(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
Nobody likes the feeling of being in a rut. When you’re in a rut it’s easy to feel trapped and victimized. Life loses its flavor. Being in a rut is energy-draining. Someone once said, “a rut is a grave with the ends knocked out!” That may be an over dramatization, but when you’re in one it’s easy to confuse the edge of the rut with the horizon.
A routine is different. There are many activities you need to do each day or each week that require little thought or attention. By creating a routine to handle these activities you make them simpler and less costly. If you stop to think through the actions and effects of each routine item, it consumes a lot of energy and time and creates opportunities for you to lose sight of the outcomes that are really important to you, the forest-for-the-trees syndrome, majoring in the minors.
By setting up systems and schedules, that is to say, routines, you will fly through the minutia and can put your attention on the important stuff.
And periodically review your routines to make sure they haven’t become mindless ruts.
Copyright 2001 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.