Why It’s Worth Ditching Your Schedule for a Routine

Routines and schedules are often mistaken for one another, but the distinction is crucial

Alexandra Piedoux
4 min readJan 13, 2021


Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

It’s 9:00 A.M. on a frigid Tuesday in January, the promising optimism and naiveté of a new year still hovering around me like a stratus cloud, infiltrating my workspace, my home, my state of mind.

As a mother of a 10-month-old baby girl, I am intimately familiar with the balancing act required to create flexible routines that allow me to not only accomplish a myriad of diverse tasks on a daily basis, but to do so flexibly and with ample space for modification.

Parenting is one such scenario, but there are numerous responsibilities, commitments, and lifestyles that demand a good, flexible routine. The key here is understanding the distinction between a routine and a schedule.

Schedules are at the mercy of the clock, while routines thrive on their own

Many people, at first glance, don’t realize there is a difference between a schedule and a routine. Unfortunately, the two words are often wrongly used synonymously, when in fact, routines are distinctly unique from schedules in one essential way. Routines omit the rigid reliance on the clock that is so characteristic of schedules. It’s not that time is irrelevant to routines, but rather it is flexible. Routines thrive independently of time. For their successful execution, schedules depend entirely on time.

To illustrate the distinction, here’s an example of Jamal’s morning routine:

  • Wake up & meditate
  • Cardio workout
  • Shower
  • Make coffee and breakfast
  • Begin morning meeting

While the following is a more rigid, schedule-version of Jamal’s morning:

5:30 A.M. Wake up & meditate
5:45 A.M. Cardio workout
6:30 A.M. Shower
6:50 A.M. Coffee & breakfast
7:30 A.M. Begin morning meeting

The former provides Jamal with a solid framework upon which to plan his morning, giving precisely…



Alexandra Piedoux

Exploring science communication at the intersection of environment and mental health, dabbling in mindfulness ☀️ Instagram: @apiedoux 🌱