A world without law and order can be hard to imagine, primarily because they are the very regulations or guidelines that prevent chaos. Similarly, from an individualistic perspective, it is highly beneficial to adopt a routine and follow it, not only because it prevents uncertainty and helps us take control of what we are doing, but adopting and executing a routine has many proven mental health benefits. Let us look at the Importance of Routine in Life.
Let’s face it… Adopting a routine would seem like a strenuous task at first and even if we do manage to make a routine, implementing it regularly becomes hard. This is when we need to understand the reasons behind setting a routine, one of which is that a routine provides structure to our lives. In fact, we can view it as the ‘skeletal framework’ of the tasks we are to complete throughout the day including their respective predicted timing. By making a routine, we are building a foundation for our day by limiting unpredictability and uncertainty; two qualities that humans greatly dislike. Furthermore, a routine helps us take better control of our lives and allows for better time management and focus as everything that we are to accomplish for the day has been written out resulting in the elimination of unnecessary distractions and providing more ‘mental space’ that could be used to complete other tasks or allow us to engage in other productive activities (Kurzawska, 2018).
Health Benefits of Routine in Life:
Most importantly, building and implementing a routine can lead to many positive mental health benefits. Adopting a routine is primarily known to reduce stress levels as knowing what we will be doing throughout the day (while occasionally making tiny tweaks to our schedule) can prevent the hassle of engaging in troublesome thoughts to access our mental ‘to-do’ list. Moreover, having a routine leads to the creation of habits that get stored in our subconscious mind. Hence, we won’t have the hassle of engaging our conscious mind while carrying out daily tasks or habits that we have built up by continuously performing the task each day, freeing up space in our brain and allowing us to feel more relaxed and steady.
For instance, if we build a routine that designates a time slot to us brushing our teeth each day before we sleep, performing this action, in the beginning, will consciously require us to remember it. However, after a while, it will form into a habit and we will then be subconsciously engaging in this part of our routine without actively thinking about it (Blurt Team, 2018). Moreover, according to a study by researchers at Tel Aviv University, predictable and repetitive routines can be calming and help reduce anxiety (“Why routines are good”, n.d.).
An Ideal Routine:
Now, a routine doesn’t have to be all strict and solely productive filled with work-related tasks, leaving no time out for enjoyment or entertainment. Rather, a routine should be equally productive, efficient and a realistic framework of your day with time-blocks prioritized for things you love to do.
For instance, one may fill out time blocks in their weekly schedule for any family meet-ups, friend get-togethers, and workout sessions (very important to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle due to release of endorphins); self-care related priorities. After those are marked, it would be beneficial to lay out your tasks and assignments around those priorities. Although some might disagree with this approach and argue that prioritizing our personal tasks and blocking them from our schedule could affect the time we have to complete our tasks or limit our work potential, I would argue otherwise.
We need to understand that solely filling up our routine and weekly schedule with work-related tasks and deadline, without prioritizing the other personal commitments that we have made to ourselves to keep us happy and social, would leave us drained and out of energy; all of which is unsustainable in the long run and will increase the chances of us discontinuing with our proposed routine. We need to understand that as much as we would like to set up an ‘ideal routine’ only filled with work/career-related tasks, we are going to be taking part in the other aspects of our life such as family, friends, and most importantly, our health. Now, our health would be in optimal shape when we are truly content (not stressed) and are doing the things we love to do alongside excelling in our careers.
When we understand that the term ‘ideal’ is highly subjective and that our personal routine should be realistic and include our self-care time-blocks, then only we would be able to move on from engaging in sub-optimal motivation to optimal/intrinsic motivation.
Daily routine ideas to include when making your routine:
1. Set Time aside to workout at least 3 times a week (very very important!)
2. Declutter your workspace, Desktop
3. Set time aside for meditation (at least 5-10 minutes in the morning or at night before you sleep)
4. Take a task or project and divide it into manageable steps (Scott, 2020)
5. Review your goals
6. Make one business connection
7. Set a time-block dedicated to friends or family without any other distractions
8. Review your budget and track your expenses- the financial aspect of daily routine (Scott, 2020)
Here are a few daily routine ideas to incorporate for starters… Please do take this into consideration and let me know what you thought of this article in the comments!
Also Read: 12 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance
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