If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.Paulo Coelho
In our lives there comes a time when we realize it’s time to pick up a notebook and scribble down a perfect routine because productivity gets a massive boost when we have everything scheduled. Right? When this happened to me, I wanted a routine that would change my life forever. A routine that would make me unstoppable. With that very motivation, I started analyzing how I spent my days, gravely scrutinized my habits, reallocated my time, and soon enough I was holding a glowing sheet of paper with a perfect formula embedded in it. I was holding hope in the form of routine.
It appeared something like this –
- 5:00 am: Wake Up
- 5:00 am to 7:00 am: Drink lots of water, Exercise, Meditate and take a shower.
- 7:00 am to 8:00 am: Have a healthy breakfast and plan the day.
- 8:00 am to 9:00 am: Reconnect. Read Newspaper, Check email etc.
- 9:00 am to 10:00 am: Read Non-Fiction.
- 10:00 am to 12:00 am: Work.
- 12:00 am to 1:00 pm: Have lunch and rest.
- 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm: Work.
- 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm: Hangout with friends.
- 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm: Dinner
- 7:00 pm: Disconnect. Put away all the screens.
- 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm: Read Non-Fiction
- 8:00 pm: Prepare for Bed.
“Having a daily routine is like running a marathon. It gets tougher with every step forward.”
For around a week I did exactly as planned. Waking up early followed by an exercise session was an uphill task (No surprise). It was tough but I made it. As days passed my motivation deteriorated. I started hating that alarm tone, I hit the snooze button more often, avoided exercise and stopped reading every day. Soon I was the same old me & realized the battle is lost. I Failed.
Being an admirer of Gary Vaynerchuk I was not dejected after this failure. Instead, I began hunting for “what went wrong”.
Having a daily routine is essential for leading a productive life and it’s easy to come up with one. The only problem is not everyone can consistently follow it.
I found 4 major reasons why I failed to change my routine:-
1. Motivation is inconsistent.
“Motivation is an inner drive that provides us with the willpower to succeed and willpower is the foundation of success. Unfortunately, that drive is inconsistent.”
We feel motivated but not always. Whenever we read an inspirational article or watch a motivational video the firepower in us is triggered, we get into our supersonic mode and are ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done. However, that power mode doesn’t last for long. To be honest, life would be unbalanced if we had 100% motivation rate at all times. We would all be Superhumans. Anyway, it doesn’t work that way.
When I started my schedule my energy level was sky high and I was unstoppable. I was ready for everything. No matter how difficult, I was confident I’ll make it. After a week I started losing my energy and lost interest in waking up early. The incentive of becoming a highly productive person was not worth it anymore.
2. Rigid routines are unrealistic.
“A routine too rigid is prepared to fail.”
We all want things to go exactly as planned. Unfortunately, it happens only in the movies. In reality, flexibility is essential for a plan to succeed. Future likes to play unpredictable. While planning a routine always keep room for small-medium changes.
- In the above-mentioned routine of mine, you can see I planned to work for 4 hours straight. Although I used the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes work and 5 minutes break). I found that after being awake for around 8 hours, I wasn’t fueled enough to start a 4-hour work session.
- I started going to sleep at around 8:00 pm. It proved to be unsuccessful for a night owl like me. Earlier I used to sleep around 3 in the morning. My body wasn’t ready for such a drastic change. This made me realize I should have planned a routine which is doable.
However, it doesn’t mean we should totally forget about the plan and stop chasing it. After all, Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
3. Clarity is a must.
“Clarity of objective makes motivation last.”
Yep, that’s true. The only antidote of problem number 1 is clarity. Knowing exactly what we desire results in a strongly wielded willpower.
To attain clarity, answer these questions –
- What do I really want?
- Why do I want it?
- How should I achieve it?
- When exactly should I start?
I didn’t pay much attention to these questions during making the routine. Hence, I failed.
In my case, the answers would have been –
- I want to become more productive.
- Because my current attitude is not going to make me successful.
- I need to plan a realistic and doable routine.
- I should start during weekends so that I can cope up with sudden changes.
4. Patience is key.
“Patience is nothing but peace in disguise.”
It takes around 21-66 days to form a new habit. In a scenario like this ‘patience is key’. Being impatient will eventually bring you down. I’m the living proof.
When I was reading about changing a sleep schedule. I came across multiple websites with great how-to techniques about changing a sleep schedule. The one technique they all had in common was changing the sleep pattern in bits (a change of 15–20 minutes in every 3–5 days). But the process would take longer than I had expected. Therefore, I neglected this most important technique all these websites offered. Instead, I started going to sleep 6 hours before my usual time. As a result, I faced difficulty in falling asleep and felt tired the very next day. My body couldn’t take the drastic change in sleep pattern.
I must say, hundreds of other hindrances exist which show up while forming a routine. But these are the 4 major and most challenging ones I came across. I believe focusing on them will definitely give you a headstart. CHEERS!
First published on Medium