Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's not a rut, it's a routine.

I was once accused of being in a rut because I do the same things, in the same order, every morning.

That's not a rut, that's a routine. It's a subtle difference.  Per, a rut is a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life,usually dull or unpromising. 

To me the difference between rut and routine is the "dull or unpromising" addendum.  A rut is something you do repeatedly for no particular reason.  

I freely admit that my lunch menu is in a rut.  I have eaten tuna and mayonnaise for lunch almost every work day for the past 8 years.  About a year ago, I switched from crackers to celery sticks for the side.  It's a rut, but one that frees me from having to decide what to have for lunch.  And being in this lunch rut causes me no harm.  

What my morning consists of is a routine, designed to maximize my limited pre-work time and prevent me from forgetting to do a necessary task.  It is not a good start to your work day if you walk out to the car and realize you didn't make your lunch or forgot to feed the dogs. 

So my morning is a predictable, reliable, but not "dull or unpromising" routine.  I wake up and pet the dogs.  I do my morning exercises, if I'm not already sore and achy.  I floss and brush my teeth.  I put in my eye drops.  I get dressed.  We go downstairs.  I turn on the floor and ceiling fans.  I walk the dogs around the subdivision. 

I make my lunch and take my vitamins while the dogs wind down.  I feed the dogs, wash out their bowls.  I have breakfast and read the newspaper.  I turn on the TV to entertain the dogs in my absence, and check the food level in the dry food bowl.  I lay out treats to keep them occupied.  I leave for work. 

There are only slight variations on the routine for weekend mornings.  These are things that need to get done every day.  Having a particular order of execution makes it easier to remember where I am in the process.  I know if I skip directly to feeding the dogs after the walk, I will invariably forget to take my vitamins. 

There have been recent studies that indicate we only have the capacity for a small number of decisions during any one day.  If we use them all up early in the day, our ability to make wise choices later in the day deteriorates.  

My morning routine frees up my decision-making capacity for the late afternoon, important decisions.  

Like what to have for dinner. 

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