Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

The Power of Routine

Routine. Far too many people view it as a four-letter word. In their minds, routine equals stagnation. It means someone is stuck in a rut.

But routines are also powerful. Routines can help you ensure that you do something you need to do. Routines help build habits.

Routines can quickly lose their power, though. They don’t have to, and there are ways you stop that from happening. Let’s take a look at three of them

Try Something New

A routine becomes routine when you do the same thing, over and over and over again. When you’re in that cycle, a sense of sameness can wash over you. Boredom can become ever present. Your motivation can leach away. So much so that you stop doing whatever it is you’re doing, no matter how beneficial it is.

No matter what you’re doing, try to regularly mix things up. Try adding a new element to what you do. Try something a bit more challenging. Add a new ingredient.

Let’s say you’re doing a routine of bodyweight exercises. On a day where you’re focusing on push ups, try doing them with your feet or hands elevated. Try doing 10 pushups, then rolling on to your back and doing 10 crunches, then repeating until you can’t do any more.

Even if you’re just trying to drink more water during the day, you can spice that routine up. How? By adding juice from a lemon slice to the water.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need to use your imagination.

Remember that not all of your experiments will work. There’s no reason they have to. What’s important is that you’re doing what you should be doing while trying something a little different.

Plan Ahead

While it’s great to randomly mix things up (and you should), you should also try to keep a schedule. Have set days and times for doing things. The schedule helps you maintain your routine, which in turn helps you build a habit that’s essential for your to achieve your goals.

But don’t let the schedule be a set of manacles. Don’t do the same things on the same days at the same times week in, week out. Instead, shuffle your schedule around a bit.

Change the days and times at which you do something. Vary the duration. Depending on the week, spend a little less time or a little more time with your routines. And, of course, mix things up every so often.

Take an Occasional Break

No matter what you’re doing or trying to do, no matter how excited or enthusiastic you are about it, it can become a grind after a while. That daily grind can quickly sap your excitement, your enthusiasm, and your motivation.

When you feel that happening, and when mixing things up doesn’t work, it’s time to take a break. Not a long one — a day, two days, three days at the most. Anything longer and you’ll lose your momentum. You’ll break free of the routine, but you’ll also break the habit you’ve formed or set back your efforts to form it.

Taking the occasional break helps you reset your systems. It clears and refreshes your mind. It reboots your motivation. You’ll clear away the ennui you were feeling and you’ll be ready to pick up where you left off.

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