Creating routines that empower, not constrict.
You know there are activities that would make a huge difference in your life, like consistent exercise, time with God, healthier eating habits, answering email on time, or being proactive about growth, yet for some reason you just can’t seem to build it into your days.
It feels like a bunch of jumbled puzzle pieces in the box.
You know there’s a pretty picture in there somewhere,
if you can just get the puzzle assembled.
I used to balk against routines, viewing them like a constrictive straight-jacket. No thank you! I value freedom and flexibility. By ignoring the power of purposeful routines, I allowed self-induced, daily mild chaos to drain my creative juice. I didn’t realize that well-established routines put those activities on smooth autopilot, so all that mental energy could be used to consistently further my goals, improve my relationships, and increase my overall sense of satisfaction, instead of flailing around, hit or miss.
Each day, you have a finite portion of energy and focus to use as you will.
Elite athletes and top executives are aware of this limitation, so they create strategic routines to deliberately free up energy and attention for mission-critical tasks while ensuring that nothing important is falling through the cracks.
Routines are extremely useful to us because they create
a positive “domino effect”; push one domino over and it triggers
all the others to fall into place with no further effort.
We can link a group of behaviors together, so acting on one triggers us to systematically roll from one action to another on autopilot. When the routine contains positive actions, it works for us by getting things done without having to exert additional focus and brain power. In this way, mental energy is freed up to focus on other pertinent issues, like creative problem solving, working on goals, or being fully engaged with team members, or your children.
Look at the difference it makes to your available mental energy when a series of repetitive actions are committed to routine:
Initially, learning to drive was overwhelming! You had to constantly recall the rules of the road, practice gauging distances and spatial awareness of your car, the road, and other cars around you. It took all your attention just to keep going straight in your lane without weaving. Trying to park was enough to make you break into a sweat!
After lots of repetitions, driving is now like second nature to you, relaxing even. You’re aware of everything and make dozens of small actions and corrections as you go, yet you don’t have to think, “do this, now do that, make sure you do this…”. You flow from one required action to the next without exerting effort.
When you first started making customer calls to book appointments or meet with clients for sales presentations, your anxiety levels were high, your palms were sweating, and you desperately clung to your scripts and cheat sheets like a security blanket. By the end of the day, you were drained. All you wanted to do was go home and mindlessly channel surf.
After lots of repetitions, the process of booking appointments or doing sales presentations just flows for you. You’ve even come to look forward to it and you’re known for your ability to be present and attentive with clients. You know exactly what to say and when to say it, the points you want to make, and how to respond to objections without sounding like a robot reading a script. The process flows for you as a cohesive unit, so now your mental energy can be used to really engage with clients, listen attentively to them, and make adjustments on the fly to better serve their needs. As a result, your sales are soaring.
While the power of routine can set our energy free to focus on pertinent
issues that need our full attention and creative power, routines can also
sabotage us by triggering a domino effect in a negative direction.
Don’t worry though, because once you become aware of the triggering action, event, or thought, you can be deliberate about establishing a more useful routine in its place.
You hold the power to establish positive, effective routines on a personal and professional level that gets reoccurring things done in a systematic, chaos-free manner. As a result, your sanity is protected, and your creative energy is reallocated to achieving your goals and enjoying life.
Where does life or work feel chaotic and draining because of the lack of systematic action? What steps can you take to create a routine in this area?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
10 DAY P.E.A.R.L Challenge
I’ve created a 10 Day Challenge called P.E.A.R.L.
to help you cultivate rituals, establish empowering daily routines,
and elevate the right habits so you can create
powerful, successful days practically on autopilot.
To learn more, go to www.AnnetteChesney.com/PEARL