Routines are good, we agree, but only as long as you are in complete control of them. The moment they take over and start dictating your choices on how to get things done, you are in trouble. It is quite common for some of us get stuck doing the same things every day either because they have worked alright for us at some point in time or because they are simply convenient. According to Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn, our routines may be limiting our brain’s ability to build skills and knowledge. “Changing your work environment and daily movements – taking a different route to work, for example – can maximise the brain’s effectiveness, allowing you to retain more information and be more successful,” says Carey.
But how do we know when it is time to shake up our routine and usher in a change? Here are some tell-tale signs that you should look out for to know if your routine is pulling you back and killing your productivity:
You are stressed about following your routine
We all have enough stress in our personal and professional lives, and we really don’t need the added pressure of sticking to a self-imposed routine. Do you feel extremely guilty for not sticking to your routine? Are you unsettled if things don’t go the way they do every day? If you answered yes to these questions, we are sorry to let you know that you are officially a slave to your routine. You are too dependent on it and this rigidity of staying in line is risking your well-being. This may also mean that you might put off priority work just to make sure that you can check off other less important work on your daily to-do list first. A good routine is one that is flexible. If there is no room for surprises and a bit of adjustment, it is high time you made space for that in there.
You do not care about the results
Sometimes, you find that you rarely give importance to the outcome of what you do every single day. You are only bothered about what is being done, not what it is leading to. You are used to your own set ways of doing things and are not ready to experiment with a new method that might be more effective. Here, you are being obsessive, not productive. Say your new project needs you to come in to work during a totally different schedule. But you are too resistant to change and don’t want to tamper with your routine that is working just fine at present. Understand that things change every day and your life and career will grow with time, but only if you are open to accepting such changes and adapting to them. If your routine doesn’t let you do so, it is only being counterproductive. Think of what you are achieving by doing a certain thing every day. If not much, then it’s time to rethink and redesign your day.
You are not letting yourself go to the next level
Your routine may be working fine for you. You might reach work on time and complete all the work assigned to you. However, are you too settled in your routine that you are not looking to move up the corporate ladder for the fear of losing out on the predictability your routine offers? Sure, routines were made to make life more predictable and make you more productive as an individual. But, if it is tying you down to your position for years and pulling you back from taking up newer challenges and bigger responsibilities, it is time to revamp your daily ways. Remember, success rarely comes from a comfortable space. It comes from moving out of your comfort zone, it comes from disruption and it comes from facing challenges.
Take a good look at your daily routine and find out if it is too rigid and if it stifling your creativity. Try taking a day off from your routine and see how it makes you feel and how it affects your work responsibilities. Getting stuck in a rut is never going to let you progress and stay motivated. So shake up that familiar course of things and do things differently to become more creative, more engaged and more productive.