Making an Adjustment to Your Routine

by Shannon Mouton on October 14, 2011

It’s time to get back into the routine.

You get up, do this, accomplish that and go to bed…you know rinse, lather and repeat.  A routine keeps you focused, on task and goal oriented.

It’s not a routine for routine’s sake, it’s routine because it’s planned.

There’s time for spontaneity, organized, though flexible and designed with success in mind included. However there are certain to be bumps along the way. This routine has worked for you in the past, and will work for you now.

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this party started!

Wait, Are You In a Routine or a Rut?

You know how to tell the difference between a routine and a rut, though you may have trouble putting your finger on it, at first. A rut feels different from a routine.

Your routine is in a rut when your plan is “played out”, when your organization is uninspiring, and when success has plateaued. You know you’re in a rut when you’ve done the same routine for the last few years– and you’re tired of it. You want a change, but without upsetting the proverbial applecart.

There is a safe and surefire way to get out of your rut that will bring new life to your routine.

Do some thing different.

Out of a Rut and Back Into a Routine in 3 Easy Steps

First, consider making an adjustment versus making a change.

People have an innate distrust for change, and while this may be a matter of semantics, language is important. If the adjustment is going to affect family members or co-workers, how you convey it and how they interpret it are crucial to support and success.

Second, as with eating an elephant, make adjustments a little at a time. Remember, the routine itself is solid, it only needs to be spiced up a little to keep it interesting.

It will be easier to adopt, less stressful to implement and more likely to succeed if it’s small and impactful instead of large and wasteful.

Finally, psychologists say it takes 66 days for most actions to become a habit, which is good in this instance.

If after two or three weeks, the adjustment is not working out as you had hoped, then adjust the adjustment. Remember, this is your routine- only you will know when it’s not a rut any longer.

Some suggested adjustments:

  • Get ahead: rise 15 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
  • Change venue: eat lunch away from your desk, or sit in a different seat during the team meetings.
  • Do a switch-a-roo: check voice mail before you open your email or vice versa.
  • Go silent: turn off your mobile phone, tablet and computer for 30 minutes in the middle of the day.
  • Brighten your environment: rearrange your office, keep fresh flowers on your desk, or open your curtains, blinds or shades.
  • Delay gratification: do the daily task you like least first and leave the majority of the day to the tasks you enjoy.

Royalty-Free Image courtesy of ClipArt.com

Additional resources:
Tell Me Not [Redux], by Patricia Frame
Motivation: A Key to Business Success, by Susan Liddy

Shannon Mouton is a marketing strategist with 20 years of relationship marketing, community building, event management and outreach experience. Her professional blog, Shannon’s blog about marketing, public relations, social technology, entrepreneurship and other things, explores the business world, and her personal blog, Shannon Sez So, examines life’s joys, pains and idiosyncrasies. She also contributes to Gridiron Gals, as a die-hard fan of the Washington Redskins. Shannon serves on the boards of directors for The George Washington University Alumni Association and the In Series, a performing arts organization in Washington, DC. She also regularly volunteers at Calvary Women’s Services.

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