We find old routines comfortable

Habits are comfortable. When we're stressed out, we tend to fall back on our old habits for two reasons:

  • The brain likes to know what is going to happen next. Routines are situations that have occurred often enough that you know exactly how events will unfold.
  • The brain wants to spend the least amount of energy on any particular activity. The less time you spend thinking about something, the less energy your brain uses on it.
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Because routines feel so good, we may continue with them even when they don't serve our needs very well. Even if we could solve problems more simply, we will stick with the more complicated routine instead of noticing an easier solution.

Every once in a while, we need to take a step back from our routines and ask if they allow us to function effectively. By switching up routines, we can become more efficient.

Old routines can get in the way when we interact with technology at work.

Companies develop software platforms to automate processes that used to take hours when done by hand. Shifting out of our routine can help to automate many other tasks we still do by hand.

Some routines worked really well when you started them, but they have grown into a problem over time.

A classic example is email behaviour. People develop habits around email when they only received a few important emails. Over time, you may get more emails, but the habits you developed early on can get in your way of getting substantial work done.

For many people, the job you were hired to do initially can evolve over time as your career advances. You may start with a technical job and later become a manager.

Despite the change in responsibilities, your shift in routines may happen slower, resulting in being less effective.

It is important to reevaluate your routines every few months to find outdated routines.

  • Ask your colleagues about their favourite software tools, so you are aware of other ways to address issues.
  • Track the amount of time you spend on important tasks at work, and see if the time is sufficient for the importance of those tasks.
  • Look at the elements of your position that are critical for success. Then look at your routines to see if they support those goals.

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