Every morning, without giving it much thought, I arrive at the office, check my email, make my work to-do list and then head to the kitchen with Vanessa and a few other colleagues to prepare our morning oatmeal. This is a daily routine that we started a few years ago and we execute this exact sequence of events each weekday, almost on autopilot.
The daily routine of eating oatmeal for breakfast is a healthy way to start my day. Oatmeal is nutritious, affordable and it keeps me more full compared to a bowl of fruit or a simple piece of toast.
Don’t believe me? You can check out Vanessa’s article where she lists four very convincing reasons to start eating oatmeal right now.
Knowing that I have an established morning routine, I started thinking about routines in general. Is having a routine always a good thing? Is my current daily routine working for me? Or am I in a rut and I don’t even know?
Let’s explore, starting off with:
Is Having A Daily Routine Really A Good Thing?
1. Provides Structure, Direction, & Increases Efficiency
A daily routine is similar to having a set of instructions outlining how to structure your tasks throughout your day. Instead of trying to figure out how to start or what to do, a daily routine will put your brain on autopilot mode. You can then go about your daily tasks without having to summon your willpower or motivation in order to be productive.
For example, one of my tasks at work is to formulate a report for my boss on the performance of a specific variable from the previous day. It’s not a difficult calculation to do but every day I would dread doing the report because the process is mind-numbingly boring. One day, I decided enough was enough. I booked the 10-11am block into my calendar to tackle the report every day at that time.
No excuses or rescheduling allowed.
Now that it’s in my calendar, I’m able to get the report to my boss early, which leaves me looking like an All-Star. Also, assigning a specific block of time for this task has actually also reduced how long it used to take me to formulate the report from 1 hour to 30 minutes.
2. Builds Good Habits
When I began incorporating a bowl of oatmeal into my morning routine, this sparked a chain reaction of more healthy habits in my life. That’s because having a daily routine that incorporates good habits will make you more likely to follow through with other healthy behaviour.
For me, oatmeal in the morning got me thinking about the food I was eating later in the day. This led me to become interested in cooking and I began to be more aware of where the food I was eating came from. I started making more of my meals at home with fresh and clean ingredients.
Vanessa recently wrote an article about the benefits of drinking more water which detailed how small changes she had made in her day have increased her water intake. Drinking more water has become a positive habit for her. Try to think about new habits you want to form and brainstorm ways to incorporate the habit into your daily routine.
3. Improves Your Skills
If you’re doing something day in, day out, over time you will get better at it.
Here’s an example. Imagine you are at the gym, pumping iron (does anyone say pumping iron anymore?).The first day, your chicken arms can barely lift a 5-pound weight. But over time, you can imagine that it would get easier and easier to lift and eventually you can move on to the 10-pound weight and then the 15, and so on.
Even better if you can make working out a daily habit. I have a friend who works out at the same time every day. Instead of going home, she heads straight to the gym after work. That way she doesn’t give herself the option to skip her workout. We all know what happens when you get home and become a lazy blob on your couch, right?
Skill building obviously isn’t limited to working out. It can be applied to pretty much any activity. Want to get better at sketching, writing, playing an instrument? Incorporate practice into your daily routine and over time, hopefully, you should improve.
So, we know that having a daily routine can be a good thing. This leads us to the next question which is, what is the most effective daily routine?
Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned for an upcoming article where I will attempt to uncover the ultimate daily routine to improve my productivity, health, and personal development. I start my search by researching the daily routines of famous, successful people. Until then, let me know what part of your daily routine you’d like to improve.