You likely have a routine.

It may involve an alarm clock, a dog walk, a cup of coffee and a commute.

It may involve a shower, a bowl of oatmeal, a news podcast and a coffee shop.

If you have a routine, there is a good reason why. Humans connect positive feelings with familiarity. And familiarity is gained by doing something over and over and over again.

Routines are often helpful — giving you a sense of place and security. But they can also put you into a deep rut without you even noticing.

But routines don’t have to own you… if you can notice them.

This is a blog about fundraising and leadership. So let’s extrapolate that morning routine to your professional life.

Let’s start easy:

(1) What does your work routine look like?

  • Where do you physically work?
  • What tasks do you do and when?
  • What meetings do you lead? How do you prepare for them?
  • What meetings do you attend? How do you prepare for them?
  • What is your technology habit (email, web browsing, social media, etc…)
  • Who do you socialize with during your day?
  • What do you eat and drink throughout the day?
  • How long do you work? And at what intervals?

Now let’s go deeper:

(2) How do you do your work?

  • How do you prioritize tasks?
  • How do you involve your boss?
  • How do you engage your employees?
  • Who do you consult for advice?
  • How do you measure performance?
  • How do you solicit feedback?
  • How do you give feedback?
  • How do you react in different types of meetings? Think through specifics for this one.
  • How do you react to different types of personalities? Think through specific individuals for this one.

Now let’s go even deeper:

(3) What engrained thoughts and attitudes are driving your work habits?

  • Do you tend to believe that it’s better to lead than follow?
  • Have you had difficult experiences with change?
  • Do you tend to prefer collaboration or do you like individual effort?
  • Do you tend to enjoy a lot of structure or just a little?
  • Do you tend to prefer hierarchical lines of authority or do they rub you raw?
  • Do you tend to prioritize professional pursuits over other parts of your life?

The list of prompts could go on and on.

The good news is that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANYTHING if you don’t want to change.

By just recognizing your habits and the engrained thoughts and attitudes driving those habits, you’ll release the power they hold over you — if just for the second you notice them.