So here’s the paradox! -You work and work and work dream of the future when you can lie in everyday, do what you want, go to bed late and generally grow old disgracefully! But then it’s there and your brain is still wanting to be engaged and your body wants to move and there you are awake even without an alarm clock and there’s a voice in your head saying ” do something!” Without something in the diary you will get up with nothing to do because of course there’s always tomorrow or any day because there are no weekends anymore!
If Lockdown has shown us anything it’s the need for a routine but that also it’s totally unnecessary! Many are working from home and so avoiding the commute to and from the office etc. so are able to logon earlier and later. Other than the Zoom meetings etc. (Which of course can be recorded for later viewing if needs be!) many are finding a new sense of freedom, but freedom has a price as well as limitations. The sales of suits neckties and make-up have plummeted as we don’t feel the need to dress up for work etc. However not dressing up and ‘becoming that person’ may have an effect on how we and others perceive us. Even before the Covid-19 Pandemic many successful home workers would suggest getting dressed for work, keeping regular hours and if possible leaving the ‘home’ and working from a different dedicated space within the house or at the bottom of the garden etc. A danger is that things slip and the workday is prolonged and inefficient without the usual drivers, of course the opportunity exists to make the best of the situation, spend less time in work-mode without the commute (It’s interesting that now after months of lockdown those who hated the daily commute are now missing the human contact they got interacting and eavesdropping on the bus/train etc!) flexibility to work when it best suits you and the family. Many are stopping work early, spending quality time with the family and picking-up later or starting earlier the next day. There are many possible positives and negatives, that’s life!
When we knew we were having twins we asked other twin parents what their top 3 pieces of advice for us were going forward. Almost universally the answers were….Routine, Routine, Routine!
My wife with a big city job left work early and fed, bathed and put the girls to bed before restarting work on the laptop later in the evening. (I too played a part, don’t you worry!) The routine worked for us as a family as well as her work. Routine with Felxibility seems to be a good place to start!
Whilst we are working and ‘stuck’ in routine we crave spontaneity to break the strangleholds of work, domestic routine etc. However, for many of us routine is the glue that holds our lives together and allows us to interact with others in a predictable way. We have a ‘working week’ and weekends. Most of us worked or still work set hours and knowing when we work also allows us to know when we are free to do other things albeit often we will have a feeling that this time is limited and competition is fierce – spend time alone winding down from a busy week, spend time with family and friends, do those household chores etc. Whoops it’s Monday morning again…!
If we transition to retirement and TOYL we can start fitting other things into our week whilst still working. Part-time work can ease us into our future life and allow us to take up or develop hobbies or just look further into whatever interests us and find out if it really is something to pursue later and make plans to do so.
For those that one day get given the gold watch and find themselves retired the next the lack of a timetable can initially be welcome and leaving the ‘routine’ behind really quite attractive. However, soon many find that the lack of structure in their day is rather negative and boredom can creep in. (Here’s the link to Taboo #2 – Boredom)
Trying to arrange things to do the same day can be full of disappointment as others may not be free or all the tickets etc. are sold out. So many retired folk will find the need for a diary for future planning as important if not more so than when working. Diary entries may not be as critical as those for work, however building structure will for most lead to a more contented retirement. Monday – gym, library. Tuesday – look after grandchildren, Movie night, Wednesday – keep free (yes even doing ‘nothing’ is a plan!) Thursday – shopping and cooking – you get the idea. Make sure you have room to be spontaneous too!
ROUTINE – /ruːˈtiːn/ noun A sequence of actions regularly followed. Sounds dull doesn’t it!? However…..
- Makes Us More Efficient
When we have a routine that we follow daily, it reduces the need to make decisions each day. It enables us to know exactly what tasks we need to do each day without having to contemplate, decide or think too much. When we are finished with one task, we know what comes next without much thought. Activities become standardised and we become more efficient as a result.
- Reduces Our Need to Plan
When we carefully design a set routine to follow, it eliminates the need to plan our activities every morning and budget and allocate our precious time. It takes the guesswork out of our day and allows us to wake up and ‘do’ instead of wake up and ‘plan’.
- Creates Structure in Our Lives
A daily routine provides structure and a logical sequence in our lives. It provides the framework within which we live our lives and conduct our daily activities. Soon we become familiar and comfortable with what we have to do each day. It allows us to experience a flow to our day.
- Saves Time, Our Most Valuable Resource
Time is the most precious asset at our disposal because, once lost, it is non-retrievable. By following a routine, we free up time that would otherwise be spent on planning, decision-making and preparation. Our routine has predetermined our schedule, allowing us to use our time efficiently.
- Instils Good Habits
The secret to building good habits is repetition. When we design a personal routine that works for us, it facilitates developing good habits by encouraging us to repeat the same tasks over and over again. Just like brushing our teeth every morning, adhering to a routine allows us to foster habits that match our goals and aspirations.
