Leveraging the Power of Routine – Feb 2024

Did you know that many neuroscientists believe that upwards of 95% of our thoughts and behaviors are completely automatic? We don’t realize they are automatic because they are so ingrained, we don’t think about it. But if you pay attention, you might notice that you tend to approach things the same way over and over again – not just routine tasks like chores and grooming, but how you handle conflict, what you do when you feel overwhelmed, and even those negative, judgy thoughts that run through your mind in response to everything that annoys you.

In the short video below, Nahid shows how you can leverage your brain’s natural inclination towards automation to directly address stress, drain and overwhelm. You can tap into the power of routine to streamline your workflow, increase efficiency and build that wonderful confident sense of being on top of everything.

After watching the video, we have some questions you can ask to help you reflect on how to get the most value out of the learning.

Reflection Questions:
  1. What was the most interesting or surprising insight you got from watching the video?
  2. Where do you see opportunities to use routines to make your life easier?
  3. Where do you find yourself resisting the idea of routines?
Why we Resist Routines

We often resist the idea of routines because we want to have freedom of choice and creativity. The idea of using too many routines can feel restrictive and many of us imagine even more drain going through our day like robots. In fact, I’ve seen many people misapply the idea of routines by trying to structure every minute of their day. This leaves them unprepared for surprises and often unable to bend to the inevitable changes that happen as the day unfolds.

Instead of thinking about routines as a structured way to plan your day, think of them as sequences of thoughts and behaviors that you can use to handle anything that repeats. In the video, I give an example of using an accounts-receivable process to greatly reduce the angst of deciding how to handle a client who isn’t paying bills. You wouldn’t have this planned into a schedule, but it would simply be a pre-set automatic “way” to handle these situations as they arise and save you the worry of deciding how to approach the situation as well as the time spent crafting email messages or getting the courage up to make a call. You can also choose to make an exception and ignore the process anytime it suits you! The routine is not there to trap you – it’s there to give you back time and energy, so you don’t waste it repeating decisions.

You may also notice that you have a routine way of handling situations that trigger you. In most cases these are reactions that don’t serve you. For example, if your partner withdraws, you might find yourself trying to force a conversation, even though you know this has backfired in the past. When you become aware of your patterns, you can make adjustments and see what works better.

If you’d like to explore this further, we have a handout that goes along with the video in our online learning center, and you can download it for free. Simply navigate to the online learning center and look for it under “Productivity”.

And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to talk with Nahid about coaching or bringing a workshop on routine building into your organization.




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