The Power of Routines

Daniel Pink, in his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing shares a lot of research about when people perform at their peak throughout a day. It got me thinking about the intentional choices we make about when things happen, and how those choices can help make us more effective. Enter the power of routines…

In my opinion, encouraging your teams to identify rhythms and routines, and then creating a culture that honors them, is one of the greatest acts of leadership you can demonstrate. Here are a couple that have made a difference for me, my clients, and my teams:

The rhythm: Identify days of the week where you meet v. doing “head’s down” work. 

Anna Belyaev instituted this at Type A Learning Agency and I’ve been doing it ever since. We had internal meetings on Mondays, client meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and used Wednesdays and Fridays to get our head’s down work done. I still do a version of this today at Hartke Designs.

Why it matters: Having uninterrupted, large chunks of time is critical for content developers and programmers. Without it, work is inefficient, can introduce unnecessary errors, and can lessen creativity. All of which goes right to the bottom line, and frankly, overall job satisfaction.

The routine: Schedule a weekly internal team status meeting and a client status meeting.

And, the order in which these meetings happen, matters… I run team meetings the day before client meetings in order to ensure alignment and to use the time with the client to cover/fulfill anything the team needs.

Why it matters: If everyone on the internal team and client team relates to these meetings like they are important, then you can use them to make decisions, collect information, answer questions, and confirm key upcoming dates.

And, if you use the meetings to get work done v. just reading a status report, then people will show up. I’ve found that if you are really working as a well-oiled machine, you can eliminate one-off emails by simply keeping a running list on your desk for things you need/want to bring to the meeting. And, who doesn’t appreciate fewer emails in the old inbox?

What rhythms and routines make a difference in your world?

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