I previously wrote about tips and tricks you can use to build a daily routine that works for you. But that article doesn’t wholly address the question of why having a daily routine matters in the first place. Successful people are sticklers for routines, but why is that? In this article, we are going to talk about why having a daily routine is important to your overall well-being.
Colin Powell once gave a powerful TED Talk on the importance of instilling structure in children. It is the same with adults. Routine provides a sense of structure and familiarity. Structure is a way of organizing your life so that it makes sense to you. You wake up with a sense of ownership, order, and organization of your life.
One of the more convenient reasons why structure is important is because it negates the need to regularly schedule your days ahead of time. You already know what you are doing each and every day. Once you are finished with a task, you already know what is next on your schedule. This structure provides direction in your life, enabling you to act instead of standing still because of a lack of direction or decision paralysis (not doing anything because you don’t know what to do).
Builds good habits
We are creatures of habits. And Benjamin once said that “your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” Actively and consciously building a daily routine for yourself instills plenty of good habits. When we consciously decide what we want to do with every day of our lives, we generally want to do what makes us happy or what gives us the most utility. As such, we build tons of good habits along the way by actively participating in our daily lives.
A routine is something that you do over and over again, eventually making it a habit. Once it is a habit, you do not need to think about it to act. The act of automation increases efficiency in your life, by enabling you to do things without consciously thinking about it. You will automatically get things done, without having to remind yourself to get things done. In this manner, you do not let anything slip and you save time by not having to decide what to do with your day.
Negates the need for willpower and motivation
A routine negates the act of having to will or motivate yourself to do something. Willpower is finite and motivation is not constant. That is why relying on routine to accomplish tasks is a lot easier than relying on willpower and motivation. Yes, when establishing a routine, you do have to will and motivate yourself to get stick the the routine. But once the routine is set, it is on autopilot and the need for constant willpower and motivation is no longer necessary.
Routinely doing something every day, even if it is just a little bit, builds big momentum in the long run. There is a quote that goes “little by little, a little becomes a lot.” And I find that to be true for almost everything in life. Although the benefits of doing something every day are small, the payoff is huge after awhile. Saving $10 by cooking your lunch means you save an extra $3,650 a year. Running a mile a day means you will have ran 365 miles in a year, the distance of almost 14 marathons. Reading 20 pages a day means you will have read 7,300 pages in a year, close to 30 books.
It helps you become good at things
Developing a routine will help you become faster and more adept at what you do each and every day. If you are constantly writing each and every day, you will become a better writer. If you are constantly programming, you will become a better programmer. If you are constantly practicing martial arts, you will become a better martial artist.
Saves work on the back end
Routinely doing something will help save tons of hassles and work later on when it piles up. For instance, if you spend 10 minutes per day cleaning your house, you will save the headache of spending a whole day a couple of months down the line just dedicated to cleaning.