No matter where you are in your life, you’ve definitely been given the advice to set a routine.
It’s very possible that was good advice, too. But what if it wasn’t?
And how are you supposed to know?
There are a lot of things to considering, including lifestyle, personality traits, and needs. For example, if you’re prone to becoming rigid and over-structured, you might benefit from a little room for improvising.
But if your life is chaotic and things are falling through the cracks, routine could really help.
Take a look at these pros and cons to routines before you make any big decisions.
Reasons to make a routine
Getting stuff done
When you know you have a list of priorities and steps to getting those done, you’re more likely to be efficient and effective. Routines are a great way to prioritize your day and week to make sure everything gets done.
If you find that your to-do list is long and not enough hours in the day, this is one area where routines could definitely help!
Routines are great for setting expectations for you and your family. For example, if your kids know that they make the bed every monring….well, I’m not sure even a routine can help with that.
But in theory, once you do something enough times in a row, you begin to expect and anticipate that in your day without any extra effort on your part. Start small on these expectations/routines and work your way to the bigger ticket items.
Work for the whole family
Even more than busy adults, kids can and do thrive with routine. As a matter of fact, they likely will fall apart and struggle when their routines fall apart (can anyone say Quarantine 2020??)
And let’s be honest, if the kids are thriving with a routine the whole family is going to be thriving. So don’t just consider your own needs and tendencies when thinking about routines. Work the whole family into it.
Things don’t get missed
Similar to ‘making sure everything gets done’ is the idea that routines help you remember important tasks. If your daily routine takes you by the laundry mat, you’re not likely to forget to pick up your dry cleaning. But take a different route home from work and it is likely to be forgotten.
And it doesn’t have to be something as basic as a route to work. Take advantage of routines’ ability to help you remember things by building one around those tasks that constantly cause your problems.
Manage stress better
Lists, to-do, and expectations are a constant source of stress. If you have a routine built around getting everything done in an acceptable way and amount of time, your lists are much less likely to stress you out.
Reasons to ‘go with the flow’
Routine can be used as a crutch
If you find yourself using your routine as a reason to not engage in life and make decisions, you may be using it as a crutch, or excuse.
Doing laundry every Monday does not mean that you can’t take an opportunity to break routine every once in a while to have a fun family outing for a special occasion. And saying no to taking on a new responsiblity because it can’t fit your current routine is not always the right answer.
Don’t get me wrong, saying ‘No’ is absolutely 100% okay. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Variety is the spice of life
Sometimes routine can drown out the myriad opportunities and nuances of life that make it fun and interesting. You may have a better handle on chaos, but there are a lot of life lessons and fun that can come when you least expect it.
If you’re worried about your routine making life monotonous and boring, be sure to include time for fun and adventure in your routine.
You CAN schedule a time to be spontaneous.
It takes work
Routines do not come easy or quickly, as a general rule. They will take trial and error and tweaking of plans to find the right process for you. Then you have to dedicate to doing it long enough that it becomes a routine and a part of your life.
Make sure you are willing to put in the work and time it takes to establish a routine or else you will end routine-less and feeling like a failure.
Can lead to inflexibility
As I mentioned previously, if your personality ranges to the ‘stiff and unbending’ side of things, routines could be an issue for you. You might already be prone to finding and sitting in a rut and a routine is just going to gouge that rut out a little deeper.
Recognize that a routine is not an unbreakable part of life. They may need to be adjusted when they aren’t working or are creating problems in other areas of your life.
Growth and creativity are more difficult
If you are repeating the same steps over and over, you are likely to continue to receive the same results. And that is okay.
But what if there are areas that could be improved?
What if there is a better way of achieving your goal that you aren’t thinking of because you’re used to doing it the ‘same ol’ way? If you’re going to follow routines in your life, make sure to go back to the drawing board every now and then. It’s not a sign a failure but a sign that you’re willing and able to learn and grow.
Bringing it all together
There are definitely considerations on either side of the ‘should I have routines’ debate.
And there are valid arguements on both sides.
But with anything in life, it’s probable that the best solution is the one that is somewhere in the middle. Find a routine and try it out.
If it works maybe add another. If it doesn’t, go back to the drawing board to see if there is a better way to do it.
But in the end, there is really no way to lose when you make intentional and well-reasoned improvements in your life.
Best of luck to you in your new routines!
Follow me on Instagram where I show you more of my daily life and routines.
Don’t forget it. Pin it!