When can a routine actually be a bad thing? Well, sometimes this can be pretty difficult thing to work out. The reason for this is that routines are made up of habits, and habits become almost subconscious after a while.
There is also a widely held idea that being able to stick to a routine is something that is an achievement, and in very many cases it absolutely is. But if your routine has been hard won, then you might well consider it too valuable to ever be having any negative effects.
Routine is what makes you feel focused and on top of things. Those are soothing emotions, especially for people who are maintaining a tricky work-life balance and are highly productive. There is also the frightening idea that, without your beloved routine, your life would fall to pieces.
Next Level Daily, a company specializing in planning products such as a high-performance planners, say that paradoxically, better planning can be the way to lessen the grip of a bad routine. Remember, routine is made up of habits and many of these go unplanned and ultimately unnoticed (if something is a habit then you don’t need to plan for it). By planning out your professional and social commitments, you can get a clear picture of what you actually need from your routine – and where it is overstepping its bounds.
The Value of a Routine
Before going on to how your routine could be bad for you, it is worth considering how routines can be good. After all, a good routine is indeed something that takes work to establish, and which can be of great value.
Routines are made up of habits.They begin with careful planning, but they become second nature. If you do not need to think about filing that weekly report every Thursday morning, then that frees up mental energy for tasks that are important but do require a prompt.
Building up a set of good habits is an essential thing to manage a busy life. Even planning itself can become a habit and then part of your routine. Many people automatically plan out their week on a Sunday evening, for example.
Signs Your Routine is Negative
Here follows some signs that your routine is perhaps getting in the way.
You Can No Longer Appreciate the Value
“Why do I do this?” is a fine question to ask yourself every now and again. You might be surprised by the answer. Routines are usually established because they work and, most often, everything in your routine will have had value once. But just because that value goes away, does not mean the routine will – especially when it has become an act of habit.
You are Concerned Most with Meeting Your Routine
As mentioned, routines are very comforting, and they give a sense of achievement. Nevertheless, that can be a false sense of achievement if you only care about meeting your routine and not what results this has in the real world. The routine should lead to results elsewhere in life – it isn’t an end in itself.
You Are Inflexible
Or you cannot handle emergencies and unexpected changes. Indeed, when your life is so regimented and you have become comfortable with that, the first curveball could leave you completely at a loss as to what to do.
To be clear then, nobody is saying routines are bad, but they can become a comforting sense of order that is almost subconsciously adhered to. Life never stays the same, and you need to break the mold every now and again.