The Importance of Routine

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Nick Saban, a college football coach, has won four BCS championships (including three in the last four years). Skip Bayless is one of the most influential figures at ESPN. Barack Obama is a two-term president of the United States of America. What do these men have in common?

Daily excercise and very routinized lives…

Saban eats at least 10 snack-cakes a week:

“Saban is a fit 61, owing in part to regular pickup basketball games with staff, a frenetic pace on and off the field, and a peculiarly regimented diet. He doesn’t drink. For breakfast, he eats two Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies; for lunch, a salad of iceberg lettuce, turkey, and tomatoes. The regular menu, he says, saves him the time of deciding what to eat each day, and speaks to a broader tendency to habituate his behaviors.”

Skip Bayless must have a big freezer:

“At his core, he’s a man of routine, and at the beginning of each week, he orders five days’ worth of chicken and broccoli (no sauce), his nightly dinners. Every weekend he stops by the same Manhattan deli and buys five sandwiches to bring back to his weekday home in Connecticut, his daily lunch. He’s a health nut who exercises twice a day.”

The President explains the importance of routine succinctly:

‘”You have to exercise,” he said, for instance. “Or at some point you’ll just break down.” You also need to remove from your life the day-to-day problems that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day. “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”’ 

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