We are all subject to stress throughout our daily lives. Some people in the world are faced with life and death decisions every day, while most of us must deal with less powerful stressors. Regardless of the intensity, stress is bad for our health. Since we know this to be true, it is easy to see how the stress generated in our businesses can have a detrimental effect on the rest of our lives.
Today, most professionals dedicate a significant portion of their lives to their businesses. Our grandparents would probably have had a more clear distinction between their business and personal lives. Unfortunately, in our “always on” modern lifestyle, this third wall between our business and personal lives has been erased. We are always on the clock, from the moment that we first check our cell phones when we wake until we put them down on the nightstand as we fall asleep. Anything that we can do to reduce even a small amount of stress in our lives can have a beneficial effect on our health, both mentally and physically.
Something as easy as creating a routine can help to reduce some of the stress inherent in your life. We all have a morning routine that we follow each day. Even on those days where we probably should have stayed sleeping in bed for another couple of hours, we still (unconsciously) follow our morning routine. This repeated action has become second nature to us, and we barely have to put any conscious effort into our routine: brushing our teeth without thinking about the muscle motions involved in making this happen.
This ability to develop a set routine, running on autopilot, is a unique human skill. We can harness the power of the routine to benefit us in other areas of our life. Using my job as a home inspector as an example, I have developed standard routines for the many different tasks that I must perform during an inspection. This has allowed me to increase my proficiency as an inspector. Coupling these routines with other efficiency techniques has allowed me to mature into the professional that I am today.
One of the best ways to start a routine is to put it to paper. Sit down and write out your ideal routine, spelling out in what order you will perform the various functions of your job. Batch together similar items or things that can be done together for a more efficient workflow. As an inspector, we should develop a routine that will maximize efficiency during the inspection, and commit that routine to memory by performing your inspections according to these set guidelines.
Once you have repeated the same action for a set amount of time, it will become like your morning routine: something that your body automatically does without much mental input. This will allow you to focus more of your mental abilities on your other priorities. For home inspectors, these other priorities include inspecting the house and performing data entry into your software.
Always realize that unexpected situations are guaranteed to develop, and you must remain flexible enough to change and modify your routine as the situation dictates. However, developing a set routine can help you to reduce your stress, increase your productivity and provide your client with a higher quality product. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Wisdom is measured in routine.” To achieve wisdom in our lives, we must choose to act. Sit down and develop your routines. Yes, it can suck sitting at the table and writing your plan down on a piece of paper, as if you were back in Mrs. Murphy’s eighth grade classroom, but remember the investment of a little hard work now can pay dividends later, making your life much easier for a long time.
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