Now I’ve got back to daily blogging again I find myself back in the same old routine for producing posts:
- Put “Blog Ideas” on my NL-FVP list
- Go to my Blog Ideas note in Evernote
- Add any new ideas for Blog subjects to the list
- Select a subject from the list.
- Put “Blog” on my NL-FVP list
- Open a new blog post in SquareSpace
- Enter the title in the Subject line (today: The Same Old Routine)
- Enter a tag in the Tags box (today: routines)
- Enter a category in the Categories box (today: Articles)
- Set the publication time to tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
- Write a very brief first draft of the article.
- Two or three times more during the day, flesh out the article.
- Add links if necessary.
- Forget about it.
The result of following this routine will inevitably be a new blog post like the one which you are reading now. Why did I not publish any blog posts over the last few weeks? Because I didn’t follow this routine, that’s why. If I had, there would have been a blog post every day.
I have made a few alterations to the routine along the way. I used to put the Time, the Tags and the Category in after I’d finished drafting the post, but I found that I kept forgetting to do them. It works much better to put them in before I start writing.
Probably not many of you are writing daily blog posts, but consider the value of routines in all areas of life:
Why do some people have tidy offices? Because they have a routine for tidying their office.
Why do some people keep their friends over the years? Because they have a routine for maintaining friendships.
Why do some people have loyal clients? Because they have a routine for client follow-up.
Why do some people get full value out of every day’s work? Because they have routines to deal with as much work as possible.
Why do some people produce a mass of creative work? Because they have routines to keep them producing.
And so on.
When I first learnt to drive I was taught a simple routine by my driving instructor, which I was to go through every time I got in the car to drive it. It included “check fuel”, “check gearstick in neutral”, “check rear-view mirrors correctly postioned”. When seat-belts came in, I had to add “fasten seat-belt” (which took a bit of time to get used to). Now that I drive an automatic car the routine has needed further amending. I have a different routine when I drive my wife’s car because I have to cope with an automatic brake and the fact that the engine won’t start unless I have my foot on the clutch (instead of on the brake as in my car).
These routines have become second nature - I don’t have to think about them at all. Instead I can concentrate on moving safely into traffic whichever car I’m driving from where it is parked.
A few years back I also had a temporary routine for driving because I was finding it quite difficult to change gear smoothly on my wife’s previous car. I solved that problem by introducing a two-step routine. Every time I changed gear I gave myself a mark out of 10 for the smoothness of the gear change. After a very short time I no longer needed the routine and let it go. But not before I taught it to my wife who was having the same trouble.
These are just very simple examples of how routines can make a big difference. What areas of your life would be improved by introducing well thought out routines?