"Are routines holding us back?": Lessons for Living, by Dr Neil Thompson

Life is never without its challenge, but there is always the opportunity to learn and grow from those demands made on us. Dr Neil Thompson offers advice to tackle these problems and help social workers and care professionals to realise their potential.

09/05/21

"Are routines holding us back?": Lessons for Living, by Dr Neil Thompson

Routines can be very helpful, as they enable us to deal with straightforward matters quickly, easily and efficiently.

However, there are two potential problems with this.

One is the danger of ‘routinization’, which is what happens when we overgeneralize and adopt a routine approach to non-routine situations – that is, we fail to distinguish between those situations that are simple enough to be dealt with in a routinized way and those that are not.

The other danger is that routines become part of a culture and continue to be used long after the situation that first led to their development has ceased to apply.

That is, they have become habits which were useful to begin with but are no longer helpful but continue to be used because no one has thought to do anything different.

It is therefore important to question our routines from time to time, to see whether we are: (i) overextending them to non-routine situations; and/or (ii) still using routines that have long since lost their usefulness.

Dr Neil Thompson is an independent writer, educator and adviser.

His website is www.NeilThompson.info.

Connect with him online via @drneilthompson.

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