Power of Routines

Routines are a simple method to guarantee that you do the same thing at the same time in the same way every day.  Routines allow you to decide ahead of time what you are going to do, make the decision once, and then spend all of your effort executing rather than pondering what you should do next. Here are some examples of beneficial routines:

  • Reading something helpful for your career for 15 minutes each day during your lunch break.
  • Going for a 30 minute walk every evening.
  • An hour first thing in the morning spent with 15 minutes organizing your desk, 15 minutes sending networking emails and 30 minutes writing for your blog,

Those are just some simple examples, but the point is to create habits that cause you to repeat productive behavior. You don’t want to allow yourself to decide over and over again whether or not you are going to do it.  Most people brush their teeth as a routine.  It isn’t something that they put any mental energy into trying to decide if they should do it or not. When you can take other beneficial habits and move them to the same type of position in your daily activities, you can dramatically increase the amount you accomplish.

Most people drastically underestimate how much time and effort goes into deciding what to do next.  Time management systems are designed to help decrease the amount of time you spend on this activity. Routines help make sure you are making continual improvement toward your goals.

Just as positive routines are very valuable, negative routines can be extremely damaging.  Here are some examples of regular activities that can have negative long-term results:

  • Buying a soda and/or candy bar every afternoon.
  • Channel surfing for hours everyday.
  • Browsing the web for “five minutes” first thing in the morning.
  • Staying up late watching TV instead of going to bed.
  • Looping around the parking lot “just one more time” to try to find a closer parking space.
  • Skipping your child’s baseball game.

Routines are the systems you use to run your life.  Good systems will get you good results while bad systems will get you bad results.  Pay attention to what you are doing on a regular basis and work to develop habits you will be proud of that will push you toward your goals instead of away from them.

photo by ella_marie

Comments

  1. Ash says

    Excellent post. The first thing I thought after reading the first sentence was, “Checking my e-mail when I sit down to finish a task is probably a bad routine.”

  2. says

    Routine may sound boring and rigid, but it makes a person’s life easier. It lets us accomplish objectives thus, making us more efficient. With a routine in place, you get the work done at half the time because no time is wasted trying to figure out what to do next. Building consistent routines into our schedule simplifies our lives, boosts personal productivity, and increases the chance of success in life.

  3. says

    wow, i just realized what i was doing all along does work. having a routine actually shortens the task and makes things more efficient. although the bad thing about me is that when the routine is disrupted, my day is like a train wreck.

  4. says

    Fabulous post! And I agree with many of the comments already posted. It’s so true that when my morning routines get interrupted, my day does seem to be derailed like a train. Routines CAN be both positive and negative and it’s so important to increase our positive routines and take the negative ones and turn them around into postiive ones. Not only will this increase our productivity, but it will also increase our happiness with our life. Ola

  5. says

    i just remembered how much i agree on this article. i have a sleep habit routine for my 1 year old daughter. i give her a bath then put her to sleep. the routine is so effective that even if it’s still a bit early at night and i give her a bath, she automatically falls asleep afterwards. it’s like the bath is her switch button every night when i try to get her to sleep. :)

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