With everything you have to do on a daily basis, it can sometimes get to be a bit too much. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a startup, a small business owner, a home-based entrepreneur trying to juggle kids and family and still tend to your company, everyone struggles to find balance and figure out effective ways to get things done.
Here’s where routines come in handy. In fact, instead of considering daily routines as something boring or to be avoided at all costs, routine should actually be your friend.
I know I’ve come to appreciate the value of routines. Here’s why:
Routines are comfortable
Like that outfit you automatically reach for in the closet because you can just be yourself in it, a routine that’s established offers comfort.
You don’t have to worry that it isn’t the right one or try to figure out which one to use. You’ve got it down, know the steps, what to do first and what follows after that.
Less worry, more comfort. How easy is that?
Routines are familiar
When faced with something strange, the natural tendency is to shy away, to wonder if this is perhaps out of your league, to procrastinate until a deadline or demand forces you to take action.
On the other hand, even when you know you’re likely to encounter moments requiring you to make a decision today, you can still rely on the familiarity routines provide.
Familiarity in routines is like a dear friend. You know what to expect. There are no surprises. When I’m on autopilot – especially first thing in the morning when I’m not quite fully awake – my familiar routine is a blessing.
Routines are easy
While some routines can become unnecessarily complicated, the best ones are simple and easy to follow.
Who wants to think too hard about which part of the routine requires additional steps before you can begin? What you want is the cleanest, most straightforward and basic routine to make doing it as easy as possible.
The key is to break the routine into small, easy-to-follow steps. This helps cement it in your memory and you can pull it out whenever you need it.
Routines offer security
A lot of times you don’t get to choose what you have to work on today. Your boss, teacher, parent, friend, neighbor, acquaintance or associate or someone else lays down the itinerary for you. More than likely, they also insist on a deadline.
Not knowing what’s coming when tends to make you a little insecure. Enter the security of your familiar, comfortable and easy routine. Nothing like going back to basics to reestablish calm and give you the sense that you do have control over what you do.
Whenever I feel things getting out of control, I take the time to indulge in one of my favorite routines. Mine is having a delicious latte. The whole process of anticipation, making it and sipping it never fails to make me feel great.
Routines help you get started
Pressure to complete multiple projects often results in an unwillingness to begin on any of them. It may seem like the more you have on your to-do list, the less inclined you are to get started.
The beauty of routines is that they serve as a neat primer to get your energy revved up. Consider a routine as the spark that ignites the gasoline to power the car or the fuel in the breakfast that nourishes your body and mind.
Whether you make use of a routine to get up in the morning or go to bed at night – you might even refer to these as rituals — what you do before tackling a difficult or time-consuming project at work, or something you do before having an important conversation, routines are very good at helping you get started.
And sometimes we all need a little help doing that.
Routines serve as a transition or bridge
It’s a well-known fact that human beings can’t run flat-out for long periods of time. There are only so many all-nighters you can pull before your body gives out.
A routine makes transitioning from one state of energy, focus or concentration to another a little less jarring. It also helps to smooth the way from one task to the next by factoring in a buffer zone to refresh and regroup.
One of my favorite routines helps me do just that. It’s also good exercise. After working on a task for about an hour, I get up and walk downstairs, go outside to do something small in the garden (another familiar, comfortable and easy routine), or take a walk.
What are your favorite routines? Do you have some you use only in certain situations or that you find are more effective than others? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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