The Psychology of Routine: Experts Insights
Life Style

The Psychology of Routine: Experts Insights


Routine refers to a regular way of doing a task, or duty or following a behavior in an organized pattern. Following a routine will make you a better individual. If you are a person who goes to bed at a particular time, wakes up, and has all three meals at a fixed time, then your body is going to feel better than someone whose life is unstructured. Habits are different from routines as habits require little to no conscious effort, while routines demand conscious thought and discipline. Creating a novel habit can instil feelings of pride because this makes you realize that you have the ultimate power to improve your life, which will in turn help you to be what you want. A person who has been following a proper routine from a very young age has more chances of being a successful person.

According to Consultant Educator and Rehabilitation Psychologist, Dr. Nimrat Singh, “Routine is a very integral part of our habits, whether we form them good or bad, in whichever way. There is always an order and structure in the universe. Just like the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, Routine becomes our way of life. It gives us focus, meaning, drive, and purpose. The routine is balanced, it is showing up every day, which means going forward. Routine is very important for today’s generation. After Covid, we have seen that there has been a disruption in the work-life balance of many individuals. which is quite detrimental to one’s overall productivity and potential. Even in schools, we follow a routine, we get there on time and we leave on time, each period is around 40 or 45 minutes, and there are breaks.”

She further explains, “However, human beings sometimes wish to break from these little routines, which become monotonous and boring for them. It is human nature to have an urge to break away from the norms or the routine. For example, if one looks at how the whole week is structured, one can get a fair glimpse of it. Monday is the day that feels the most labour-demanding and tough because you are suddenly expected to get back to your routine, bashing to the grind. and by the time it is Friday, you just want to get out of it. If we talk about people who are creative or who are in the creative fields, in their case, they need to get out of the routine to think out of the box and adjust to a unique perspective. This can be true for People in advertisement agencies and those who are designers, whose work also revolves a lot around ideation.”

Read More: 7 Science-Backed Strategies To Build a Habit

Perks of following a routine

1. A Sense of Control

Knowing what you want to do and that you can do it at the right time, gives you a sense of control over your life. Following a structured routine gives you the power to deal with yourself which can even improve your confidence. Following a routine consistently requires self-control and self-discipline.

2. Less stress

Imagine a person who has an urgent need for money but needs to learn about how to earn it. Now think about another person who needs money but, also has a plan to achieve it. The first person will be more stressed than the second one for sure. A structured plan will get things done better, the steps involved might be difficult but being aware of “what’s next ?” will decrease the pressure on you.

3. Feel more productive

You know what today I did my workout in the gym at 8 am then I went to my office from 10 am to 5 pm, then I went for a part at 7 pm which lasted till 10 pm, I also had two report submissions and I was able to do it on time. Thank god I was able to manage my time well and I am happy for the day ” This kind of day will make your soul satisfied like anything and this will only be possible if you are good at following an organized lifestyle.

4. Predictability and Time Management

Having a clear structure not only alleviates anxiety but also enhances awareness in life. It allows for confident navigation when the next steps are already known, instilling comfort through predictability. This structured approach extends to time management, as organizing tasks into a routine enables better allocation of time for each, fostering efficiency and mastery over one’s schedule.

5. Self-awareness

If we want to structure a routine then we should be aware of the tasks that are to be completed. We should also be able to estimate the time that each task will demand from the 24 hours. This provides a chance to improve self-awareness.

Health and Structure

Sleeping and waking up on time, exercising daily and eating nutritious food can improve the functioning of your body and mind. One of the greatest challenges to lifestyle medicine is patient adherence. Lifestyle diseases require lifetime prevention and treatment. Therefore, sticking on to lifestyle medicine recommendations is not a short-term goal. Treat your body in the best way you can, don’t sacrifice health for any other riches in the world as there is no better wealth than health. A person with well well-planned routine will live longer than a person who puts minimal effort into taking care of themselves.

Read More: Is our breath, food & mental health interrelated?

Neurodiversity and Structure 

Neurodivergent brains work differently when compared to a typical brain. Routines are an essential part of neurodiverse people as this provides them with the advantage of predictability, stability, a sense of control and comfort. Routines help them in smoother transitions and will also avoid triggers that can lead to anxiety and discomfort. They will follow a routine with more perfection than a neurotypical person and any block can make them feel uncomfortable.

Read More: Parenting with Neurodiversity: Nurturing Diverse Minds

When forming and following a Routine

You cannot be a successful person in a day. This needs a lot of effort, discipline, and hard work. Create routines that are realistic and easy. Today when you sit down to plan a routine your brain might as you to form a very hard pattern of routine just to achieve something within a minimal period, but tomorrow you will realize that this is not going to work for you in the long run. This is not just for today but, you are following this routine to convert it into a habit and later reap the harvest in the form of success.

You will have to confront a lot of situations in which it will be difficult to complete the tasks that you have planned for the day. Forming and following a routine will vary for individuals, this might be a time-consuming process for some but might be easy for a few. Physical illness, stress, laziness, and other personal problems might pull you down but, motivate yourself to stay persistent. Make sure that you are surrounded by people who can keep up the motivation and stay with you during difficult times.

According to Neuropsychologist Mrinalinee Rana, “Humans generally follow a daily routine in their lives. This could be getting up at a certain time, eating breakfast, going to work and so on. There’s a set pattern that our subconscious mind gets used to. It gives us a sense of control and comfort. Any break in it or a change is not always easy and our brain has to make an effort to adapt to those changes. We make excuses for others and ourselves by rationalizing our behaviour. We say, “I’ll start tomorrow or am feeling fine and I don’t need to exercise.” Breaking the pattern and doing something away from the regular is important for our mood and cognitive functions. In the long run, giving in to a particular daily regime can be a risk factor for dementia and other neurological issues. It’s thus important to push through these barriers and embrace change to facilitate the formation of new neuronal connections thereby improving our mental health.”

Take Away

Doing something regularly allows you to stick with it, Behaviors become automatic when performed several times. When a habit showers you with benefits, the rewards gained become the motivation to perform the task or behaviour. A lack of organization and routine can develop feelings of anguish and may make your thoughts negative which will make you think more about your problems. Without structure and a clear focus, individuals may find themselves dwelling on stressful situations more frequently, leading to increased stress and anxiety. We always make the mistake of focusing on the negativities rather than finding ways to stop them from affecting us.

References +
  • Director, K. M. . M. S. W.-. C. W. C. (2024, January 17). The importance of routines. Fort Behavioral Health.
  • Strong, R. (2022, September 19). Habits matter more than you might think — these tips can help the good ones stick. Healthline.
  • Arlinghaus KR, Johnston CA. The Importance of Creating Habits and Routines. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018 Dec 29;13(2):142-144. doi: 10.1177/1559827618818044. PMID: 30800018; PMCID: PMC6378489.

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