Motivation vs. Routine

I’ve been reading stuff. A lot of motivational stuff. Stuff friends gave me because they saw my motivation was gone. A terrible job can do that to you. It’ll drain the motivation and energy from you faster than a thirsty vampire in a blood bank!


Just so you know, I’m not a fan of motivational books. I’ve decided I’ve consumed enough and need to create more. So reading these books really was a labour of love for me. The books I received were:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
  2. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith

While these books are highly regarded and widely read and the general consensus is that its the thing to be reading, I’m not a lemming.

I read both these books  by skim reading. While there were some parts that made me think, mostly I was critical of the advice given. But then, I’m critical of everything I read.


Some takeaways from Covey’s book:

  1. He would absolutely hate the Kardashian/Jenner tribe because they espouse the “Personality Ethic” as opposed to the “Character Ethic” which he thinks is better.
  2. Natural principles/laws govern human interaction and are immutable or unchanging.
  3. Character = Habits
  4. Habits are defined as consistent, daily routines and can be learned.
  5. We are our Habits.

” We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit” ~ Aristotle.

All of which segways rather nicely into where I’m going with all this. We’ve all been there: a great idea, very gung-ho about getting it started, but halfway through reality bites and our enthusiasm lags. We then google motivational quotes for careers/writers/moms/whatever and hope that one of the internet memes will get us going again. We download it on our phones and read it every day. And there it languishes until  the day we realize we haven’t actually done what it said.

A personal favourite

Hear me when I say: motivation is not enough to get you where you want to be. Motivation will start the ball rolling but will eventually peter out. When that happens you need to have a strong routine.  That area between where you are and where you want to be can be reached only through regular consistent ROUTINE or consistent HABIT. I know, I know…


I’ve not always been a fan of routine. I felt it stifled creativity. Creativity needs space to grow and develop and having a regular sleeping/waking pattern could put paid to that.  The old trope of being a tired, starving artist is true because angst and uncertainty makes for great art. Not a great life, but great art!


However, as I’ve aged I’ve seen that in order to be productive a successful person needs to be committed to being the best everyday, all day. That means taking care of yourself, eating well, doing the exercise, reading and educating yourself; in short it means being a damn adult. Being responsible for turning up every day, in every way.

I’m not making any of this up. Most of the world’s most successful men and women do the same thing day in day out. I can’t argue with that!

Reading through the articles, I noticed that none of them are cookie cutter: Winston Churchill stayed in bed until 11AM while Anna Wintour plays tennis every morning at 5:45AM. It’s about what works for them.

So find what works for you. I’ve already told you what works for me, but I’ve also found that way was too intense to maintain for long, so now I’ve scaled back my routine a bit to include the necessary rest. I am writing this from my bed at 12:20PM. I’ve taken a page from Winston’s book and am spending the late morning/early afternoon working from bed. I’m flexible about it too. Yesterday I wrote from 9-11 AM. In bed. Because that’s what works for me. In a bit I’ll get up and go to the gym. And maybe go for a swim. And then have a fabulous dinner, watch some TV and do some more writing. As long as I’m sleeping well, resting well, working out  and spending quality time with the family, I’m ok. You may need more in your life. I’m still working with life coaching clients but I’m flexible as to when and where I meet them.

I have done coaching sessions over the phone, over breakfast, on Zoom/Skype and in their homes. I can help you no matter where you are. That’s  the beauty of life coaching. I can help you no matter what or where.

The Benefits of Having a Routine

  1. It presets your calendar and identifies your work schedule. I know I can’t do late 5 – 7PM week nights because I’ll be having a fabulous dinner with my family.
  2. It’s invaluable for the Rules of Engagement when meeting new people. I can’t do long phone calls between 2-5 PM because I’m busy with client meetings/calls/whatever.
  3. People stop inviting you to ridiculously timed events last-minute because you’ve now become famous for having a routine. I have turned down so many invites for early morning yoga sessions on the beach, I’ve lost count. But I think the word is out!
  4. You sleep better. If you’re giving your body what it needs and not stressing about what you’re doing or where you’re going the next day, you quality of sleep improves.
  5. Your workouts are better. If you know that your day is mostly slothful and sedentary, then you really work 100% harder when you are in the gym. You don’t go to mess about on all the fancy machines any longer and you force yourself through sets you’d previously only do because the pics would look cute on Instagram!
  6. The same thinking applies to when you’re actually at work. Your focus becomes sharper and you are more thorough because work time is scheduled.

That’s my two cents. Motivation will get you up, but routine and good habits will get you on the other side. Get your motivation wherever you can( I adore memes!) but to actually take action (hehe! ) you need to be consistent and form good habits with strong routines.


So what you waiting for lovelies? Figure out what works for you and set that routine. You’ll be happier and more productive long-term. What routines have you set in your daily life that keeps you in charge of your day? Let me know in the comments.

Until next I blog, 




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