Today there are countless articles on the benefits of having a routine and the valuable structure it can provide in one’s daily life. I have two main daily routines I follow, one for morning and night. Routines are helpful in promoting reliability, structure, and consistency. But to play devils advocate, what are some of the downsides of being too rigid with one?

Now I’m not saying to immediately go and get rid of your current routine. Without mine, my life would not be nearly as organized as it is. Yes a routine promotes structure, but with that it challenges the ability to be adaptable.

Being flexible and adjustable are sometimes easily overlooked as valuable skills to obtain. For example, majority of people have “making a cup of coffee” as part of a staple in their morning routine. But what happens on the day where the coffee is suddenly out, and you don’t have the time to stop to pick one up? Now panic has set in and your entire day has been thrown off.

The cup of coffee is a simple example, but we all know the feeling where one thing happens and suddenly our day has fallen apart. Being able to adapt to the situation, make a plan, and execute are sometimes not practiced enough if our lives are always extensively planned out.

To practice being adaptable, focus on the next time an inconvenience occurs on how you respond to the situation. Did you freak out or remain calm, this would be a good indicator that you may need to work on this skill. Then the next time an unplanned incident occurs, grab a piece of paper and write down three steps of action that can be taken to resolve the problem. Choose at least one action step and brainstorm how it can be executed in a timely manner.

Developing the ability to be adaptable is difficult because we likely don’t find ourselves dealing with it unless an opportunity presents itself. By leaving blocks of free time in your schedule, it may begin to promote flexible thinking and ideas.