Some people are what we often call “creatures of habit” and are the ones who thrive off of routine and structure. Others are sometimes deemed “free spirits” and are the people who cringe at to-do lists and feel stifled by schedules. No matter the personality type, upbringing, or work ethic, some level of routine is beneficial for everyone.
"People who are very, very successful don't forget the importance of routines,” says Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. “There's a huge correlation between thinking very deliberately about (creating) the right habits in your life and developing successful habits.”
Whether we’re working off of an hour by hour schedule or simply a loose outline for the day, routines can enable us all to work smarter, more efficiently and with greater ease. “Habits help us get through the day with minimal stress and deliberation,” says social psychologist Wendy Wood.
Here are some reasons why you, the busy online school student, could benefit from building a routine.
Routine provides a sense of structure and familiarity, helping to organize your life in a way that makes sense to you. Everyone will develop a structure that looks a little or even a lot different than the next person’s as these structures are a way of playing to your strengths and working around your weaknesses.
Instead of wasting time and mental energy on making a decision, you can jump directly into getting the task done. Instead of creating each day from scratch, routines create a framework of small decisions you no longer have to make, so you have more time to devote to things that matter. If you make it a routine to eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday, you won’t have to wonder what you’re having for breakfast, thus eliminating a decision you have to make in that day.
Helps you practice and master things quickly
Let’s say you want to learn how to play the piano. The best way to ensure that you will practice the piano is to schedule it into your daily routine. Creating routines gives us an opportunity to identify the things that really matter, make them a priority and then generate adequate time to accomplish them. When we do something daily, even for as little as 30 minutes, we dramatically increase our efficiency and are able to master that activity very quickly.
Ensures productivity when you don’t feel motivated
Life happens, our motivation comes and goes, and some days we simply won’t feel like practicing the piano. Having a routine is often what jumpstarts our motivation and forces us to simply sit down and do the work. When it’s scheduled into the routine, doing the activity becomes nonnegotiable and we are then able to continue being productive and working towards our goals, even when our motivation levels rise and fall.
What are some of the ways that routines help you live a successful life? Are there strategies you have found that help you be a better student?
Remember that routines are meant to empower you to be the best version of yourself. You have the ability to make and mold them to best fit your individual, remarkable life.