Time Crunch? Don’t Skip Good Habits, Just Make Them Short

I don’t know about you, but I have many routines — daily, semi-daily, weekly and so on.  Good habits like exercising, practicing, blogging.  I even use an app called “Productive” to keep track of habits I want to establish.

But days get busy and my habit list feels long and heavy.  I would drop the habits left and right because I don’t have enough time to do them all and can’t justify these routine chores (and they do feel like chores when there are too many things to do) above urgent responsibilities to my job and family.

And at the end of the day I’d feel bad about my day.  I know there are things I should do on a regular basis, that’s the only way to build momentum and get better at some things.  Playing the guitar, for example.  I know that it’s better to play 15 minutes a day than to practice 1 hour every 4 days.  If I keep skipping 6-7 times out of 10 that’s hardly a regular routine.

But I realized that the reason I skip them is because I have this idea that if I can’t devote “long enough” time to them, then they are not worth doing.  That’s not a fact, it’s simply a judgment.  I can choose to view 5 minutes of guitar playing as better than nothing.  At the very least, I know some exercises that challenge my calluses so my finger tips won’t go soft.

You see, it’s a bit of childish jumping-to-conclusion on my part to deem any habit as not worth engaging for shorter durations than desirable.  It is easier to drop them, for sure, but sticking to them maintains the momentum.  It’s harder to pick up the thread that got broken.

I’m not advocating for a militant adherence to a routine, but I decided that I was letting myself off the hook too easily.  I’ve changed my approach to honor my routines even if it means each activity only gets a few minutes.

I can feel the difference it makes to my energy and confidence.

So if you’re struggling to implement good routines in your life like regular exercising, try this approach.  Set the bar way low in terms of the minimum required duration.  Also build yourself a break (instead of saying you have to do it every day, say 5-6 days a week).  But no matter how busy you are, don’t skip it.  Just make it shorter.

See how it works for you, and let me know.  Good luck!