Establishing a regular routine enables you to start each day with a sense of ownership, order, and organization of your life. No matter what you have going on, knowing you have a set of tasks to complete keeps your mind focused on achieving your personal goals and maintaining a healthy mindset. Everyone’s daily habits and routine will look different but these five key benefits apply no matter how you organize your day in order to achieve a healthy balanced life.
1. Productivity May Increase
One of the main benefits of a routine is the ability to get the most out of your day. When you have an assigned set of tasks that you need to complete you’re less likely to push them back till later as the rest of your time is already filled. You’ll start to find that you actually feel as though you have more hours in the day as you’re achieving more. Start by identifying tasks, set goals and then develop a routine that ensures you accomplish these.
A simple way to get started is to follow the SMART method. To ensure your goals are clear and well defined they should be:
- Time Bound
2. Can Improve Sleep
It goes without saying that sleep quality increases when you’ve had a productive and satisfying day, the mind feels at ease while your body welcomes the opportunity to rest and recharge. Aim to head to bed at the same time most nights as this allows for your body’s natural rhythm to sync up with your routine and trigger the sleep hormone melatonin which is enhanced with a clear daily routine. The same goes for waking in the morning, set an alarm and intend to get up at a scheduled time each day. A fixed wake time helps build a strong desire to sleep throughout the day which increases as you approach bedtime resulting in a better-quality sleep. For tips on ensuring a good nights sleep visit:
3. Helps You Feel More Positive
Ensuring you have a reliable routine in place provides you with feelings of control and security in areas of your life that matter. No one can predict the future but having a familiar structure to your day is a source of comfort and helps keep the mind focused on achieving your goals. When your attention is directed in a positive way it leaves less room for distractions and negative thoughts.
Researchers have found that routine can have far-reaching psychological benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety by ensuring we consistently “check-in” with ourselves throughout the day. Clinical Psychologist Steve Orma says “Just as we create routine with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health. One way to do this is scheduling thinking time to sort through any problems or worries weighing on you instead of letting them build up”. A constructive way to do this is either by journaling or going for a walk in nature and allowing yourself to be present without any distractions.
4. Advanced Relaxation
Relaxing is much more enjoyable when you know you’ve achieved your goals and had a productive day. You’re able to disconnect and get the most out of a relaxing activity when you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. Relaxation should be scheduled into your routine as it’s just as important as any other aspect of your daily goals as it allows you to recharge.
The key to relaxation is to implement strategies that make your mind less stimulated. You should aim to avoid digital devices as these activities may feel like a break but they don’t allow your mind to actually settle. Alternatively, they stimulate the mind and create a reward system which generates a hit of the pleasure chemical dopamine. This feels good at first but can lead our mind to become overstimulated once we turn our devices off.
Instead aim to relax by engaging in active or passive tasks which include:
- Going for a run
- Yoga Class
- Art Class
- Going to the Gym
- Listening to an audiobook
5. Enhanced Spontaneity
Routine is sometimes viewed as a boring aspect of life that leaves little room for spontaneity yet it can be quite the opposite. You allow yourself to have more fun when you know you have a routine to fall back on. You’re more likely to go on that road trip you’ve always wanted to or book that last-minute holiday when you know you’ve followed your routine and achieved your set targets and goals.
Satisfying your desire for new experiences is crucial to your overall wellbeing, it’s important not to become so rigid in your routine that it begins to cause stress or prevent you from doing the things you want to do. Ensure you allow for time to try something new, learn a new skill or simply have a day of no plans. Once fulfilled, you can return to the security of your routine and continue to achieve your goals.
Developing a routine doesn’t have to be complicated, it can simply consist of small activities you perform every day either at work or at home. No matter the case, following a set of systematic practices can help you become more organized, self-aware and successful. As long as you’re able to adapt your routine to the changes in your life and continue to find it helpful, not harmful, routines are great to build on and develop over time.