Routines are a part of all of our lives. At one time, someone had to remind you to brush your teeth and comb your hair. These were not things you were born doing. You had to learn how and then had to incorporate the practice into your everyday life. Little to any thought is given today to brushing your teeth or combing your hair, and it is such a habit that it requires little to no thinking. That is the power of habit. Some habits are positive, and some habits are harmful. Being able to incorporate things into our lives without much pre-meditated thought is a good thing.
For forty years I have served as a pastor. Though there are regular routines involved in ministry, there are times when things happen and your usual schedule goes out the window, if an emergency happens you need to be responsive and caring. There are those who believe because our lives at times are somewhat out of our control that it is hard to plan and follow an ideal day or weekly plan. I am of the opinion that because of the possibility of an irregular schedule, we are the ones who should create an ideal weekly schedule template.
What I discovered that helped me was starting and ending my day with a set of routines. These are the reasons I have found this to be very helpful:
- Setting routines early in the morning and at the end of the day helped me have some control over my life.
- Early morning and late evening were when I could spend time with the least amount of interruptions.
- Regardless of the events of the day, things went better when I started and ended the day purposely.
- My morning routine always had a small list of tasks (three most important tasks) that I needed to accomplish. By starting on one or two earlier in the morning gave me the feeling of having a jump start on the day.
- Finishing the day doing things such as reflecting and planning tomorrow assisted me in getting back on track regardless of what happened throughout the day.
- Focussing at the beginning and end of the day was a powerful tool for focus and accountability.
- You need anchors in your schedule to hold you steady.
What actions or tasks you incorporate into your routines will be up to you. Allow me to give you some of mine. I am not attempting to indicate that the way I do it is perfect, but it has worked for me.
Morning routine activities:
- Bible Reading
- Working on at least one of my important task/actions for the day
- Filling my social media buffer
- Checking to make sure that my Evernote files are up-to-date
- Making sure my inbox is at 0
Evening Routine activities:
- Bible Reading
- Determining my three most important tasks for tomorrow
- Making sure I have everything I need for the next day.
- Review my goals
You will need to determine what habits, actions, or attitudes are important for you. Over the years, I have tweaked mine and have finally settled on one that can assist me with my work and keep me on track with my goals.
I would suggest if you begin to bring morning and evening routines into your life: start small! Do not attempt to do a lot of things until you get proficient at a few things.
Bookends seem to be a good illustration of what this practice accomplishes for me. Regardless of how irregular or chaotic my day’s contents, the bookends keep me balanced and productive.
Do you have routines built into your schedule?