Considering my Routines and Rituals

I have been thinking a lot about the routines I have (and don’t have) in my life and how they can impact things.

Over 13 years ago, I heard a pastor talk about how routines are helpful in a relationship…whether it is “watching the same TV show every week” or cooking a certain meal together or reading the Sunday paper in a certain order.  We certainly have our routines here at T-F headquarters and we swear by them.

But, when does a routine become a ritual? I would guess when the routine is totally ingrained in your world and you notice it and participate in it with a positive and meaningful way. I would classify some of our routines most certainly as rituals.

Morning coffee ritual? Check.
Weekend coffee ritual? Check. (same routine, different barista)
Party nite with the kittens ritual? Check.

Saturday morning cleaning routine? Check. (not quite in a positive participation just yet!)

Other routines I “try” to have are designed to make my life easier, fun and/or to get things done….like:

  • Putting my keys in their little cubby when I get home so I don’t wander around the next morning looking everywhere for them. 80% successful.
  • Putting my gym bag up and packing it again for the next trip. 90% success rate
  • Weekly backup of computer data. 100% successful since I don’t have to remember to do it..I love Backup from Apple for this. And, I am going to check out the new Mozy offering for Macintosh this weekend.
  • Practicing the piano. 10% at this point (boy, does not having lessons make my motivation to play drop, even though I enjoy it)

The piano practice could become a ritual, I would think. The others? Not so much but that doesn’t reduce their importance in being a positive part of my life.

Routines I need to work on becoming rituals:

  • Weekly review for my fledgling GTD system
  • Relaxing, truly relaxing….I have such a big project going on right now – I can feel the stress almost all the time so I must work on this. I have ideas..but I am lazy.
  • Meal planning to make shopping faster (and hopefully less prone to those impuse buys) and the food options healthier.

Routines I might need to drop or revise because they are not helping and probably won’t become ritual-like:

  • Reading too many productivity sites!! I enjoy getting all the tips and they can be motivating but how much time am I spending going through all the RSS feeds. I need to trim the excess here.
  • Dropping junk mail any and everywhere so I have to go all around to gather it, separate out useful from recyclable and process it all.
  • Checking my office email every .23 seconds. I have to work on that because it fritters away my day if I let it.

Not to take away the power of the spontaneous and unplanned – when it is the fun kind – but I think having a little more planning on how I can put some things into routines and rituals can only be a plus.

Off to consider more routines to help.

Photo credit: From the flickr stream of Ed Bilodeau