What is a routine?
A routine is a set of unvarying, regularly repeated actions. It usually consists of habits – a series of unconscious actions, convenient and predictable.
Creating a routine requires work and attention, but once in place, your routine becomes automatic.
There could be various types of routines: a workout routine, a skin-care routine, a home-organizing routine, a start-you-day morning routine, a get-ready-to-sleep routine etc. Every goal you might have could be (and should be) backed up by a routine of actions helping you work towards achieving that goal.
What are the benefits of having a routine?
Routines help make your day more controllable and organized. Having a routine minimizes the chaos and overwhelming flow of everyday decisions.
Should you hit snooze one more time, have coffee first, or shower first, make breakfast or get one on the go? Deciding on all of the small things you need to get done each day takes up an unnecessary amount of time and energy.
Not having a routine in place could negatively affect your performance and hinder your results. Just think of going to the gym without a workout routine. What do you do, where do you start? How effective do you think your workouts are going to be?
Having a routine in place gives you a sense of control. Knowing exactly what follows improves your focus and makes you more productive. This results in less stress and more overall satisfaction.
How does sticking to a routine affect your health and productivity?
Your routine affects your energy levels. Your bedtime routine determines your quality of sleep. Poor sleep has negative effects not only on energy but also mental sharpness, performance and emotional well-being. Implementing routines can help you maintain a consistent time for waking and going to bed.
Sticking to a routine helps reduce stress and anxiety. Creating predictability in your everyday life allows your mind to understand what to expect, alleviating anxiety over the unknown.
When feeling blue, you tend to pull back from activities that bring you joy. This leaves you feeling deprived and makes you sadder. One of the first steps of every cognitive behavior therapy is resuming basic routines or putting new ones in place.
Creating a routine that not only includes things you have to do, but also those you love to do — such as yoga, playing games, reading, or taking a hot bath — will recharge and motivate you. Setting aside time for activities that give you joy will help keep you sane and healthy.
Having the right routine in place will make you more consistent in working towards your goals.
Having the right routines ensures that you work when you need to work and rest when you should rest. This will improve your work-life balance, leaving you feeling happier while also helping you be more productive.
How to create a routine (or improve an already existing one)?
- Set a goal – Having a routine for the sake of having one probably won’t last. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with it – to get a degree, to get fit, to land a promotion?
- Create the routine that is right for you – Copying a routine from the internet won’t work. No matter who’s routine it is. Everyone struggles with different parts of their day. Everyone has their own weaknesses and strong sides. Build your routine to fit your goals and needs.
- Start small – Completely diving into a new routine from day one won’t stick. It might leave you even more stressed and overwhelmed. Pick one small thing to work on each week. Add one good habit after another.
- Think of swaps you could make – If there are habits and activities you’d like to rid yourself of, think what positive new activities and habits you can swap them with.
- Prepare yourself – When adding a new activity to your routine, make sure you have everything you need to execute it when time comes. If you are adding a morning run to your routine get yourself proper shoes and clothes and set them up from the night before. So when the time comes to actually get up and go running you’ll have less room for excuses.
- Make it fun – Getting into a new routine can be daunting. Make sure to add an element of fun to the activities you find less enjoyable. Put on your favorite playlist when cleaning or exercising. Set milestones and plan ahead what your reward would be when you reach them.
- Note your progress with before/after pics whenever possible. Those will act as a great motivator for you to continue towards your bigger goals.
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