I find tremendous comfort in routines, structures, systems, and processes. If you’ve been reading my column, this won’t surprise you. My entire business is centered around helping individuals, teams, couples, business owners, and companies find more structure and get into the groove by supporting them to find what works and what doesn’t work. If you haven’t been reading my column, welcome to my monthly ramblings about ideas and thoughts about the habits and actions of productive and organized people. These are the things they do regularly to bring order to their day, i.e., routines!
Often, when I’m on one-on-one calls with clients during my workdays, the conversation turns toward their routines and structures. How they do what they do and WHY they do what they do. The answer always leads us back to the same place. Routines help us feel safe. Think about it — most people feel better when that list is in place when the bed is made when the meal plan is in place for the week. I know I do. Routines put your mind on autopilot.
This time of year, though, it’s easy to let the routines that normally ground and center us get off kilter given the chaos of the 60-ish days that we call November and December. So, this year I’m challenging you to keep your routines prioritized, rather than letting them slip by the wayside because it’s the “season of busyness”. An even deeper challenge is to determine what can you implement RIGHT NOW through the end of the year that will put you in a better place each day.
Keep up with your morning routine. Don’t have one? Put just one thing in place: Write a page in your journal, read for 15 minutes, meditate for 3 minutes (which means just sit still and breathe) or get some morning movement before anyone else gets going.
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Another routine to consider is to get things out of your head during this abundant time of year. You no doubt have lots of things swirling and pulling for your attention, so make it easy and externalize it. Pull out a notebook, put the date on top, and get your list put together before you go to bed the night before so you can get started on your day in a more focused way. Moreover, writing things down holds us accountable and we’re more likely to do those things than if they’re left churning around in our brains. Remember, your brain is for solving problems, not storing them!
Lastly, reflect on the day’s achievements. It can be easy to lose sight of the success you have had during the day. Taking a few moments at the end of the day to reflect on and celebrate your wins puts things into the proper perspective and gives your mind a reset for the next day. Research shows that people who write 3 things that they are grateful for each day were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor’s office. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what you have received, you pause to acknowledge the goodness in your life and the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. Take to heart how Benjamin Franklin ended every day and ask, “What good have I done today?”.
So, I’ll end this year’s column with the things I am grateful for. … My own daily routines that help keep me sane, my boys Steve, Ben, and Zack as well as where we live, how we live and who we spend time with. We are blessed. I’m grateful for you readers — thank you for your feedback, comments, support and for reading my column. Happy Holidays!
Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase workplace efficiency. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at email@example.com.