intentional and have useful rituals or be mindless and have unproductive ones.

Morning Rituals: 
What do you do everyday when you wake up?

  • Wake up at my predetermined time
  • Brew coffee, drink a large glass of water, and drink a vegetable drink
  • Pray, read my Bible and Journal
  • Read for 30 minutes before my kids wake up for school
  • Engage each of my 3 kids as they wake up for school
  • Capture what I read while wearing noise canceling headphones
  • Write and work on my goals once my kids leave for school
  • Shower and get ready for work

Workday Start up Rituals: 
What are the first things you will do in the office?

  • Arrive in the office by 8:30 am
  • Turn on my laptop and desk light
  • Go over daily Big 3
  • Plan morning standing meeting with staff
  • Open email for first time and process inbox
  • Review and reply to slack messages

Workday Shutdown Rituals:
What will you do 30 minutes before leaving the office for the day?

  • Final look at email: Review and reply
  • Review and reply to slack
  • Capture open loops in todoist
  • Review tomorrow’s calendar and todoist
  • Organize desk and clean up office
  • Create a rough plan of tomorrow’s tasks
  • Pack up laptop
  • Text my wife that I am leaving the office

Evening Rituals: 
What do you want to do at the end of the day before going to bed?

  • Sit at the dinner table and have dinner as a family
  • Spend intentional time with my family
  • Read a devotion with my kids / Participate in bedtime
  • Pick out tomorrows clothes
  • Let the dog out and close up the house
  • Disengage from digital devices (phone, laptop, iPad) by 9pm
  • Read for 30 minutes
  • Share 3 wins with my wife
  • Pray with my wife
  • Brush and floss my teeth
  • In bed and lights out by 10PM

These simple, seemingly innocuous rituals help me to stay focused on what matters most.  They help me to maintain a higher than average level of energy and willpower.  Ultimately, they help me to accomplish more than I could if I left these routine activities up to memory or day to day decisions.

Question: What one thing can you do today to maximize one of your daily rituals?
Resources: Here are a few resources that have taken my rituals to a whole new level.

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About the Author

Andrew VanDerLinden

Andrew is the Executive Pastor at Community Church in Eastern PA.

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