Humans love a routine. It helps keep us focused.
Routine is integrated into our lives since the day we’re born. It’s forced during school and almost always given during our work life.
It keeps us from twiddling our thumbs thinking of what to do. It helps the people in charge know what should be going on.
Once you understand how a habit operates — once you diagnose the cue, the routine and the reward — you gain power over it.
—Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit
In fact, it helps the whole work tick as a whole.
All-in-all, having a routine is pretty darn awesome.
What happen when there’s no routine?
I finished college last year and immediately felt lost. I’d suddenly gone from a routine of revision, exam, revision to nothing.
Even before exams, I had a timetable to stick to. I knew how long it’d take me to walk/cycle to campus and if I had coursework to complete.
When I finished I was happy to have graduated, but at the same time the lack of routine kinda threw me off.
For the first time in my life, there was no-one telling me what to do, where to be, and how things should be done.
I think that’s the point where most people go down a bad path. It’s all too easy to let things slip with your personal goals.
I had to work out all of those routine things on my own and that’s something they definitely don’t teach you at college.
Making your own way
Startups are tough. Everyone knows that.
When you’ve just finished college and have the choice of getting a job or starting your own business — you should probably go for the job. But I went for the business.
I have no regrets that I did not get a job after college.
However, in hindsight, it would’ve been helpful to see how a business encouraged their employees, integrated routines, and how the whole system set goals to achieve.
Maybe I would’ve stuck at the job for too long. Maybe I would’ve hated the routine. Maybe I would’ve gained a lot of experience and been better at what I do now.
It’s not all about work routines. We all have our own way of living our lives and it changes throughout our lives, too.
When I was 14, before school I used to get up at 6am and watch the news, take the dog for a walk, have breakfast, and then walk to my first class.
At 18 on weekends in college I’d wake at 8, lounge in bed most of the morning, maybe have a shower, and then either a) play games or b) do some coursework (most of the time I chose a).
Now (aged 23, ugh) I’m sitting in an office typing this out at 5:30am on a Sunday. I fell out of bed at 4am, gathered my things, drove to the office, and started writing.
Routines change. I’ve found the best ones require a little effort to get started.
Once you’ve got a good routine in place, it becomes a fundamental part of your lifestyle. It affects your mental & physical health, work, and productivity.