Psychology Behind Creating a Routine

Psychology Behind Creating a Routine

As we step further into the academic year, it is essential for students to establish their own routines. Often, creating a routine can help individuals stay organized and increase productivity. Not only do routines make our lives easier and allow us to focus on one task at a time, but they also can improve our mental health. Maintaining a balanced and healthy mind is extremely important, especially as students have many responsibilities, ranging from academics to extracurricular activities. Therefore, creating an individualized daily schedule is the key to a successful year.

The psychological benefits of creating a good routine are numerous. Routines have been proven to indirectly alleviate some of the effects of various mental health conditions introducing predictability into one’s schedule. Another significant psychological benefit of creating a routine is that schedules have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Routines can reduce the effects of a mental health condition or stress because, when organizing a schedule, one knows what to expect, helping facilitate one’s ability to counteract the symptoms of stress before they even start. By writing down a list of tasks or a schedule for the day, individuals can eliminate, or at least reduce, the symptoms of stress.

When creating a routine, you must first decide what needs to be outlined. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to write down everything that needs to be done that day. Then, organize your to-do list into a schedule that fits neatly into your school day; when will you accomplish each task? After creating a workable schedule, the most crucial step is to try out different methods to see what format works with you—creating a routine needs to be individually done, as what works for one person may not work for you. For example, some people prefer getting up early in the morning to start their day, while others might not mind working late at night. However, students should bear in mind that scheduling time for recreation, family time, and setting up a time to go to bed are of the utmost importance. Without an adequate amount of sleep, students will not be able to function as well. Therefore, blocking out time to sleep and relax is an important part of creating a new routine.

The Lancet Psychiatry published a study that found that people who prefer a daytime routine over a nighttime one have healthier sleep patterns. Additionally, having a better sleep cycle is proven to minimize the risk of developing emotional difficulties, such as anxiety or insomnia. Therefore, while creating your routine, remember that working in the day can improve your health.

Currently, research indicates that creating new habits takes an average of twenty-one days. Therefore, it is critical to maintain your schedule for at least three weeks to adopt your new habits permanently. However, remember to include room for flexibility, as life is unpredictable and sometimes can alter your plans at the last minute. One way to ensure that you stick to your routine is to include things that you enjoy. For example, if you enjoy watching TV, you can include some time at the end of your day to watch your favorite show before going to bed.

Samantha Port, ‘23, explained that creating a routine has improved her school life. She said, “having a routine has helped so much, especially with starting school. It’s helped [me] stay organized and on top of my work while keeping a balance in life.”

Routines help ensure productivity and balance in peoples’ lives. It is crucial, especially at the start of a new school year, to create a routine that works for you and allows you to accomplish your goals while still fitting in time to relax and have fun. Structure helps us stay on top of everything, which, in turn, leads to success.


The Spruce
Dr. Danielle Forshee
Psychology Today
Lancet Psychiatry