Warren Buffett has a routine. The multi-billionaire wakes up, shaves, swings through a McDonald’s drive-thru, and continues on to the parking lot of the fourth-biggest company in the world, Berkshire Hathaway. He’s done the same five-minute drive to work, Monday to Friday, for fifty years.
For Buffett, sticking to routine is a simple way to track progress. Buffet notes how much he gets done in the morning — say, 8:00am to 12:00pm— and tries to one-up that the next day.
Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition, says W.H. Auden.
Following a routine makes order out of chaos. It primes the brain for action (as a study shows here), calms Dow Jones-induced anxiety and frees up brain space for constructive thought.
Every night hockey players are thrown into a similar chaos; a 20,000-person arena featuring sharp skates, Drunk Fans, and Goliath-sized enforcers isn’t exactly a serene atmosphere.
So before being thrown into a game, athletes adhere to strict pregame rituals. They balance order and chaos. Stan Mikita had a cigarette between every period and disposed of it, religiously, over his left shoulder.
After pregame skates, Victor Hedman grabs the blade of his stick, approaches the bench, and chops — like five-finger fillet — between the fingers of his fearless, devoted equipment manager Rob Kennedy. It’s ritual. A playoff game for Hedman is as chaotic and scary as the stock market is for Buffet.
Risk-taking hockey players, loss-averse market gurus and cigarette smokers have harnessed the power of routine, paying dividends for all. Chiselling out a plan from the undefined Slab of Chaos that stares you down everyday can have lifechanging effects. However, as master planner Benjamin Franklin put it, it’s only when one complements it with “persistence and energy,” that you’ll see results.