Have you ever taken the time to dream up your ideal day routine? Maybe you’ve even lived your ideal day a few times. My ideal day is something I think about often, especially as an entrepreneur creating my schedule from scratch. But sometimes creating an ideal day routine can feel like creating the “perfect” workout routine: shiny and enticing, but ultimately elusive.
Before we head into how to design your ideal day, I’d like to offer you permission to let go of the idea that ideal=perfect. Your ideal day will always shift and change as you move through life. No two days are the same, and you won’t experience everything on your ideal day list every single day. It’s the small adjustments to your day that will bring you closer to your vision of what this looks like for you.
By slowly adding in habits and routines that you’d like to incorporate into your ideal day, you get not only closer your ideal day, but also to your values, your definitions of success, and your inner voice. Keep scrolling to try out my process for creating my ideal day routine!
Create Your Ideal Day Routine
First, you’re going to conjure up what an ideal day looks like for you. I find it helpful to do this exercise separately for an ideal workday and weekend. Before you begin, have a notebook and pen nearby. You can do this exercise one of two ways. The first option is to read through the questions I’ve listed below, close your eyes, spend 5-10 minutes envisioning your ideal day, and then write it out. If you prefer to just start writing, answer each question one by one in a stream of conscious manner in your notebook.
Either way you choose, give yourself permission to let go of what you think your day “should” look like, or any “restrictions” you think you have right now in your schedule. We’ll think about logistics later. For now, feel through every moment from when you wake up to when you fall asleep. What comes up for you? How do you want to feel in each of these moments? Ideal should be your definition of ideal, not anyone else’s. Ideal doesn’t mean you work out for an hour every morning if your body likes to move in the afternoon. Do what feels best for you and your rhythms.
Ideal Day Visualization Questions
- How do you wake up? What time do you wake up?
- How do you spend your morning? Do you move your body in the morning, do you listen to a podcast, do you spend time with a loved one or making your favorite breakfast?
- What’s your environment like?
- What are you wearing?
- What does your workday look like? Where are you, what are you doing, who are you working with, what does your work schedule look like?
- What time do you stop working? What does your evening look like? Who are you with, what are you doing?
- Do you do any of your favorite hobbies during the day?
- How do you spend your night? What’s your bedtime routine like?
- Most importantly: how do you feel while you move through this ideal day?
My ideal workday looks like this:
- Wake up around 6:30-7am and roll into a 20-30 minute workout or yoga session at home
- Meditate for 5-10 minutes
- Shower and get ready with energizing music or a podcast
- Eat a delicious, filling breakfast (my favorite meal of the day!)
- Sit down at my desk and do 10-15 minutes of journaling or reading to center myself before I launch into work
- Write out my top 3 priorities for the day
- Spend the first 2-3 hours of the day doing creative work- brainstorming new projects, writing, taking photos for my blog, or taking a course to learn something new. I might head to my favorite coffee shop to work for this creative part of the day.
- Check my email and take care of any client needs
- Take 1 hour for lunch. Sit outside or take a quick walk
- Depending on my current projects, I’ll save the afternoons for client image editing, heading to a shoot, or more creative work. In my ideal work life, I’m doing creative work as much as possible, rather than chasing tasks all day.
- End the workday with a recap of wins and plan for the following day
- If I’ve gotten my top 3 priorities done, I’d end work at about 4 or 5 so I have an hour to wind down before dinner. I’d use that time to scrapbook, get outside, take a bath, read, call a friend, etc.!
- Make dinner with Hunter and chat about our days
- Hang out with Hunter in the evening. Maybe we’d walk on the beach, plan our next house project, or watch our current favorite show- all sans iPhones!
- Do a 20-30 minute night routine. I’d stretch, give myself a mini-facial, or meditate (or a combination of all 3!)
- Lastly, I’ll be in bed by 9:30pm to read, relax, or go to sleep early
- During my ideal day, I want to feel creative, light, flexible, and focused.
2. Refine Your Ideal Day
Now that you’ve gotten your ideal day down on paper, refine your list. Take a look at your writing and circle or underline anything that really excites you. What would you be so STOKED to have more of in your days? Cross out anything that feels like an expectation or something you “should” be doing. For example, you might write down that you want to do a HIIT workout on your ideal day, but actually, yoga usually feels way better to you. Go with your gut here and don’t second-guess yourself and your preferences.
3. Live Your Ideal Day
It’s tempting once you’ve visualized your ideal day to immediately want to implement your “perfect” schedule. Keep in mind that ideal does not mean perfect, nor will you ever achieve a perfect day, every day. Our minds want perfection, but in actuality flexibility is key to helping you feel the most in flow with how you want to feel each day. I say this as a recovering type A planner and organizer (still me, but I’m learning to love being flexible!). What works in one season may not work in another, and that’s okay! Your preferences will change as you move through life.
Something I learned from my friend Chelsea Connors, a genius on the topic of emotional wellbeing and founder of The Practice membership, is the concept of workability. Look at what you’ve highlighted in your ideal day brainstorm and let’s start to think about how you can work these into your life right now. Instead of feeling restricted by your current schedule, consider what ONE thing from your list you can implement. Maybe you can swap scrolling on your phone in the morning for a 10-minute meditation. When you circle back to how you want to feel, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to form new habits.
4. Take It Further
It’s important as you start building new habits and things into your days to keep them top of mind. I like to write about my ideal day often with different journaling prompts like, “how do I want to feel today?” and “what am I excited about in my life right now?”. You could also create a vision board, affirmation, mantra, or a list of intentions to keep at your desk or on your mirror. Circling back to my ideal day often keeps me grounded in what’s important to me and how I want to go through my days, so I encourage you to try it too!
As you get more comfortable building your ideal day, take it further by visualizing your ideal week, month, or year. My motto is live what you love, meaning infuse your life with as many things that bring you joy as possible. Undoubtedly, it’s the most simple tweaks that make the biggest impact on how we feel day-to-day!