Time management: you can harness the power of routine

Time management_ you can harness the power of routine

Which do you think is more important, time management or routine? Perhaps you think they’re the same thing.  After all, having a consistent schedule probably means you’re managing your time well and you’ve developed some routines which are working effectively.

I’d say routine is more about the small things that make each day work (or not).  I’ve got tons of little habits that I barely notice any more yet I feel out of sorts if they’re disrupted.

In case you were wondering, the photo above is of my favourite mug.  It’s my constant companion throughout each working day and it holds the cup of tea that accompanies my morning dose of news, social media and gets me through my emails.  It was also a birthday present from my mum when I turned 40 and decided that I was going to completely change my career.  In a strange way each time I drink from it I’m reminded that whatever challenge the day brings, I’ve got my family behind me.

Why do we crave routine?

If I had to think about every single decision I make during the day, I’d be completely overwhelmed.  It’s enough of a challenge for me to get the children into clean clothes and out of the house without having to agonise over what I’m having for breakfast.  Plus there are only so many ways of getting to school.  Having a routine that I follow without thinking makes life much simpler.

In business, routine means that the small things that need to happen every day can be automated or something close to it.  Deliveries get unpacked in the same way, post is collected at the same time and every telephone call is answered with a consistent greeting.

Free your mind

It’s no coincidence that the most successful and powerful people in the world take routine to a new level.  I spend a fairly small amount of time scrutinising my wardrobe in the morning, working out what’s clean and where my toddler has hidden my earrings this time, but I’m already behind.  Barack Obama may be coming to the end of his presidency but I’m willing to bet he’s still got a fair few important decisions to make.  The fact that he starts the day picking up the next blue or grey suit from the rail means that his mind can already be on other things.  It’s rumoured that Albert Einstein had a rail full of identical outfits and he was no slouch.

The idea of adopting a uniform might remind you of school, but at least you can choose it yourself.  Plus you can get straight onto working out how your business is going to change the world!

Coping with change

If you’ve made the leap from employment to starting your own business, you’ll know that it can be pretty overwhelming at first.  Establishing a routine that you feel comfortable with makes the transition much easier.

I freely confess to being a creature of habit so it was really important to me to get my new routine in place as soon as I started freelancing.  If you struggle with this, think about your habits now and whether they can be adapted to suit your new life.  My commute to work might have vanished but the need for a caffeine fix hasn’t.  I just do it in a different place.

What do you think?  Do you like routine or does it defeat the object of being self-employed?

Further reading

Laura Dunn – the entrepreneur’s nighttime routine to success

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