The Power of Routines

Happy New Year.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to think about routines and how they can be helpful at work and at home. I’m not talking about the month of Checkuary, the month it takes us to start writing the correct year after New Year’s.

I play basketball every Monday evening and one of the hardest things for me to remember is to bring a water bottle with me as I leave the house. Luckily after following the same routine for the past four or five years to get out the door at least I have a reminder if I forget. I put my bag and my water bottle on the rear seat when I get into my car to drive to the gym. A couple of Mondays ago I put my bag down in the seat and it was obvious to me that there was something missing.

You’ll find in future posts that I’m a big believer in checklists and I’ll talk about how checklists are invaluable when making changes to your network, but even I’m not going to create one just to get out the door for a pickup basketball game; it would be overkill bordering on scary obsession. But just being in the habit of putting two things in the same place in the car and seeing those two things together was enough in this case to make me remember.

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m a slave to habit, though my Foursquare checkins might prove otherwise. I don’t have a closet full of lots of the exact same outfit as Albert Einstein reportedly did, nor do I buy two dozen of the exact same black turtleneck every year like Steve Jobs. But, having recently left my job to start Intrinsic, I have found myself without a number of work related routines and need to form new ones. To be honest, that’s one of the things that I find exciting about this adventure after working at Juniper Networks for seven years. On the first day that I didn’t work for Juniper I followed my normal morning routine right up until I found myself at the stop sign at the end of my block not sure exactly where I would actually go to do my work. That leads me to planning, but that’s a topic for another post.