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