When you were a kid, your parents probably set up so many different routines for you because they were told that kids thrive off of routines. You had a routine for everything: when to wake up and brush your teeth, when to take a nap, and when to start winding down for bed. We are always told that routines are very important for children, but what about adults?
Well, guess what, routines are just as important for you as an adult. I mean how often do you find yourself “just winging it” during a workday, or getting little to nothing on your to-do list done. That happens because you didn’t set yourself up for success with a routine.
Let’s discuss what is a routine and why they are important.
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What is a Routine?
A routine is a set of actions (or one action) that are done regularly. A routine can be as simple as picking up your kid from school at 3p Monday through Friday. Or as complex as an hour-long morning routine including reading 10 pages, journaling for 10 minutes, meditating, eating breakfast, shower, and get dress.
A routine can be repeated monthly, weekly, daily, or even hourly. The main idea is that it helps keep you organized, productive, and focused on your short and long-term goals.
But hold on, aren’t habits kinda the same thing? No, not exactly.
What is the difference between a habit and a routine?
While habits and routines sound like the same thing, they are not exactly interchangeable. Habits are behaviors that rely on cues. For example, when you go to the bathroom you have a habit of washing your habits right after. Or if you feel stressed, you develop a habit of smoking.
A routine, on the other hand, is time-based and is more focused on intention. Usually with a routine, you are setting out to achieve something. For example, your morning routine starts at 6 am so you can get to work on time.
Why Are Routines Important?
Now that you know what a routine is and the difference between a habit and a routine, let’s actually discuss why routines are important to have in our daily lives.
While having a routine may sound boring or strict, routines can actually lead you on a path to freedom, productivity, and happiness.
Here are 7 reasons why routines are important:
1. Makes you more productive
When you follow a routine every day, you basically have an already made schedule that plans out your day. When you have a plan for your day, you waste less time. And when you stop wasting time, you are more productive and efficient.
Having a routine cuts out the time it takes to make decisions because you already know what to do next.
Related: How to Time Block Your Whole Week
2. Reduces your need to plan
When you design a set routine to follow, you no longer have to plan out your activities every morning or budget your time every day. There is less guesswork in your day.
Having a routine means less stress about trying to figure out what you are doing every day. For example, you wake up every morning and start your day by doing your top 3 things, instead of waking up feeling unsure about your tasks that need to be accomplished.
Creating routines allows you to wake up and ‘do’ instead of wake up and ‘plan’.
3. Creates structure in your life
Having structure in your life doesn’t mean it’s boring and limited. Instead, see the structure of your routine as a way to logically sequence out your life.
Once you are more familiar with your repetitive routines, you will feel more comfortable because you will know what you need to do every day.
4. Saves time
Time is precious and every minute you waste will never be able to get back. By following a routine, you free up time that would have been spent on planning, decision-making, and preparation. Routines help predetermine your schedule, so therefore you are using your time more effectively.
5. Helps you prioritize
When you are creating a routine, you start prioritizing what is most important to you. You make sure there is enough time in your routine to get it done.
With a routine, you wake up every day knowing exactly what needs to get done, and then by the end of the day, you’ll feel accomplished because your most important things got done.
6. Helps you achieve goals
Goals are rarely achieved all at once. Instead, they are accomplished after you do something over and over again. Having a daily routine that is congruent to your goals helps you build the repetition you need to achieve them.
7. Helps instill good habits and break bad habits
The key to building good habits is consistent repetition. As you repeat a routine so many times, the behaviors within that routine become habits. Following a routine allows you to foster habits that get you closer to achieving your goals.
A routine can also help you destroy bad habits that aren’t serving you. Try to slowly replace your bad habits in your routines with good ones through repetition.
These are just a few positive benefits of having routines set in place. There are many more but these are, in my opinion, the top reasons why having a routine is important.
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How to Create a Routine for Success
Now that you know the many benefits of having a routine, I’m going to walk you through some simple steps to help you create a routine to set up your days for success.
1. Determine what needs to be in your routine
Maybe you want to get more exercise or more journal time? Start by prioritizing what is important to you.
2. Start small
Start by making a few small routines for just the next week. You can build onto it later. Then schedule your routine like an appointment on your calendar.
3. Be consistent with your time
A routine, as we discussed before, is mainly time-based. Getting consistent with when your routines start right away will make it easier to stick to them over the long run.
4. Be prepared
When planning out your new routine, make sure you have everything you need for the routine to be successful. This will make it easier to start the routines on time.
5. Make it fun
Getting into a new routine won’t be easy so in order to keep yourself motivated, you need to find ways to make it fun. If you are enjoying the new routine, you’ll have a harder time finding excuses to abandon it.
This is just a simple step-by-step way to create a new routine. Check back in a few weeks for a more detailed guide to create a daily routine.
The Top 3 Routines You Should Have
There are many different routines you could establish in your life, from a morning routine to a fitness routine to a skincare routine, the ideas are endless. However, in my opinion, these are the top 3 routines I believe you should have.
1. A Morning Routine
A morning routine is the most important routine to implement. Starting your day off right can set the tone for the rest of your day. A great morning will make it so much easier to handle the different things life may through at you throughout the day.
Even if you’re not a morning person, there are a few things that you can do in the morning to set you up for a great day:
- Drink a glass of water first thing
- Write down 3 things you are grateful for
- Meditate for 5 minutes
- Read a self-help book
For more ideas check out this blog post: 20 Ideas for Your Morning Routine
2. A Bedtime Routine
Paired with the morning routine, a bedtime routine can really help you wind down after a long day and can help set you up for the next morning. Finishing the day off right can also help you sleep better.
A bedtime routine doesn’t have to be super complex, here are just a few habits:
- Put the phone away an hour before bed
- Prepare for tomorrow (set out clothes, plan meals, etc.)
- Plan your next day to-dos
For more ideas to set up your bedtime routine, check out this blog post: 10 Smart Things to Include in Your Bedtime Routine for an Easier Morning
3. A Daily Routine
Believe it or not, you probably already have a daily routine. You know exactly when to start driving to work so you’re not late and when you get to leave work. But these are mostly things you just do because you have to.
Instead, try creating a daily routine that supports your priorities and gets you closer to achieving your goals every day. Plan it into your schedule and you’ll become more productive, efficient, and prepared.
Final Thoughts on Routines
Establishing different routines in your life is very important for your success. Without a plan to succeed you will never reach your goals.
Make sure you are setting up routines that will get you results. You will not survive on just “winging it”.
What routine do you have that is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.
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