In today’s society you are bound to find contradicting advice on a variety of health-related topics. We won’t touch on all of them, but a common contributor is the topic of whether or not you should have a consistent daily routine. You may find that majority recommend “going with the flow”, taking each day as it comes, and leaving your schedule more open-ended. People like to follow this advice when they become overly stressed with their everyday life. However, the solution may not be to change your whole mindset and throw away your calendar. It can simply be to take a look at your daily tasks and organize your life on a structural level.
Structure = less stress
People may not realize that adding structure to your life relieves more stress rather than causing it. Structure allows you to organize your life in a way that makes sense to you. You wake up each day with a better ability to take on whatever the day may throw at you since you have given yourself a sense of order, and organization of your life. Not only will this lower your stress levels, but lower stress also means lower risk of heart disease (1). If you have a consistent daily routine, this will negate the need to plan your days ahead of time. You already know generally what your days look like, which allows you to smoothly move from one task to another getting a lot more accomplished.
Building consistent good habits
Actively building a routine for yourself will instill many good habits. Humans are naturally creatures of habit because our habits are what help us through our day. For example, next time you make breakfast in your own kitchen watch how effortlessly it happens. With this being said, habits save us time and mental energy, allowing us to use our constructive thinking for more important things throughout our day. Routines over time turn into habitual actions, which will result in more time to really focus your energy on other things throughout your day that may need your full attention. "We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response," Wendy Wood explains in her session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention (2). Repetition is key and once you establish a positive and consistent routine in your life, your good habits will begin to make a positive impact on your life.
You may have many routines throughout the day. You may have a morning routine, a work routine, a gym routine, an after-work routine, and then your routine before bedtime. Each one consisting of different habits and tasks. Routinely doing something everyday can have potential benefits in the long run. For example, if within your work routine you reach out to important business partners every morning, that will eventually go a long way for your career and your relationships with those companies. Also, if you start every workout session with a specific set of stretches, that will begin to positively affect your body, making you more flexible and less susceptible to injury during your workout. It’s the little things that matter in life, right? Making the important little tasks a necessity in your everyday routine, will result in big benefits in the long haul.
Keeping you focused on what’s important
Giving yourself a routine can alleviate extra work and hassles throughout the day. This can help eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. It has been shown that 41% of people spend a great deal of their time on discretionary activities that do not hold personal satisfaction (3). If you have not organized your daily tasks, it will begin to lead to a day filled with mediocre, or maybe even unnecessary, work. A structured routine will allow you to be more productive by consciously thinking about how you want to spend your time. You will be able to confidently decipher which tasks matter more to you or your organization and let go of the others.
Organizing your life by implementing daily routines may initially sound like extra work. However, a few of the same consistent tasks everyday will only result in a more balanced life. Structured routines will help your life feel more organized and manageable. It allows you to feel a sense of responsibility and control over your life, making you confident to start every day on a positive note.