- Breaks Bad Habits
While our routine helps us develop good habits that are in line with exploiting our full potential, it also helps to eradicate bad habits that do not serve us well. We can slowly replace our bad habits with good ones through repetition.
- Helps Us Become More Proficient
When you have a routine, you start to become better at doing certain things because you do it regularly. That is one of the keys to mastering any skill. Think about something you are skilful at. More likely than not, you developed your skill because you have performed the task over and over again. Practice makes perfect!
- Helps Us Get the Most Important Tasks Done
When we carefully design a personal routine and stick to it, it allows us get the most important things done first and out of the way. There is no room for forgetfulness or neglect. Because the most important tasks have been predetermined by us, as long as we follow our routine, we know that we will complete what is important and not spend time and effort on frivolous things.
The beauty of designing a set routine is that it forces us to prioritise and decide what is important to us. Rather than make these decisions on a daily basis, we already know what we need to do and in what order because we have carefully planned it. For example, after some soul-searching and careful introspection, I decided that being mindful and healthy were goals that I wanted to attain, so I incorporate meditation and exercise into my daily routine.
- Reduces the Need for Determination and Willpower
When we brush our teeth in the morning, it does not require a lot of determination or willpower because most of us have made it a daily ritual. We hardly think about having to brush our teeth; we simply do it. The same holds true for other tasks when we follow a routine. It simply becomes, well, ‘routine’!
- Reduces Procrastination
When a set of tasks and activities become routine, it reduces the chance that we will procrastinate doing them. It becomes ingrained into our system and we almost do it subconsciously. For example, I do a few minutes of yoga every morning when I wake up. I do not have to think about it. I simply do it because it has become a habit. We all know that procrastination is a waste of time and having a routine is one way to combat it.
- Builds Momentum
As we all know, when you do the same things repetitiously, it builds momentum, making it easier to persist. That is why going to the gym gets easier the more frequently you do it. Momentum is a huge factor when it comes to ensuring success and following a routine helps build that momentum.
- Builds Self Confidence
When we adhere to a routine and stick with it, it helps build self confidence and gives us a sense of tremendous satisfaction. That provides us with the ‘fuel’ to continue our routine and reap the benefits associated with it. And a lack of self confidence is one of the main reasons people find it difficult to change their lives for the better.
- Saves Us Money
When we follow a routine and do the same things over and over again, it can help us save money. For example, part of my routine involves juicing fruits and vegetables each morning. Because I know that I will follow this routine religiously, I can buy my fruit and vegetables in bulk, saving me money. The same holds true for many other things such as the cost of a long-term gym membership.
- Helps Reduce Stress and Facilitate Relaxation
There will always be things in our lives that are beyond our control, and we need to accept that. However, there is so much that we can control, especially if we follow a routine. When we design and stick to a routine, it eliminates a lot of stress because we do not have to think and worry about what needs to get done. The act of ‘doing’ gives us a sense of control and helps us relax instead of fretting about the tasks at hand.
- Frees Up Our Time
Contrary to what some people believe, following a routine that prioritises repetitive tasks actually provides us with more free time to do as we please. Not every aspect of our lives needs to be scheduled or incorporated into a daily routine. There is a time and place for leisure, relaxation, and ‘non-doing’, and adhering to a routine frees up the time for it. In fact, as we discussed before, our routine makes us become better and more efficient at performing certain tasks. This means that we often spend less time completing the tasks listed in our routine via repetition.
- Helps Us Achieve Our Goals
Our goals and aspirations are rarely, if ever, achieved all at once. Successful people accomplish their goals by doing the same things over and over again. An athlete gets good at his sport because he practices daily. An artist hones his craft through repetition. Developing and sticking with a routine that is congruent with your goals is one of the surest ways to ensure success.
- Keeping Track of Our Success
When we slack off and fail to follow our predetermined routine, it is a clear sign that we are falling short. It is an excellent way to monitor our progress. We can subsequently make adjustments and get back to following our personal routines while having the confidence that we are on the right track again.
Keep in mind that it is fine if you decide that you only want to follow your routine on weekdays and not on weekends, or if you have a different routine on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, etc. It is also perfectly okay to set aside certain times to do nothing. The point is that you have thought about it carefully and are mindful about your choices. After all, having a routine is nothing other than a conscious choice to live your life in a certain way through healthy repetition. It is one of the keys to success and happiness.
Each of us is different and has different goals, needs, desires, and resources. That is why it is important to develop our own routine after carefully deciding what we want to achieve in our lives. The rewards to be reaped are definitely worth the effort. Today is a brand new day and it is never too late to start your own routine.
Credit to the above 18 reasons to:-
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