Do You Follow a Routine – Or Just Full Speed Ahead and Hope It All Gets Done?

If you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine. A re you diligent about keeping track or have you just given up?

imageIf you’re like me, you realize that there are a lot of “little things” you need to do every day that often “leak out” in the maelstrom that surrounds your normal routine.

It’s usually those things we’ve promised someone we would do that day FOR SURE … a small thing, easily done … but then, in the firestorm at the office, we completely forget about it until we hit home and are gently reminded about our oversight … again.

Yes, it could be very minor but it’s often one of those nagging little nuggets that keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

What is a Routines List?

This may sound absurd … maybe it’s a sign of the times … but I’ve recently created a “Routines List”, an innovation that serves as a handy checklist of routines that I may or may not need on any given day but I want a quick reminder of what they are.

As you know, I’ve written before about the power of such checklists as One Simple Tool to Overcome Brain Freeze. (You can also check out David Allen of Getting Things Done (GTD) fame, who has also written extensively on the value of checklists.)

We all have routines, don’t we?

We brush our teeth when we get up … that’s usually my immediate 2nd thing to do … shave … shower … brew that first cup of coffee.

Like me, you may also have a routine for filling your pockets. I know there are always 3 things I carry, so I mentally count them off to make sure they’re not overlooked.

[pullquote]You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. ~ John C. Maxwell[/pullquote]

Why do you need a Routines List?

In some ways, my Routines List serves as a the “master checklist of checklists” that I need to regularly consult.

If you’re like most people, you may have many lists:

  • Phone calls you want to make
  • Errands you need to run
  • Supplies/groceries you need to buy
  • Gifts for upcoming birthdays/anniversaries
  • Articles you REALLY want to read
  • Favorite movies or TV series


You may have dozens of such lists, each of them important to consider at the appropriate moment.

BUT … you may forget to consult one of those lists at just the wrong time. Having a routines list to check them regularly … some of them daily, some weekly or monthly … means you won’t forget what you intended to do.

Yes, it sometimes seems like a bit of overkill … except when you don’t consult it and realize that some very simple thing you meant to do was overlooked … again.

The Devil IS in the Details

Consulting a “Routines List” every day to make sure nothing is missed is a simple but effective tool to overpower the devil that’s in the details.

My Routines List includes reminders for such thing as …

  • check my “shopping list” for items I want to purchase online,
  • update sponsors about an upcoming workshop,
  • a reminder to check my iPhone for any recordings I made while traveling,
  • go to the next step in a course I’m taking online
  • check on Google Analytics
  • a reminder to check Evernote for items I wanted to read,
  • jog my memory about folks I haven’t talked to in a while

and the list goes on.

Follow a Routine to get Routine Things Done

These are a few of the 30 – 40 items now on my Routines List.

Of course, this only works if you’re on top of the things on those other lists.

It’s simple, though … just make a habit of immediately adding things to your lists as they occur to you … errands, online shopping lists, phone calls ….

If you do this without fail, your Routines List will regularly call these things to your mind when you’re actually able to do them.

Now, when you see the “Check Online Shopping List” on your Routines List …

  • you’ll look at that list,
  • see there IS something you wanted to purchase, and
  • be reminded to do it.

It’s simple but effective so the little things don’t get lost.

Do NOT trust your memory to get things done

It’s been repeatedly proven that the brain is a powerful calculator but a terrible reminder system.

Don’t trust your memory.

You might be able to remember a few things, but never all of the little things that need to get done.

Write them down religiously AND have a routine for checking on them.

If you do this, EVERY SINGLE DAY, you’ll invariably discover something that you really wanted/needed to do that day and would have forgotten/overlooked it without your Routines List.

Question: What have you found that works for you to keep track of those pesky “little things” you don’t want to forget? You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.

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