Another new school year! This is my fifth one, and I’ve started to feel a bit more comfortable with everything that comes with that. One of the key things that I’ve come to appreciate is the importance of routine. It’s not something that necessarily comes naturally to me. Routine has always felt like another word for boring, and I’ve always tended more towards going by the seat of my pants rather than following established, repeated routines. It seems like another excellent opportunity for a three point list, this time talking about the goodness of a routine.
- Routines cut down on the variables. Life is unpredictable. No amount of planning and routine can ever eliminate the random things that life throws at us. Even so, routine can cut down a lot of the variables that are in our control. When we work with other people, especially if those other people are junior high students, they will provide enough random craziness in your day. Settling down into your own routine will make it possible to maintain a solid base in the face of everything they throw at you.
- Routines help to build healthy, productive habits. Anyone can be on top of their game for a day. The hard part is having to do it, day in and day out. The only way to pull that off is by establishing the routines that will get you there. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We can build one routine at a time. For me, I noticed that sleep, coffee, and snacks throughout the day were key if I was going to be my best self in front of the students. Step 1, I got into the routine of getting up extra early every day. It gave me time to put on the coffee, drink a cup or two at home, and then take the rest of the pot on the road. From there, being tired earlier set my routine to get into bed when I needed to for a good night’s sleep, and then finally leaving early enough to hit a store and get my almonds, cheese sticks, or whatever snack would keep me functional.
- Routines make it easier for others to work with you. Partnership is key to success in most aspects of life, but they also complicate everything. The best way I’ve found to ease that stress is, you guessed it, routine. Think about it. It’s always easier to work with someone if you know, confidently, who they are and what they do. Routine is a proof of commitment to things. People who can’t be counted on from day to day make for rough partners.
All in all, routines get a bad rap for being boring. On the flip side, instead of boring, I’ve come to recognize them as be consistent and reliable. What routines are essential for you? Tell us about them in the comments!