The routines that get us off to a start

Yesterday was a slow day. I woke up later and slower than I usually do. I skipped most of my morning routine. At work, I tackled each task as it flowed through the mailbox, rather than planning in advance. Everything seemed like a drag. I could clearly sense how much longer I took for getting things done. After the frustration of spending an entire work day this way, I was curious as to what had hijacked it.

On certain occasions, my motivation is sucked away, my energy levels drop, and my productivity is sapped without any clear reason. More often than not, this happens on Mondays after lazy Sundays, or when I work from home, or when my morning routine is disturbed.

Our routines and rituals for any given day prime us for optimal performance, and sets us up for success. It is when this daily discipline is broken, that our productivity drops. This is also true on a weekly basis – days and weeks are the two rhythms that define the passage of our time. Unless we have a renewing weekend, Mondays can feel like being woken up with a bucket of cold water.

Routines are often perceived to be boring, with the pretext that they do not allow for spontaneity. I would argue against this. Our routines help us to bring our best versions to a particular situation. That, for me, represents living in the moment far better than a party that lasts into the morning and leaves us with a hangover for the next couple of days.

The next time you have a slow day or a slow Monday, ask yourself how you started that day or how you spent the weekend before.

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