Routines create freedom.
How you ask? Well, having a routine may seem like it would stifle creativity and spontaneity but it can actually enhance both. When you have a routine in place, you can schedule your time rather than being reactive to what each day brings you. It provides you with an opportunity to create habits which serve you and it takes away the need for making a multitude of small decisions.
Reason #1 – It reduces the number of decisions you need to make.
When you have a routine, you know what you’re going to be doing when. It saves you having to think of when you will fit things in to your day such as exercising, having lunch or working on projects. When you schedule these things into your day and maintain a consistent time throughout your week, it becomes habit. It’s no longer an if, it’s a when. You may even want to go one step further and create a type of work uniform for yourself if you don’t have one provided to you. Steve Jobs used to wear the same type of clothing to work each day – a turtleneck, a pair of jeans and a pair of sneakers. While you may want to look fashionable at work, it can come at a price if you spend time each morning agonizing over what to wear to work that day. Not only do you use valuable mental energy on choosing between outfits, you could also use that time doing something else.
When you reduce the number of decisions you need to make, it allows you to allocate more brain power to creative outlets and larger decisions. You gain mental clarity and you may be less exhausted at the end of the day because you haven’t made as many decisions as you once did because of your new routine.
Reason #2 – It reduces stress and anxiety.
When you have a routine, you have a plan of what you will do during the day. If you are able to create boundaries and stick to the routine where possible, then you will be able to focus on your priorities. You are able to control the day rather than the day controlling you.
Even if you have the best intentions to get things done or work on projects, if you leave these to the last minute, chances are they won’t get done. Even if you have achieved things during the day, you may be stressed or anxious because you haven’t done what you had intended to do. Creating a routine enables you to match your actions with your intentions.
Reason #3 – You can schedule in your priorities.
Is self-care a priority for you? If so, make it a non-negotiable by adding it to your schedule and adhering to it. If you like to meditate in the morning, make it a routine. By creating a routine that incorporates the activities that you value, you can create a day which makes you feel good consistently. Often our days can become filled with things that may seem important but aren’t really so if you are able to weed out what isn’t a priority, you can create space for what is. I’d encourage you to write down what your top priorities or activities that you value are and to build them into your routine.
For example, you may value time with your partner. You can create a routine by creating a date night once a week, fortnight or month depending on your schedules.
Reason #4 You can schedule in time for spontaneity
You don’t need to stick to a rigid routine every day, you may want to leave one or two days unplanned. By relaxing the rules, you can create space to foster your creativity and to allow you to become more in tune with yourself. If you want a few minutes of extra sleep? No problem, hit the snooze button and wake up at your own pace.
You can become more in tune with your body by listening to what it wants. You may feel energised and want to go exploring outdoors or you maybe you want to stay inside and have a cozy day in.
Reason #5 You can create boundaries
If you make others aware of what your routine is, you can create healthy boundaries. If you schedule in some ‘me time’ during the day at the same time consistently, then others will soon learn not to disturb you during this time. The same goes at work, if you are in a role where you have greater autonomy and can plan your day, if you want to have an hour where you are undisturbed for a time of pure focus, make it a routine and let others know.
Are you someone who thrives on routine or is it something you’ve considered but haven’t implemented? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section.