Category Archives: Productivity

The Positive Benefits of Routine



Definition: a sequence of actions regularly followed.
Example: Awaking after a lengthy sleep.

Definition: Habit of behavior that has become dull and unproductive, but is hard to change.
Example: “You’re in a rut.” No one ever says: “You’re in a routine.”

In fact, the word rut is almost never said with a positive connotation unless we’re talking about standardizing ruts on dirt roads.

The word routine, on the other hand, is often given a positive spin. Mike Murdock’s phrase, “The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine,” makes a daily routine sound almost mystical.

It’s hard to find an illustration for routine, but this caricature of a woman with a clip board comes close if you imagine that every morning she sets out her task list before tackling the day.


The positive reasons to have a routine are similar to the reasons we should practice time management and keep schedules. We establish a routine so we can plan ahead whether it be for five minutes, five days, or five years.

Routines establish good habits that can override bad ones, such as procrastination or rewarding yourself with a cookie after you eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If you make it routine to get up and wash the dishes instead of eating the cookie, you might forget about the cookie. I never do, but you might.

Routine activities don’t require thinking. My morning routine is to get up, drink coffee, read email and on-line newspapers, and give the cat his insulin injection. Experts say this sequence of habits saves me bags of time I might have spent thinking about what I need to do.



Routines start in the morning. Branson’s routine is simple. He starts his day at 5:00 a.m. With that time he exercises to clear his mind, enjoy the endorphins, and keep himself fit. Then spends time with his family and dog. This puts him in a good mood and grounds him for the day ahead.

Branson once said, “The spirit of adventure motivates us to set goals, push ourselves, thrive in the face of hardship, and achieve epic feats.”

Routines are essentially about setting goals and pushing ourselves to achieve them. Brianna Wiest, author of The Truth About Everything, observes that routine gives us purpose, the happiness of accomplishment, and a state of mental flow.

We can set as many goals as we like,

but without a routine to support them, they’ll remain out of reach.


Illustrations from Wikimedia Commons with Creative Commons Attribution.

Busy Cartoon Businesswoman by Victor Toons.

Richard Branson by Land Rover MENA.

Anne Cain. “A day in the Life of Billionaire Richard Branson.” Business Insider. Feb. 5, 2018.

Brianna Wiest. “The Psychology of Daily Routine.” Thought Catalog. Oct. 27, 2015.

Chris Winfield. “What Everyone Can Learn from Richard Branson’s Morning Routine. Business Insider. Oct. 2, 2015.

Daily Planners, Digital PDA’s, and Bullet Journals

In the beginning of my calendrical life, there was a small book with twelve monthly calendars and the days divided into little squares. With tiny handwriting, one could fill in the squares. 10:00 Dentist. That sort of thing. There was often an address book in the back, and perhaps a couple blank pages for notes.… Continue Reading

NANOWRIMO aka National Novel Writing Month

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Thoughts on Weekends aka Work-Life Balance

On Fridays I post a floral picture and wish everyone a good weekend. But even as I extend my wishes, I realize that what I think of when I use the word “weekend” isn’t accurate. Many people work on weekends as part of their regular hours. Others bring work home. I did that for years.… Continue Reading

“Should I Kill Myself, or Have a Cup of Coffee?” – Albert Camus

Calliope, Muse of Eloquence and Epic Poetry just highjacked my blog for the second time. Last time she led me to scandal when I wanted to write about washing machines. This morning I expected to write about the social ritual known as “Morning Coffee.” “No, No,” Calliope said wagging her finger and pointing at my… Continue Reading


Once upon a time, perhaps around 1955, there were four career paths for women. In alphabetical order women could become nurses, secretaries, teachers, or wives. Wives, of course, didn’t work. [Note the fictional aspect here. Of course wives worked, and there were lots of jobs done by women. But technically a job isn’t a career.… Continue Reading

Library of Congress – Our National Repository

  When you think of Washington D.C., what comes to mind? Most people think of visiting the White House, the Capital Building, and Mount Vernon. Maybe various exhibits at the Smithsonian Museum. But, unless you’re an academic researcher, you might overlook the Library of Congress, and it’s well worth an excursion.   Congress established the… Continue Reading

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