I’m a total creature of habit.
For the past two years, I’ve roughly done the same thing every morning. Wake up, feed the cat, have a light breakfast, meditate and pray, get a work out in, then we are off to the races.
Some, like a good friend of mine, see that strict daily routine and think I am an insane person.
“Sounds kind of bland,” she told me once
“Maybe, but it gets me set up to do the interesting stuff.” I would reply
“How’s that?” She asked
Well, let me tell you why with my top 5 reasons to have a daily routine!
1. Better Sleep
Who doesn’t love a good nights rest? Notice though, if you don’t go to bed at a regular time, you sleep terribly and feel super crummy the next day? There is a reason for that.
We have this thing called an internal circadian biological clock. It’s what regulates when we are tired and more alert during the day. On average adults reach their deepest sleep between 2 and 4 am. If you get enough sleep in that window of time, your circadian clock will be kind to you and give you the energy you need at other points in the day.
If you are thrown off your schedule, and by association your circadian clock, restful sleep is going to be a hard thing to get. As anyone who has experienced jet lag can agree.
2. Stress Reduction
When you do something enough, it becomes second nature. Hence the age-old saying “practice makes perfect.” Naturally, when something becomes second nature, you’re not thinking about it as much.
Say you had a basic daily routine where you got up, made a couple of eggs, got in a shower, dressed, high fived your significant other and grabbed your keys off the kitchen table on the way out. You are getting your day off on the right foot, and you didn’t even have to think about it.
With that example, you have had breakfast, your clean and presentable, you knew where your keys were and you high fived your boo. All without having to scramble around making you late for work.
3. Eliminates Procrastination
When I was still fixing violins, I got the occasional heap of garbage. Varnish peeling, wood cracking, the kid who owns the violin somehow gave a perm to the horsehair on the bow. Those sucked.
And you better believe I avoided them. Thing was, they still needed to get done. So when my manager would come around and see a pile of violins stuffed under a rug, he was never thrilled.
So to get the crappy ones done, I made them the priority. As soon as I would get into work for the day, I picked the nastiest one in the stack and got to work. Knocking every single one out.
Thanks to my new routine of getting the worst done first, I got them out of the way instead of avoiding them to no end.
4. Finishing a List
Remember when you were younger and in school? When you were assigned that ‘diorama of the solar system’ project? Painting those styrofoam balls was such a pain. So you get your dad’s help, and he accidentally stabs his hand while putting the metal hanger through one. Then Earth suddenly has a giant red continent where Alaska is supposed to be.
It eventually gets done though. It may have been a pain and dad had to get some stitches, but it was done!
In adult life, we don’t get science projects anymore or the grades you do in school. So we are left with few physical accomplishments to feel validated.
With a set routine, you can account for at least a short list of things you know you will get done every day. You can always claim to get your daily checklist done and can hold your chin high because of it!
I’ve had to move around a lot in my life, and because of that, it was hard to ever get attached to much. It was difficult to make friends or even know what school I would be in the next year.
There was one tradition my family maintained though. Every Friday we would go to a local video store to rent a movie for that night and, in addition to the family movie, I was allowed to rent a video game.
It was the most consistent thing throughout my entire childhood and are some of my most fond memories.
When I moved to Chapel Hill a couple of years ago, I didn’t know anyone. I felt isolated from my friends and support group. So I treated myself and picked up a pizza and a video game. Something I still do to this very day.
Routine can give us a sense of familiarity in a place we may not have it yet. New can be a scary thing. So having something you know that will always be there is a huge comforter.
It’s fair that my friend feels like a routine can be kind of bland, but, in a way, that’s sort of the point. A routine is a comfort. A little bit of ground beneath your feet in a world that often feels chaotic.
A routine is something you can hang your hat on, and you know it will always be there for you. Even when your friend is being a jerk and calling you insane.