How to Create a Daily Routine for Drill Weekend

Today, I want to take a few minutes and educate you about how to create a daily routine for drill weekend.  Whether you are an officer, NCO or Soldier, you should come up with a daily routine for each drill weekend, so you can be productive, effective and work smart.

Let’s face it; we are all creatures of habit.  We love routines.  Most of us drive to work the same way every day, watch the same television channels all the time and even eat the same foods each week.  Routines make us comfortable.  One of the quickest ways to throw someone off is to change up their routine.

Life in the military is no different.  I think it’s smart to come up with some type of daily routine you can follow, even if you just do military training one weekend a month.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that every single drill weekend is different.  You have different missions, duties, locations and responsibilities.  That’s perfectly normal. That being said, I still think you can develop an effective daily routine to be a more effective leader.

Here are a few things I recommend you do:

# 1 Identify Routine Tasks

Although you will do different training every month, there are some routine tasks you will have to do every single month, which could include any of the following (depending upon your job title):

  • Counseling subordinates
  • Inspections
  • Physical Fitness
  • Signing Paperwork
  • Conducting meetings
  • Discipline Issues
  • Rehearsing
  • Check emails
  • Admin and awards

What I suggest you do is set scheduled time to do these before, after or during drill weekend, the same time every month.  Identify a time where you can make this happen, but still complete the scheduled training.

# 2 Arrive Early and Stay Late

During my time in Company Command, I typically got more work done the hour before and the hour after drill weekend than I did during the entire work day.  Let’s face it; we all have countless distractions throughout the day.  If you can schedule some time to arrive at the unit before training day, and even stay late, most of the Soldiers and distractions will be gone, and you can be extremely productive.

I’m not telling you to be a workaholic.  But, you might consider getting to the unit at least 30 minutes early and stay 30 minutes late to get some extra work done.  This will be your most productive time.

# 3 Identify Your Peak Hours

Not everyone is a morning person.  I know that I am most creative in the late afternoons.  Others folks are most productive in the mornings.  Know when you work best.  Schedule your tasks around your natural cycle so you can be more effective.  For example, if you are more attentive in the afternoons, do your counseling, meetings, writing, etc. in the afternoon and do things such as check your email and plan out your day in the morning.

# 4 Do Soldier Related Tasks When Soldiers are Present

Certain tasks require Soldiers to be physically present.  For example, you should do your counseling and mentoring during the duty day, so you don’t keep your subordinates at the armory past training hours.  Anything that must be done face-to-face with the Soldiers should be done during normal training hours.  Anything you can do by yourself should be done before or after drill weekend.

Here’s an example daily routine you could use during drill weekend.

  • 0530 Arrive at Unit
  • 0530-0545 Plan out your day
  • 0545-0600 Check emails
  • 0600-0620 Sign any required paperwork
  • 0630 First Formation
  • 0645-1130 Scheduled Work
  • 1130-1230 Meet with direct reports during lunch for mentoring, feedback, back-briefs, etc.
  • 1230-1630 Scheduled work
  • 1630 Final Formation
  • 1645-1700 Meeting with key leaders
  • 1700-1715 Review day and make to do list for following day
  • 1715-1800 Physical Fitness

As you can see from this example, you still did your scheduled training, but you also filled in blocks of time to do everything else that needs to get done.  This is what smart leaders do.

The bottom line is that having a daily routine during drill weekend is the smart thing to do.  Even though every drill weekend will be different than the previous month’s training, there are still many routine tasks you must do every month that you can fit into a daily routine.  Doing so will make your work day more enjoyable and productive.

What are your thoughts?  What tips can you suggest for setting up a daily routine for drill weekend?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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4 thoughts on “How to Create a Daily Routine for Drill Weekend”

  1. Going into the drill weekend with a plan and following that plan will make all the difference. As for your second point, “Arrive early and stay late,” is doing otherwise even an option? In my opinion, no matter what you are doing, this is the only way you can really take control of a situation before it takes control of you.

  2. Great post Chuck. By creating a daily routine, you are undertaking time management. If we try to do our duties and responsibilities on “the fly,” many items will get missed, or put on a back burner.

    The part you stated about figuring out when you work your best is very important. If you are a morning person, schedule the most important items for the morning. I have always tried to follow that method and it does work. We all have our most productive hours and days. We need to take advantage of them.

      1. I have always wondered how people manage to succeed at anything without a daily routine. It seems there are some people that can just “fly under the radar” and get by with it. I would not recommend thinking you are one of those people, and if you are at the moment, do realize that it could all catch up and bite you in the butt.

        Using a daily routine will show those above you that you are responsible and it will gain respect from those below you.

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