Routine – friend or foe?
For routine was one of the things I was trying to get away from, with the sense that the years were passing frighteningly quickly and life was turning into a series of knowns. The regular meetings and work routines that helped me feel organised were also contributing to a feeling that life was slipping by. Even my holidays had become a pattern - same places at the same times with the same people every year. So, having traded certainty for the risky unknown, how structured should I be as my own boss?
Initially I felt my new found freedom was enhanced by doing what I felt like and when. Then I realised how much energy I was wasting in making decisions, particularly with the work tasks I dread but have to be done, or things I know are good for me, but can’t quite get round to (yoga and exercise, for example). That internal dialogue wears me down, and vague promises to myself are much too easy to break.
Studies show that committing to specific times to do something makes it three times more likely you will achieve it (researchers call these implementation intentions). Writing your commitment down with a time, date and venue means you are 90% of the way there. Regular activities at the same time each day should then become habitual, like brushing your teeth (or pretending to, if you are my son).
So welcome routine, my new friend. And see you same time tomorrow.
Charlotte Semlyen, September 2014