The reason we feel out of control is because we have no control. The solution? Routines. Consistent, repeatable routines.
Many people wake up, hit the snooze button, shower, get dressed, throw food at the kids, drive to work, get tossed in 50,000 directions, come home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, and fall asleep watching TV. Sure, that’s a routine.
It’s a tornado routine. Everything is spinning from the moment it starts to the moment it passes by. What if you changed your routine to a hurricane routine? Everything is spinning from the moment it starts, there is a brief pause in the middle, then it starts spinning again, until the moment it passes by. At least there is some time in the middle where you have a few minutes to stop, gather yourself, and prepare for the second half of the maelstrom.
What if we took it a step further and aimed for a thunderstorm routine? In that scenario, there would be some calm, things would go to pot, then it moves on and there is calm again.
Let’s go further. What if we structured our day such that there is a gentle breeze routine for most of the day? Occasionally, the wind would pick up. There might even be a few strong gusts. Eventually, those subside and we return to the gentle breeze that we had.
How is This Gentle Breeze Routine Possible?
“But my life isn’t like that,” you say? Why not? It’s because you didn’t structure it that way. As I said in a previous post, “If you choose not to take control, others will make decisions for you.” You are paid to make decisions for your area of responsibility. You choose how best to structure your day. You choose to schedule a few minutes into your day to stop and think (yes, even folks with only a 30-minute lunch break – eat for 15, think for 15). It’s up to you.
Stuff Comes Up
Of course “stuff” comes up. Deal with it as appropriate. Understand the expectations or reframe the beliefs. Just because someone says, “Jump,” doesn’t necessarily elicit the automatic response of, “How high?” Does it really need to be done right now (as in stop whatever you are doing and handle it right this second)? Or, can it be done after you finish whatever is on your plate at this moment? Can it be delegated to someone else to handle while you work on other tasks? If someone truly feels that it needs to be handled “right now” and you know that it can wait a few, help that person reframe their beliefs through patient, empathetic understanding.
You choose how you react to situations. If you let the situation make your blood boil, that’s your choice. If you react in a calm, rational manner, that’s also your choice. If you choose the latter, the other person who is creating the situation may respond with a similar gesture and calm down as well. You can only control yourself.
Establish Your Routines
There is no one right routine to achieve success. According to Fast Company, when they asked CEOs about their morning routines, each one had a different method that they employed. The gist is that it doesn’t matter what are the routines, it’s that they are consistent and repeatable. Maybe you check email first (personally not recommended). Maybe you exercise. Maybe you write. Maybe you take care of your biggest goal for the day. Whatever is your routine, define it, do it, repeat it.
How do you structure your day?
Let me know in the comments.
About the Author: Todd Brockdorf, is the author of Better than Average: Excelling in a Mediocre World – (Harrogate Publishing 2012)
He works with organizations, leaders, and frustrated professionals to stand out from the crowd. Connect with Todd on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
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