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Are you keen on routine?

Updated: Apr 18, 2019

Can you be successful even without a routine in your life?


Is routine good for us?

Hands up who loves a good routine?


And, who HATES routine and only feels truly relaxed when allowed to go with the flow?


Can you guess which one I am?


Routine baby!


Routine is, for me, a chance to get my life in order, or order my life and to achieve what I want to achieve.


Routine allows me to not just fit in all my tasks, but actually enjoy them as I know I have allocated time and energy to them.


What about you?


I wanted to look further into why routines are good for us, and if there are any reasons why they might not always be worthwhile.


Firstly, I spoke to several business owners to find out how routine plays out for them, and whether they want routine or prefer to flow through the day. Then I looked at some of the science behind why humans love routines:


Kirsty Wilson is the owner of Interim Business Solutions, a Virtual administration and social media support partner.


“I thrive on routine and certainly when the children were younger and at school, it was almost essential. They're both quite independent now and whilst I do have more freedom, I love a fairly structured day which ensures I'm productive, both in my business and personal life. My work day routine generally has time allocated for work admin, personal errands, a little bit of exercise and work tasks. Evening work may also be scheduled but that varies depending on the workload that day.”


Kerrie-Leigh Story is the creator of Little Big Virtual, a service that can take care of the day to day administration and design tasks that tie up your precious time.


"I am a huge advocate for the 'ideal diary' when it comes to routine and forward planning in my business. It's a one-off weekly planner that shows me at a glance what my desired lifestyle and weekly work schedule would look like. And then I simply work to that as a guideline. It is not set in stone, because it's 'ideal' not a fixed must do arrangement and it genuinely keeps me on track for when I lose focus or get overwhelmed. Because I have pre-blocked out time for specific tasks which are worked around when I'm most productive (e.g. Tuesday, 8am-12pm client work), I don't feel so overwhelmed or that I have to get everything done at once. It holds me accountable for my own administration tasks so that I'm not losing sight of the bigger picture (e.g. Friday 3-4pm, social media planning). It also makes it very clear to myself and clients at a quick glance of my schedule, so I am not overpromising and under delivering or wearing myself out that I no longer enjoy what I do on the daily."


Rachel Amies is the Owner at Crazy Cat VA, a Virtual Assistant business aimed at making your life easier.


“There is always an element of routine in my business – a preferred approximate time to wake up, when to concentrate on emails and so forth. I’ve also gotten into the habit of blocking specific blocks of time each week for specific tasks (or sometimes month, if it’s a monthly task) – for things such as my own bookkeeping, social media tasks, checking and responding to emails, and so on.


However, I also allow for non-routine things to happen. As a virtual assistant, this could mean being approached by a client needing urgent work to be done with a quick turnaround or having a project blow out and taking longer than expected due to unforeseen circumstances.


This taught me to think that there’s only so much I can put in a routine and then approaching things with time management skills and being honest and realistic with clients as to time-frames.”


So far routine seems to have many advantages for these business owners. However, there can be great freedom in not being strict with your routine:


Charli Jeffries runs A2 Workplace Consulting, a no-fuss approach to HR/ IR/ WHS advice and Employee Assistance.


“It's not that I don't like routine, it's just that I can't have routine at the moment with a 10-month-old teething breastfed baby and a 2.5-year-old toddler and trying to get a new business on its feet, launching a passion project and thinking about the next step! I do what I can when I can and sometimes there are weeks when I just have to accept that this week it's my week to focus being a mum and throw the routine (and put work on hold) out the window!”


Nicola Coates runs Nicola Coates Coaching, a coaching consultancy aimed at empowering women with emotional and relationship support through mindset shifts.


“I have a morning routine to keep me sane and the school run - that's about as much routine as it gets!! Every day is different, I work from home and my work is completely random and there can't be a routine , I have boundaries set in place but I love not having a set '9-5' routine I choose when I can fit things in around my son as I made a pact with myself when he was born that Time wouldn't be dictated to me so that I could make the most of the precious moments with him and going from hairdresser to mindset coach has been a real transition!!”


Well there you have it – routine seems to work for a lot of savvy business owners, but it’s also worth remembering that life can still be good (and you can still succeed) even without a routine!

So, is routine good for us?


And can you be successful without a routine?


Routine can benefit us in many ways that may not seem obvious. It has been shown in some studies to alleviate bipolar disorder, ADHD and insomnia.


The benefits of having a routine can assist us in our daily life. A good routine can assist us to get things done because they become part of us, part of our plan and therefore we don’t have to think about it too much or muster up the motivation – it’s on our plan and we just do it.


It is important to note that routine is different to OCD however. While routine can be a really useful part of our life, OCD can limit us. Routines can assist us to be more efficient, while OCD is feeling like something bad will happen if we don't do something in a set way.


So, even though routine can be good for us, and many successful people thrive on having a good routine, it’s also worthwhile shaking things up a bit, from time to time. The great thing about routines is they work as long they work for you! If circumstances change, or things start to feel boring, then even a small tweak to your routines can breathe fresh air into your work and life.


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Would love to hear your thoughts on routine… do you think routine is good for us, or are we better off going with the flow?

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