Benefit of Routine (and the Importance of Breaking It)

by:Vu Nguyen May 24, 2016

Whether you’re a student in university struggling to balance course load, work and social life or an established adult in a 5 day/week, 8-to-5, routine has a place in your life. Simply put, routine introduces structure in our busy, chaotic lives. This structure enables you to maximize the time that you have and allows you to spend more time doing the things and spending time with the people that you love.

 

Routine in My Life

I’ll be the first to admit that I have not always been routine. There have been many days in the past where I can honestly say that I went to bed at night feeling like I accomplished absolutely nothing that day. I hated those days. I despised them. However, I was in an endless, vicious circle of ‘guessing’ my way through life, “playing it by ear” and procrastinating. It took me a little long to realize that, at least for my life, this ‘lifestyle’ was intolerable and unacceptable. I began asking the necessary ‘why’ questions (see my last blog post) and developing a routine. The benefits were priceless and immediate.

– My good habits became my only habits.

– My bad habits became a thing of the past.

– I became extremely efficient.

– I went to bed feeling accomplished.

– I was happier.

Today, I’m as routine as they get. I can confidently say that I can accomplish more in one evening than the average person accomplishes in a week.

 

My Routine (typical weekday):

 

5:00 – Alarm goes off (I usually wake up at 4:59 – one minute before the alarm).

5:02 – 5:12 – Head down to my favorite wing-back chair and meditate for 10 minutes.

5:25 – Dressed, packed and headed to the bus stop.

6:15 – Arrive at work (I read and/or answer emails that I received overnight).

6:20 – Make a pot of coffee for myself  (and my first set of colleagues that trickle in).

Meetings. Meetings. Meetings.

11:00 – Begin sipping on my Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s).

11:15 – Gulp my pre-workout.

11:30 – Depart for the gym. I work out for an hour.

12:45 – Have my creatine.

1:30 – Have my first meal of the day (I do intermittent fasting – topic for another day).

… I think you get the point.

My life, as it stands today, is very regimented but it allows me to do everything that I want to do. I cook a lot and am very strict with my diet. I meal prep. I play a lot of sports. I hike and travel a lot. I work a LOT (by my own choice). I spend a lot of time with those that matter most to me. This is only possible with routine. Don’t take my word for it though. Ask anyone on a strict routine. I’m certain they’ll tell you the same.

 

The Importance of Breaking Routine

As you can see, I am a huge advocate for routine. But just as important as having a routine is to break out of it once in a while.  Whether you are on a strict routine or strictly out of routine, without a temporary break, you may fall victim to complacency. It certainly happens to me! Every couple of weeks or so, I like to hit the reset button by inserting a small change of pace, or change of scenery. These changes do not have to be very substantial. Here are 5 things that I do to temporarily break out of my routine:

– Work in a coffee shop instead of at home (one I haven’t been to before if possible).

– Have a cheat meal once every one or two weeks (more on this later).

– Travel with the purpose of acquiring a new perspective.

– Network with the purpose of meeting new people.

– Go for a drive into the country with no destination.

With the exception of traveling, these are things that can be done with very little effort but have given me the boost required to achieve and excel at living the life that I want to live.

 

Do It…

Some may call this way of living crazy… maybe it is. All I know is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Stop guessing your way through life, stop “playing it by ear”. Stop procrastinating. Start living.

What do you think? Are you in a routine? What does your routine consist of?