Earlier in my career, when I wore more suits and ties then I did today, I always had a lot of trouble coordinating colors and outfits. I could never tell if the blue shirt was too blue for the gray suit or if the striped tie clashed or complimented the jacket I was wearing. It got so bad that my son Ken, who knew fashion, gave me a birthday gift one year by sewing little pieces of colored threads into my shirts, suits, sports coats, ties and slacks so that I could see merely look at the colored threads and know (with some measure of confidence) that my clothing selection would always work. This helped immediately relieve some stress and anxiety from my early morning activities.
I think President Obama may have had a similar problem in that I recently heard that he only has blue or black suits in his closet so that he doesn’t have to think about what clothing choices he has to make. After all, he and I both have to make important decisions every morning. Wish I could send Ken over to see him too.
The great thing about what Ken did for me and what Michelle probably did for the President is that they both helped create an easy routine that decreased the stress in our morning ritual of getting ready for our day.
Routines often get a bad rap because people sometimes thing they are boring and repetitive but for me routines create efficiencies that free our minds and clocks up to get more important things done. We all engage in simple routines like brushing our teeth before we go to bed and right after we wake up. And excepting for traffic, we probably drive the same route to work every morning.
Many mundane tasks could be conducted more efficiently if we took a few minutes to investigate how we could do a better job of building a better routine. Take a look at how much time you spend on email or how your email checking distracts you from other more important tasks. Every time you check email, it takes another 10 minutes to get your focus back on the task you are working on. How do you start or finish your day? Having an opening routine that may include an “objectives for the day” list or finishes with a check in with your staff to see how they’ve done for the day may very well help you to be more efficient and effective in what you do.
Routines…They tie it all together