When the doldrums of the daily grind set in, it can become one of two things: highly efficient or dangerously complacent. When it comes to your work routine, it’s easy to approach it with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. I have to pose the question, though: is that helping you achieve your professional goals?
When the question of shaking up your work routine comes up, most of us are resistant. We come to enjoy how we do things. It is a routine for a reason! That said, there is a time and a place for change, and we should never stick to a routine for its own sake.
If you’re starting to look at your work habits with a more critical eye, these are a few questions to ask yourself when determining whether or not it’s time to shake up how you operate.
4 Questions to Consider Before You Change Your Daily Routine at Work
1) Where is my current routine lacking?
As I mentioned, the danger in any routine is that it can, if we’re not careful, allow us to become too complacent. We get comfortable in the way we do things and become resistant to change. We fail to see merit in other ways of doing things and, consequently, also fail to see the flaws in our own routines. In a working environment, this can lead to blind spots. If our routine begins to blind us, it can lead to tasks and details slipping through the cracks thanks to an imperfect formula.
Even if you don’t intend to significantly change the way that you operate, revisiting your process every few months just to ensure that you’re still sharp and on top of things is crucial. You want to ensure that your routine is still catching all of the details and that nothing has slipped.
If you’ve identified something that your method hasn’t been addressing well, you can begin to assess new methods and solutions.
2) Do my proposed changes improve the formula and address deficiencies?
Before you change your routine, ask yourself: do my changes actually improve my workflow? While you may have to implement them to see the results for yourself, you can make a side-by-side comparison to see if the “old vs. new” way of doing things addresses your concerns. Whether you’re looking to be more efficient, keep something from slipping through the cracks, or even add a few minutes of physical activity to your workday, the change must be effective to be worth doing.
What matters is that you don’t make changes just to make them. Structure is valuable—in the workplace, opt for pattern and routine, because it lends itself to discipline. This is generally going to be more helpful than throwing something at the wall to see if it sticks.
3) Will I make sure this change sticks?
On that note, a routine is, in essence, habit. We do have a hard time “reprogramming” the work day and introducing new elements and taking away others, even if we think it will be a simple change.
If you want to change something about your workday routine, you have to ensure that there are a few critical pieces in place: determination, reasoning, and time. You have to be willing to put in the effort to implement the change regardless of what’s going on around you because you want to see it happen, you have to know why you’re doing it, and you have to actually give it time to sink in and stick.
4) How do I really want my routine to work for me?
Lastly, you need a vision for your workday. What kind of boss, leader, or employee do you want to be? How do you want your ideal workday to function? Crafting your ideal routine starts with knowing what you want out of it. That means thinking about the goals you want to accomplish personally and professionally. What do you want room for? What are you happy with? Unhappy with?
Only you can decide what an ideal work day looks like for you, and understanding what that is the first step towards recognizing a need for change or knowing what is best left the same.
What helps you recognize a need for change in your life? Share with me in the comments.