Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recognizing The Routine.

The first time I remember a broken routine was in the first grade.

Miss Griffin was my favorite teacher and I'm pretty sure I was her favorite student too. Everyday was just like the previous. I would stay inside during recess to grade papers and help Miss Griffin decorate the classroom (odd now that I relfect on it...) I remember a few days during my time in the first grade that upon arriving to school and entering the classroom there would be a different teacher in the room. It was not Miss Griffin but it was her desk! Her Classroom! I remember tensing up as I realized it was a substitute teacher. It was at this point I would sit at my desk and begin to cry. Everytime. It wasn't a sad cry -- it was an uncomfortable cry. Although the schedule remained the same, there was a piece of the routine missing. I don't remember much from 1st grade -- but I do remember this. (I also remember that in the future when Miss Griffin had a substitute teacher I was given permission to join a different 1st grade class whose teacher I was familiar with.) //

I've been thinking about routines lately and it wasn't until tonight's drive home that I remembered this experience. Routines are powerful. They can be incredibly efficient and they can be incredibly dangerous (not to mention their comfortability.) In my thinking about routine, I'm beginning to see the significance of being able to recognize it for what it is. What is your routine? And what drives your routine?

Lately I've been trying to remove myself (mentally) from my own routine so that I can recognize what is happening and regain perspective. I'm amazed at how quickly a week can pass when I'm caught up in my routine. It's usually not until the routine collides with the unexpected that I'm reminded of the fragility and preciousness of each day.

I'm currently reading Tribes, by Seth Godin, which is about gaining the confidence and skill to lead (rather than manage). In his book he mentions how the concept of factories has been woven into our genes. The notion that a routine developed for efficiency and profit is something we strive for not only professionally but in our personal lives. It causes me to seriously consider what profit I am working towards personally (not financially speaking-- although it may be for some). Is it a daily profit? Or A yearly profit? Maybe the profit of my life's work. Whatever the profit is, I believe recognizing the routine and regaining a clear perspective of the 'here and now' will help determine the success of achieving it.


  1. I have an off-kilter routine that weaves throughout my week. Some things are set in stone occasionally (meeting, volunteer-work hours), but all in all supper isn't at a set time (just a round about time) and time with other people is often intentional even if spontaneous. I've never been one to have a routine unless I'm training for a marathon and even then I push its limits and test its boundaries.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kara! Very Interesting Insight. Training usually requires a committed routine, but if not regularly altered in some way, can prevent growth and improvement.