Importance of Routines and Schedules

As parents or adults, we are aware that routines help kids acquire and learn skills, attitudes, and discipline. Remember when you were a kid being told and reminded over and over to sleep and wake up at a certain time? Even the mealtimes and playtimes? Thanks to that we have learned to establish a structure that led us to understand more complicated life stuff.

But what about adults? Have we really become exempt from the drill? Many of us, grownups, have despised setting a daily routine and chose to ‘wing’ the day as part of claiming independence, self-determination, and freedom.

Big words, huh? But who said routines take away these things from you?

In fact, research shows that many people feel more stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed without established routines and schedules. As a result, people begin falling short of their goals and true potential. And thus, compromising their ability to live with full independence and freedom.

Many people who don’t have any type of routine suffer from:

  • Stress. Overwhelmed by the number of tasks here and there that seem to come all at the same time.
  • Poor sleep. When there are stress and anxiety, your brain cannot rest and give you a good sleep.
  • Poor eating. Without norms or schedules for, say, grocery shopping and meal prep, the busy adult and city life, will just push and bump you from all sides to just grab an unhealthy and quick fix from the fast food resto.
  • Poor physical condition. Regular exercise is just about routine and schedule. And endless has been said about the health benefits of regular exercise!

Hence, research suggests that, even for adults, designing a routine that works best for each of us is key to being productive, in control, and being the best person we can possibly be.

And here’s the top 8 reasons why routines are very important ingredients to a happy, fulfilled, and maximized living:

1. It creates structures.

Routines and schedules draw out the framework within which conduct our daily activities and live our lives. As you create a structure, you create a system, a flow that makes accomplishing tasks a breeze.

2. We save resources—time and money!

These two are such precious resources, especially these days. But by following a routine, we free up time that would otherwise be spent on planning, decision-making, and repeated preparation. We also save up money by spending it on priorities and planned manner (READ: non-impulsive shopping). Very practical stuff like bulk buying, batch cooking, etc. And by doing so, we create space for things that would further enhance our health and overall wellbeing.

3. We become more efficient.

Routines and schedules make up a good plan. And as you implement this plan, the set schedules enable us to know exactly what tasks we need to do each day or the next without having to contemplate, decide or think too much. TTDs (things-to-do) are fleshed out at once and so our day is just about actually ticking those boxes.

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4. We make good examples.

Remember we said kids need routines to train their systems? So, by following some ourselves, and actually building the household around established routines and schedules, we imbibe discipline and become good examples to our young ones.

5. Priorities first.

Routines force us to decide and prioritize doing what is important to us. Instead of navigating the decision-making process on a daily basis, routines and schedules give outline everything that we need to do and in what order according to how we have planned it.

6. Builds our self-confidence.

As we become familiar with our tasks ahead, we get more comfortable doing them and become masters of the game. And as we tick the boxes—accomplish milestones—we become more confident about achieving our set goals.

7. Better health.

Manageable tasks and responsibilities ahead mean less stress, less anxiety. Which translates to better sleep and a better outlook. Ang of course, as we place the right amount of time, effort, and material resources for a healthier diet, physical activity, and all other self-care practices, we build a much healthier body, mind, and spirit.

8. Keeps track of our goals and success.

Carved out from our plan, routines and schedules are markers for our milestones. Of course, good planning allows for adjustments according to our situation. But it also keeps our guard and conscious about slacking and letting the day take over us. At the very least, schedules remind us how far we’ve gone from the track and pulls us back to the right one.

But always remember, the point here is actually about being mindful of our choices. Routines and schedules should never bring us in auto-pilot mode. But rather build in us the habit of making conscious choices to live a maximized life.

Right routine or creatures of comfort?

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This week I was sitting in a cafe

and overheard two women behind me chatting about a gym injury. So of course I listened in.. one lady was explaining how she hurt her back from a workout and, being in her 50s, she felt embarrassed, after being surrounded by what seemed like so many other older and fitter people – especially this one man in his 70s who looked like he worked out everyday.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]She was contemplating the idea of retiring early, in her late 50s, because maybe work isn’t doing her any good and she can’t find the time to look after herself or make time to be active in the evenings.

The thing about this story, and many other similar woeful tales, is that she is believing in the myth that we can’t take care of ourselves, even in the smallest way, in our day-to-day lives. This lady is trapped in a routine of coming home from work, having a coffee, putting her feet up and then winding down for the night. And she is doing this every night, seven days a week, so that when it comes to actually trying to move her body, of course it feels like she can’t! 

In light of the New Year, I recently wrote about how to stick to your resolutions and how that simply begins with changing some of your bad habits and surroundings in your daily life. Your routine can play such a big part in this and once a good routine is established, the rest will just fall into place.

Now back to this woman in the cafe.

I wanted to turn around, grab her by the shoulders and tell her, “it can be easy to change your routine and get a little bit fitter, gradually day by day, instead of feeling like you have to walk out of the gym sore and exhausted – because you’re competing with a 70 year old who has spends all his time working out, which is probably not even true anyway!”

In Atomic Habits James Clear looks at scientific research to show how tiny changes in behaviour can result in the formation of new habits, which will in turn help you to achieve big things.

We should be more energy efficient when it comes to how we make changes and form good habits. If we don’t have things automated in our lives, aka routinised, then we are releasing more energy than necessary in order to get it done. Whether it’s your morning routine or your workout routine, there are steps we can take to make sure that these daily rituals don’t feel any harder to accomplish each day. 

Take, for example, my morning yoga practice. When I know I will be doing yoga in the morning after I get out of the bathroom, I always make sure I have already cleared my bed, rolled out my mat and lit a candle. I don’t waste any more mental energy pondering about when am I ready to start my practice. So then once I know I am stepping onto my mat I have more energy, physically and mentally, to learn a new pose or mantra.

The answer is easy, make it easier for yourself!

Create a routine that you actually want to keep up and be more efficient to save yourself the energy. If you need some more inspiration and are lucky enough to be living in Berlin, I am giving a lecture series on creating self-love where I address how to introduce new routines into your life, among other concepts of ayurveda and yoga. If not, you can always catch me for a free consultation by booking through my website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]