Make an Adjustment to Your Routine
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Making an Adjustment to Your Routine

It’s time to get back into the routine.

You get up, do this, accomplish that and go to bed…you know rinse, lather and repeat.  A routine keeps you focused, on task and goal oriented.

It’s not a routine for routine’s sake, it’s routine because it’s planned.

There’s time for spontaneity, organized, though flexible and designed with success in mind included. However there are certain to be bumps along the way. This routine has worked for you in the past, and will work for you now.

Woot! Woot! Let’s get this party started!

Wait, Are You In a Routine or a Rut?

You know how to tell the difference between a routine and a rut, though you may have trouble putting your finger on it, at first. A rut feels different from a routine.

Your routine is in a rut when your plan is “played out”, when your organization is uninspiring, and when success has plateaued. You know you’re in a rut when you’ve done the same routine for the last few years– and you’re tired of it. You want a change, but without upsetting the proverbial applecart.

There is a safe and surefire way to get out of your rut that will bring new life to your routine.

Do some thing different.

Out of a Rut and Back Into a Routine in 3 Easy Steps

First, consider making an adjustment versus making a change.

People have an innate distrust for change, and while this may be a matter of semantics, language is important. If the adjustment is going to affect family members or co-workers, how you convey it and how they interpret it are crucial to support and success.

Second, as with eating an elephant, make adjustments a little at a time. Remember, the routine itself is solid, it only needs to be spiced up a little to keep it interesting.

It will be easier to adopt, less stressful to implement and more likely to succeed if it’s small and impactful instead of large and wasteful.

Finally, psychologists say it takes 66 days for most actions to become a habit, which is good in this instance.

If after two or three weeks, the adjustment is not working out as you had hoped, then adjust the adjustment. Remember, this is your routine- only you will know when it’s not a rut any longer.

Some suggested adjustments:

  • Get ahead: rise 15 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
  • Change venue: eat lunch away from your desk, or sit in a different seat during the team meetings.
  • Do a switch-a-roo: check voice mail before you open your email or vice versa.
  • Go silent: turn off your mobile phone, tablet and computer for 30 minutes in the middle of the day.
  • Brighten your environment: rearrange your office, keep fresh flowers on your desk, or open your curtains, blinds or shades.
  • Delay gratification: do the daily task you like least first and leave the majority of the day to the tasks you enjoy.

Royalty-Free Image courtesy of

Additional resources:
Tell Me Not [Redux], by Patricia Frame
Motivation: A Key to Business Success, by Susan Liddy

Shannon Mouton is a marketing strategist with 20 years of relationship marketing, community building, event management and outreach experience. Her professional blog, Shannon’s blog about marketing, public relations, social technology, entrepreneurship and other things, explores the business world, and her personal blog, Shannon Sez So, examines life’s joys, pains and idiosyncrasies. She also contributes to Gridiron Gals, as a die-hard fan of the Washington Redskins. Shannon serves on the boards of directors for The George Washington University Alumni Association and the In Series, a performing arts organization in Washington, DC. She also regularly volunteers at Calvary Women’s Services.

Shannon Mouton

Shannon Mouton

Shannon Mouton

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Shannon Mouton


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  1. Well I’ve been doing it wrong. Never researched the oft-quoted idea that it takes 21 days to get into a habit. How do you decide which routine to change shannonrenee ?

  2. You adjust the routine that has become least effective. For instance if you’re used to checking your email first thing, now you check email, FB, Twitter, etc., before you know it, a couple of hours may be lost. Wait an hour, then do your communication check. Give your morning a chance to begin before you lose it.

    • That sounds like a good one. I sometimes find myself in a loop – Gmail leads to Twitter, which leads to a link which leads back to Facebook, and then I see another Gmail notification…. I used to switch browser so that I would only get the notification if I was doing work that was conducive to interruption, like submitting links. Thanks, @ShannonRenee – looks like it’s time for me to go back to that.

      • When I read not too long ago about the great new technology that lets you unplug from all technology for a specified period of time so that you can actually plan and strategize and write more than 140 characters at a time, it just made me shake my head and wonder — where is the balance? Need to be responsive AND need to think! It’ll be interesting to see where we end up in 5 years.

      • @Tinu Tip: I like using 2 monitors…I have tweetdeck running on one and work on the other. I can see if people AT me or send a DM. I also a browser open there and notifications set to come to my phone, so when my phone beeps I can check the email without leaving my work.

  3. One of the smart tips I read recently is to start your day with what is most important.

    Of course, it’s so much easier to do what I used to call “funneling down,” before tackling the really hard stuff. In funneling down, you get rid of all the extraneous, little things (emails, tweets that aren’t critical, volunteer commitment communications) — cross ’em off your list — before doing the critical thing(s). In the process, you clear your brain and start focusing better.

    BUT, there’s no question that, for me, on the days when I succeed in starting with what’s most important, it works so much better.

    • I’ve heard of that. One book I read called it “eating your frog” @JewishFamilyFun – it also makes the rest of the day seem easier. Do you have a human name, JFF? 🙂

    • The question then becomes, which are the most important tasks? Prioritizing what’s “most” important is often difficult for people. You want to give timely responses in the social spaces and be a part of the conversation; you want to start the new project has been on your to do list forever; you want to finally finish the one that’s been hanging around; you want to read this report/watch this archived webinar to help your business and so on and so on and so on. So, how do you prioritize?

      I use a litmus test and I ask myself one question, of everything I want to do and think is important to do today, which ones will cause me the most pain (such as loss of money/business/relationship or increase stress) if I don’t do it right now or today?

      This helps focus my day in ways you can’t imagine.

      Tinu, you know what my next blog post is 😉

      • I like thinking about the quadrant chart you’ve probably seen. I think these are the options: urgent/important vs. urgent/not important vs. not urgent/important vs. not urgent/not important. When I get my brain around that, it seems clear what do to first. Ah, but the discipline!!

  4. Great suggestions and would try to follow them. Really loved “Brighten your environment” suggestion. Recently posted:

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