As you can see from the piece on color and medication compliance it doesn’t take us much to throw off a routine. How to establish a routine, how to stick to it and its value is a topic I think of often as I help Thrivers get to a set of routines which work best for them. Several years ago I read a piece about Jamie Lee Curtis and how she limits her choice of clothing based on color. Interesting. Then I read that President Obama did the same thing! So what do these two busy folks know that we can learn from?

We’ve talked about how routines can make any number of daily tasks easier and more tolerable. But clothing? The genius is in the not making a decision. If the only color choices are blue, black and white (Curtis’s choice) or blue and grey (Obama’s choice) it does become easier to just put your hand in the closet (or likely in their cases, walk into the closet!) and grab pieces, which will work well together.

How to apply this to your routines? Well, starting in the closet isn’t a bad beginning. Steve Jobs did the same thing with his signature turtleneck and jeans, which gave him the freedom to focus on other projects. Do you like to put together clothing? Then by all means continue to do it and find some other place to put a routine into your life.

Routines allow us to use our energy on other projects, decisions and areas, which do need our thoughtful attention. In the book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney the case is put forth that willpower and decision making are interconnected (Business Insider). How does this relate to routines? By using routines to plow through daily tasks or monotonous chores we can conserve our energy to make big decisions. Have you noticed that you don’t consistently bill or forget to get a vital piece of information from a client upon meeting them for the first time? If you set up a routine, for example that block out an hour each week on Wednesday to do it, its more likely to get done.

Any number of daily behaviors can be fixed into a routine, very much like the way you likely don’t spend too much time thinking about the steps required to brush your teeth. As you likely noticed from the piece on medication compliance small changes can throw us off but for the most part the more we don’t think about some parts of our day the more energy we have to give to those priories we have identified for ourselves. Even simple tasks such as doing laundry on the same day or days of the week in a specific time slot frees up our brains to think about when or what we’ll put in the next newsletter, or scheduling the next big meeting we have to help our business Thrive.

We’ll be talking about how to build your willpower muscle in January but for now just know that like all muscles it can be improved. Do you have a routine which works well and you’d like to share it? You know I’d love to hear about it!