Rut, Routine, or Ritual?

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What defines a rut, routine, or ritual, and does it matter? 

One definition I found for a rut is "Metaphorically being stuck in a rut means your life is not going where you want it to but you cannot escape."

routine is "a self-imposed adherence to a set of activities". Routines help you be more productive.

A ritual may be something that grounds us, like that morning cup of coffee or the first big stretch of the day. Is it really the caffeine that gets us started, or is it the familiar, grounding activity of starting our day with the first inhale of roasted coffee beans?

I have a tightly scheduled work day, known as defensive calendaring. This practice protects my time so I can do work. At home a schedule helps me focus. Routines allow me to get things done without giving them much thought, such as doing the dishes or starting another load of laundry. 

I view a routine as setting the pace and course for my mind. Throughout the day I have a plan and get things done. 

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When there’s no routine I often find myself at a loss as to what to do and end up doing housework because I'm just too tired to think about how to use that unplanned, free time. 

It's often that when I'm busy an article or a favorite topic piques my interest. Unless I jot these ideas down, I don't recall them in those weekend hours where I have space on my calendar for my own interests.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
How can you tell whether something is a rut, routine, or ritual? Some clues are found in how you feel. Are you just going through drab motions? Sounds like the rut that was defined above.

A routine may feel like you're in the groove and getting things done efficiently. Maybe robotically, but at least it's not taxing and you're accomplishing things. :) 

But the ritual...ah, that brings balance back into life. Those are the moments to inhale, maybe close your eyes, and feel your own rhythm.

Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash


  1. Interesting insight. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the post, Linda. Without rituals and routines I'd be a blubbering puddle on the floor.

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