Routines – good idea or bad idea?

Routines – good idea or bad idea?

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Providing the routine is effective, it can help achieve consistency in results. Preparing to travel is a good example of this.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  1. 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 – there are stacks of ideas.
  2. Deliberately mix up the routine every now and then. If you have a particular commute look for three alternatives to explore.
  3. 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.

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