Why I Always Have a Routine
March 1, 2020
We may think routines are boring and that we should avoid them. But, they give us a sense of familiarity and control. They make us feel in control because they are predictable, and we know exactly what we need to do and what the outcome will be. Routines also save us time and free our minds to explore and think about new things.
When we go through changes in life–and we face uncertainty–having a routine makes us feel in control. Being able to develop and follow a routine also makes us more resilient to unexpected situations and less risk-averse. Because no matter what changes we go through in life, knowing that soon we will re-take or re-develop a routine, gives us the confidence to handle those changes. We get a confidence boost by knowing that no matter what happens “outside,” we can always adapt to our circumstances and come back to our routine, even if that routine has changed slightly or it's completely different.
Routines also allow us to be better at decision-making. Rational decision making is a finite resource in our brain. It gets depleted throughout our day as we make more and more decisions. Having a routine means that we don’t have to spend precious decision-making resources unnecessarily. We don’t have to think about those decisions because they are part of our routine, and we can just follow along. Having more brainpower at our disposal means that we can be more creative, more effective at decision making, at learning new things or analyzing complex tasks.
By cutting off some of the decision-making from our day, routines save us time. We can then use that time for more productive or enriching activities. We can go out to explore and experience new things, places or ideas. This will spark our creativity, simply because that’s how our brain works. We come up with new ideas by associating thoughts and experiences gathered from different sources. And, having extra time takes some pressure off our day.
In summary, creating our own routines brings many benefits. It gives us a sense of control and confidence to adapt to change. Routines free our minds to focus on important tasks and decision making, and we can be more creative. They also save us time that we can use for more productive and enriching activities. By “automating” unimportant tasks into a routine, we can focus on the important things that require our full attention.