There are mixed views on the benefit of routine to our effectiveness and resilience. I find it surprising that people think of this as an either or subject. When working with others and in my own personal experience there’s a place for both routine and more free flowing activity. Here are three pros, cons and things to consider when it comes to routines.
- Having routines can help take the pressure off our shoulders and free up capacity for more taxing activities. For many having a routine to help get a consistent start to the day is an example of this in action.
- Routines can help provide certainty and build confidence as we approach situations. This can help bring out the best in ourselves – an example of this could be preparing for the start of a sporting event or business meeting.
- Providing the routine is effective, it can help achieve consistency in results. Preparing to travel is a good example of this.
- Routines can stifle creative thinking – repeating the same approach to a task when in fact the environment you operate in has changed. This runs the risk that you could be overlooking more effective ways to do something. I have had two conversations recently with people who found a different and more effective route for their commute as a result of transport strikes.
- A variation on the above is that an over reliance on a routine means that we can close out others input and experience. The ‘my way is the best way’ syndrome is a trap worth avoiding or at the very least having the humility that you may not be right.
- An over reliance on routines can mean that if for some reason we are knocked off course we find it hard to cope. As a result, our confidence that we are capable of handling a particular task or situation gets eroded.
Some things to consider
- Develop a routine to help you prepare better for a situation you will face regularly. One everyone faces is their morning routine. If you need a little inspiration head over to mymorningroutine.com – there are stacks of ideas.
- Deliberately mix up the routine every now and then. If you have a particular commute look for three alternatives to explore.
- Write your routine down and then get feedback and input from others on how you might improve it.
Have a go of a least one of the above examples in the next seven days. At the very least raise your awareness of the pros and cons of having a routine. As always, I’m interested in any thoughts you have.