By now I’ve made it clear that I’m a huge proponent of routines. Without solid routines, I feel disorganized and like I’m perpetually forgetting something. But the thing about routines is that they aren’t perfect. Eventually, there comes a time when the routines aren’t working anymore.
There could be several reasons this happens, but whatever the cause, there’s no use forcing yourself to keep up with routines that aren’t serving you, even if they once did. So in this post, I’ll outline some of the signs that your routines aren’t working anymore and need to be adjusted to get you back on track toward your goals.
1. You go through the motions without benefitting.
You’ve formed solid habits. You always (or almost always) follow through on your routines. Your organizational systems have become second nature. And yet these things aren’t really doing anything for you.
You might be asking yourself: What’s the point? Why am I doing this every day? The routines are easy to complete, but you don’t enjoy them, and you don’t have a solid reason why you keep doing them.
2. The routines are just another chore that “has” to get done.
Rather than completing your routines out of habit, you’re doing this out of a sense of obligation. Again, you don’t have a clear “why” for keeping up with these habits, only a sense that you “should.” You’re creating busy work for yourself, forcing yourself to check items off a list you don’t actually care about.
3. You lack clarity even after completing your routines.
You have consistent routines that you rarely miss, but something feels “off.” Instead of feeling accomplished or organized after completing your routine, you still feel as though you need to get organized. You may enjoy the routine, and you might even have a clearly defined reason for doing it, but it’s not helping you accomplish everything you need it to.
4. You find yourself repeatedly ignoring some steps & adding others.
You have your routine outlined and even written out on a pretty worksheet or bullet journal spread. But when it comes to actually going through the routine, you find yourself skipping or adding steps on a regular basis.
This probably means your needs or circumstances have changed slightly since you wrote out your routine. You don’t have to throw the whole thing out, since you still follow part of it, but you do need to adjust it to suit your current lifestyle and goals better.
5. You find yourself putting off the routines for later.
You may not have come right out and admitted it to yourself yet, but you dread this routine. There’s some part of it that you just don’t want to do. As a result, you keep letting other obligations or pastimes come first. This is probably because you know it’s not serving you, but you aren’t sure how (or haven’t had the time or mental energy) to re-evaluate and fix it to be a routine that you enjoy.
6. You feel limited or held back by the routine.
Again, this routine feels like an obligation, so much so that you can’t help feeling like it’s boxing you in. You’ve set out certain steps to complete, but there are other things you’d rather do (or need to do) with that time. Here you have competing priorities, and you need to consider whether this particular routine should be a priority at all.
7. You have a vague sense that something needs to change, but you aren’t sure what.
You feel restless, unfulfilled, and vaguely lost. This might not always be a case of needing to change up your routines, but changing up your routines can be one step in the process of determining what is causing this feeling of uncertainty.
Your routines aren’t working anymore: now what?
So you’ve determined that your routines and/or productivity systems aren’t working anymore. What do you do now?
First, you need to have a solid reason why you are setting a routine or system in the first place. What do you want to get out of it? What do you need to get out of it?
Then, determine what does and doesn’t need to be part of your routine or system. What tasks are non-negotiable, and what tasks would you enjoy doing on a regular basis?
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Recently, I found myself facing a few of these seven problems at once. As a result, I’ve been working on overhauling my routines and productivity systems so that they better serve my goals. One change I made was that I switched from one productivity app to another. It made such a huge difference! In my post next week, I’ll introduce this new platform, and how I use it to keep myself organized.
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