My Latest Book

Product Details

Also available on,, and other Amazons and bookshops worldwide! 

To Think About . . .
Within a sequence of decisions, your most hesitant and vague decision will have the greatest effect on the overall consequences. Alexander Cortes
My Other Books

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Product Details

Click to order other recommended books.

Find Us on Facebook Badge

Search This Site
Latest Comments
« The Importance of Correct Form | Main | More About No-List FVP »

The Same Old Routine

Now I’ve got back to daily blogging again I find myself back in the same old routine for producing posts:

  1. Put “Blog Ideas” on my NL-FVP list
  2. Go to my Blog Ideas note in Evernote
  3. Add any new ideas for Blog subjects to the list
  4. Select a subject from the list.
  5. Put “Blog” on my NL-FVP list
  6. Open a new blog post in SquareSpace
  7. Enter the title in the Subject line (today: The Same Old Routine)
  8. Enter a tag in the Tags box (today: routines)
  9. Enter a category in the Categories box (today: Articles)
  10. Set the publication time to tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.
  11. Write a very brief first draft of the article.
  12. Two or three times more during the day, flesh out the article.
  13. Add links if necessary.
  14. 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?

Reader Comments (4)

I use BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits method. Very simple and very effective. Here is a TED talk he gave.
June 29, 2016 at 10:36 | Unregistered CommenterIan
Before a new routine becomes habit, how do you manage it? Do you write out a separate list that you consult? Do you write these steps into nolist FVP in reverse order them so them 1 by 1?
June 29, 2016 at 22:42 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Baljeu
Alan Baljeu:

<< Before a new routine becomes habit, how do you manage it? >>

That's a very good question. So good in fact that I think I'll write my next blog post on it.
June 30, 2016 at 8:33 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
And a great example of how accumulating lists work with no-list methods. For those who worry about forgetting things.
June 30, 2016 at 9:27 | Registered CommenterWill

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.