First day back after a couple of weeks off always feels strange.
There is a whole calendar of activity to familiarise yourself with, new to-do lists to set and accounts of recent events to be caught up on and shared with colleagues. It takes some time, maybe even a few days, to get properly back into the routine.
Routine. Interesting word. It means different things depending on context. For some, it is the very work they do. Dancers, performers, computer programmers, surgeons all perform a routine to deliver their outcome. For many however, it can signify the tasks we have to do, including all the ones we get no joy from and that work on the joyless can affect how we interpret the word.
It can mean dull, mundane, and ordinary. Words that reflect the boring but critical (BBC) parts of a business. Tasks that need doing but are not the reason we get stuck in every day. When we hear the word, it can make us think of all the worst things. It can make us bored, reluctant, and even angry.
So how do we turn our routine into something that brings us joy? How do we get excited about our routine so that we embrace it, and hurtle into each day, each week, each month knowing that it is going to enable us to be our best selves in the workplace? How can our routine be our ally, rather than our enemy?
For starters, it can be a noun as well as an adjective. The adjective version of the word is that which leads to potential peril. Describing something as routine is where we find ourselves coming up with the synonyms mentioned. It is something that we risk becoming, something that can over and shroud our best efforts with a double-glaze of boringness.
However, routine – the noun, is something quite different. It becomes “my” routine, “your” routine, “our” routine. It is something that can be owned, designed, manipulated and reviewed for our own ends. When we look at routine this way, we can acknowledge the etymology of the word. From the French for road, route, it is like it all comes back to what we are doing when we first set out on this journey in business. For route, read plan.
A routine can give us stability. It can give us reassurance. It can give us confidence. Having a routine, need not be routine. It can be developed to include all the good things you do in plentiful supply and by taking time to design it, you can consider how to work in the things which are more … routine.
Most people know themselves best and therefore are best placed to design their own routines for maximum efficiency. What better way to work than to be the sole master of everything you have to do?
What can you do to make your routine effective? Have you taken steps to create a meaningful plan that takes into consideration your strengths and weaknesses? Have you considered the importance of the tasks on your to-do list, compared with your desire to do them, the length of time they might take, who you need to do them with, how urgent they are and so forth?
As a businessperson, you have not just the opportunity, but the responsibility to take control of all of your actions. Take control of your routine and it will be the vehicle to take you where you want to go. Own it, or it will own you.