Routine gets a bad rep in my experience. You frequently hear people talking in negative terms about things being ‘so routine’ or making fun of people who bring exactly the same lunch into work every day. What people often seem to miss are the benefits that having routines can bring.
Most of us will have a morning routine, and the benefit is we get up, shower, have breakfast, all without having to really think about it. The routine allows us to make progress through the early part of the day while we are still emerging from a sleep-addled state.
The morning routine though is probably one we have fallen into over the years, rather than a set of steps we have consciously put together to achieve the best use of time before we leave the house. Taking the time to proactively consider what things we need to do, and what order they are best done in, allows us to make short term plans we can repeat on a regular basis to the point where they become habitual and we can benefit from almost autopilot efficiency. Not having to think about the small things gives us more time to consider the bigger, more important stuff.
The same is true for repeated activities over a longer time periods; rather than just having an aspiration to learn specific skill such as playing guitar, or completing a project such as redesigning the garden, setting aside a specific time each week to do so helps create the structure to actually make progress. Your brain anticipates the planned activity, will start considering what you could be working on next and allows you ensure any potential distractions (such as a mounting pile of washing) can be dealt with in advance rather than act as an excuse not to start moving towards your goal.
It all links into having goals and setting out plans to get there (see What’s the plan?), leveraging routine can be a powerful tool to make it all happen.
Got a routine you swear by? drop it in the comments below. Fancy some ideas on morning routines of successful people? check out this podcast from Tim Ferris
PS. After just over a week the blog writing is slowly becoming part of my daily routine albeit without a dedicated timeslot and in the back of my mind I’m regularly thinking about the next post. Previously dead time is now often spent drafting posts instead of idly trawling social media.