The Positives of Having a Routine

Even the most disorganized among us have a routine of sorts. Children have to be taken to and picked up from school at regular times. The workplace has starting and quitting times. Deadlines must be met; taxes and bills paid on time. Failure to do such things results in negative consequences. In these cases, routine is good. It keeps things running more smoothly and gives a certain necessary organization to life.

Life is full of change and unpredictability, and routines can provide us the sense of security that comes with knowing what will happen and when. Mealtimes, bedtime, walking the dog, attending annual family gatherings--things which give us a sense of connectedness and a feeling that some things in life can be counted on, no matter what, is a positive.

Routines can help us include some of the important things in life that might be neglected otherwise. Michelle and Barack Obama's Friday night dates come to mind. So does my daughter's regular Saturday afternoon family time. Birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions encourage us to pay regular attention to friends, family, and other loved ones in our life. Few of us want to take others for granted.

The Negatives of Having a Routine

A routine that is too rigid can become a rut, and a rut can become a trap. Some people are so adament about sticking to "the routine," that it becomes a full-blown stress when anything disturbs it. And you can count on disturbances! They are a part of life. But these people have forgotten how to think outside the cherished routine. The joy of spontenaity is missing. Allowing for the occasional pleasant interuption is an aggravation. Opportunities for learning new things, meeting new people, or paying proper attention to the people already in our lives suffers. Creativety also suffers. We become rigid and stale, and the effects are negative.

For others, the routine becomes boring, too predictable, and counter-productive to building a positive life. Boredom makes one restless and edgy. It tempts one to turn to whatever is handy, but not necessarily healthy, to relieve the doldrums. Boredom can drive a person to over-eat, to drink too much, to get lost in the mindlessness of watching television hour after hour. It stifles productiveness and creativity.

Finding The Balance

It is beneficial to us all to occasionally take a look at the role routine plays in our life. Perhaps we need more of it; perhaps less. With the right balance, we'll have enough routine to prevent chaos in our life, but the routine will be flexible enough to allow for the unexpected, to make room for the spontaneous joys. Play with your routine to find a balance that works well for you. Or if you're one of the lucky few, an examination of yours will let you know you've already achieved that balance. In the next post, we'll look more specifically at ways to find the right balance between having too much of a routine or not enough of it.

Do you have a set routine that works for you? If so, what is it about it that makes it a positive?

If you're bored or in a rut, have you considered ways to change that?

Author's Bio: 

Karen Chaffee is a free-lance writer, editor, and artist living in a small city in Michigan. One of her aspirations is to help others realize their potential and embrace life fully. The author says: Building a positive life and helping others do the same is a worthwhile endeavor.

Karen uses her writing as one way to achieve this goal.

"Life should be embraced, not merely endured. ~Karen Chaffee