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The Benefits of Habits and Routines

By July 30, 2023July 31st, 2023Uncategorized
habit of meditating

It seems like our lives are so full that at the end of the day we are not even sure what we have accomplished. Some of our lives are structured with a lot of routines at our job. But at home we just want to relax. We tend to just go with the flow. What we don’t realize is that the more habits and routines we build into our at home daily lives the more we will accomplish and the more likely we will have free time in which to relax.

What is the difference between a habit and a routine?

A habit is something we do repeatedly without even thinking. If you get up at the same time each morning, that is a habit. If you brush your teeth right after eating, that is a habit.

A routine is made up of a series of habits. Your morning routine might be to get up at 5:00, shower, brush your teeth, drink your coffee, and have your breakfast.

More routines = less stress

The more routines we have the fewer decisions we must make. Making decisions about everything we do can be stressful and overwhelming. We don’t have to think about brushing our teeth because it is a habit and a part of our waking up routine.

If you have a good morning routine it is easier to add a new habit that you have been avoiding but know you should be doing. When you add taking a walk into that morning routine, you silence the stressful voices in your head telling you that you need to exercise. You walk without even thinking about whether you should walk that day.

Daily chores like making the bed, fixing meals, cleaning the kitchen, are easier if you don’t have to think about when you are going to do them. Having a daily habit of running the dishwasher every evening and emptying it every morning makes keeping up with dirty dishes so much simpler.

At the beginning of the day, you have that empty dishwasher ready to immediately receive dirty dishes all day long. Developing daily routines can help you reduce your stress levels.

More routines = more efficient

Some routines are daily, but some are weekly. Remember the children’s song “This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes”? Every day had a weekly chore. Instead of waking up and thinking, “Should I wash my clothes today?”, you have planned in your schedule when to do the laundry. It is part of your weekly routine.

While I don’t mind doing laundry, I hate grocery shopping. So, my routine is to go to the grocery store every Friday after work and go to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday after lunch. On Friday I schedule time to plan menus for the week and put together my grocery list.

Done and done.

Now I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner each day and I know I have all the supplies to cook the meal. No spending extra time running to the store to cook a meal! It’s a fairly streamlined efficient routine that saves me time and stress.

More routines = more free time

Knowing what you are planning to do each day helps block distractions and gives you more energy to do the important tasks. One of my routines is to make a list of projects or tasks outside of the daily routine. I work into my schedule the one or two that are important to move me forward. Then I structure each day so that I am finished with most daily chores by the evening.

A lot of time is wasted in between tasks just deciding what to do next. Knowing what your plan is for the day and what you want to accomplish helps you block out the distractions that can take up so much time.

If you effectively follow your schedule and routines then at the end of the day or any other scheduled time you can play that game, read that book, or have coffee with a friend totally guilt free.

If you want help or just some accountability in developing or setting up routines or overall time management, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients



  • I love the distinction you make between habits and routines! It makes so much sense. I love my habits and routines, but I’m also aware of switching things up occasionally. You made another point which is so important. We make, on average, 35,000 decisions each day. That’s A LOT! No wonder we’re exhausted by the end of the day. So having those ingrained or automatic habits we DON’T have to decide about alleviates some of that burden.

  • I love routines. It makes me feel so much more productive. I have to think about a lot during the day, and the routines are so helpful because I don’t have to think about them after they become a habit.

  • Seana Turner says:

    I’m such a huge believer in routines that I may take it too far. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, and I’m not caring for children, I have the freedom to make routines for almost everything. My pastor was teasing me once about how “structured” I am LOL!

    The thing is, routines just help me manage my life. When I’m having an issue or something new comes into my life, I take a few minutes to think about how to best work through it. Once I make that mindful decision, I can go into a sort of “autopilot,” until there is a disruption and a reevaluation is needed.

    Good point about the difference between habits and routines, btw. One is building blocks, another is systems.

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    There’s such wisdom in this approach, gathering the unthinking habits in a more intentional string to create a routine that supports you, and as you note, gives you less stress, more efficiency, and a plethora of free time. It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You may start pulling random pieces, even the pieces with straight edges, but when you actually (and intentionally) start putting together the frame, you’ve got the strategy to start you toward seeing the whole picture.

    My routines keep me on the straight-and-narrow; the only time I’m in trouble is when I am dissuaded from my routines because of travel or company. It’s easy for a routine to turn into a run if we don’t revisit our strategy, but routines are the systems that keep our lives moving forward. Great stuff!

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