The Top 3 Benefits Of A Daily Routine
It’s morning, which means it is time for my morning routine. It is still dark and the house is quiet except for all the humming of the appliances and the ticking of the clock on the wall. Bryce wanted to get out of bed already but I told him – like I tell him just about every day these days – that it is too early for him to get up. Luckily he was too tired to fight me so he went back to bed. Sometimes he actually even goes back to sleep; today is one such day.
I love this time of day, which is why I get up for it in the first place. It is my time to write and get clear. It is my time to have the house to myself. It is like the volume is turned down on everything and suddenly everything is possible. That line comes right out of fight club, “After fight club, everything else in your life gets the volume turned down. You can deal with anything.” and as I wrote it I was remembering that scene in fight club. Jack had a kind of Zen to him that he hadn’t had up to that point, and that Zen is what I am trying to describe now. But I digress.
Morning. Most days I try to get up around 4:30 but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some days it is closer to 5:30, and some days it is 8:00. I would say that 90% of the time, it is 4:30. I get up at that time because I want to have some highly focused quiet time before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. It is also the best time of day for me to get a little exercise in – by little I mean 15 to 20 minutes – but more on that another day. It is also the best time of day for me to catch up on reading and research.
Having quiet time never used to matter to me but now I seem to need it. It starts my day off on the right foot and makes it so everything else falls into place. Without it, I feel like something has been missed and I have a harder time concentrating throughout the day. Maybe it is less about the quiet time though and more about being there to greet Bryce when he wakes up. That quiet pitter patter as he walks over to me. The still sleepy sound in his voice as he tells me that he had a good sleep. The nice morning hug.
Of course within 5 minutes of waking up, Bryce is full of energy and his volume is cranked up to the max. That’s when the true start of the day happens. Everything before suddenly seems like a distant memory or a tale of fantasy that I once heard. Once Bryce is up, it is time for his morning routine, which means mine must come to and end so I can focus all my attention on him, and I am happy to do so. It is important that Bryce has a morning routine so that he can start his day off right.
The first thing Bryce does is give me a hug and a kiss. Then he sits on my stomach and tells me what kind of sleep he had, of course 99.9% of the time, it was a good sleep. Then he tells me what his plans are for the day and what he wants for breakfast. We then go over the 3 rules and 4 truths and that brings his morning routine to completion. For both Bryce and myself, if our morning routines are not done or are interrupted for any reason, it changes the tone for the whole day.
Bryce and I are not the only two people on the planet that have a morning routine, nor are we the only two people that have figured out that having a routine is imperative. If you ask Wendy Wood (Provost Professor of Psychology and Business), she would tell you that “habits help us get through the day with minimal stress and deliberation”. She would also tell you that “we already repeat 40% of our daily activities and usually in the same place”. Armed with this information it is easy to conclude that setting a daily routine is a natural act. We just have to decide if we want be conscious of our routines or not.
The Top 3 Benefits Of A Daily Routine
- A routine can help you form positive habits and get rid of habits that are not working for you. As I said before, we can either consciously choose our habits or we can have them just happen. Personally I want to be aware of everything I do. That’s why exercise is part of my daily routine and smoking is not. I used to be a three and a half pack a day kind of guy, but when I decided to pay attention to how it made me feel, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I made the choice to remove it from my daily routine. Before I made that choice, it felt like I had no control over my need to smoke, not to mention the amount of time it took out of my day.
- A routine can reduce stress. Think of all the things you do in your life, you pay your bills, you exercise, and you go to work. Most of those things you do automatically without much thought because you do them all time. The same is true for showering, brushing your teeth, and eating your meals. Most people do all those things at roughly the same time every day. Imagine if you had to spend time thinking about when you are going to do those things every day, then multiply that by the dozens of things you do automatically every day. The stress that it would add to your life would be exponential. The more things you add to your routine, the less stress you will experience
- A routine can free up a lot of time in your life. As we established in benefit number two, there are many things that you could be doing automatically every day. The more you add to your routine, and therefore do automatically, the more time you will have in your day for more important things. The more time you have in your day, the more productive you will be. When you are more productive your energy levels will increase, your sense of satisfaction will increase, and you will be able to do even more things, or you will have more time to relax. Having more time is what is important, what you do with that extra time is up to you.
The most important part of a routine is to be certain that it is a routine that benefits you. When you are aware of your routine, you are aware of your habits and when you are aware of your habits you can decide if the habit is serving you or not. If it serves you, add it to your routine and do it on purpose. Conversely, if the habit does not serve you, remove it from your routine. You will quickly start to see your days getting easier and easier when you do this one exercise. For many people that I have worked with, it has changed their life.
- For the next 7 days write down everything you do, no matter how mundane it seems.
- As you write things down, take note of any emotions you have about them.
- When you get to the end of the 7 days look over your list and take note of the patterns. Those patterns are your routines.
- Once you have discovered the patterns, take note of the emotions you had for each thing.
- If you find that you consistently had negative emotions about anything, be sure to take that thing out of your routine. If that thing is just something that has to be done, look for alternative ways to make it happen, such as outsourcing it.
I would love to hear in the comments below changes that you have made as result of this action step.