Sandra was a person who lived by routines. Her morning work preparation followed the same pattern. Her colleagues made fun of her because she wore the same outfit each day of the week. Mondays were blue, Tuesdays were brown, and each day had its own color and clothing. They often wondered if she had more than five outfits.

Her work days followed a similar routine. She got to work at 6 AM and by the time that others showed up, she had accomplished as much as many people would do in an entire day. She ate the same thing for lunch every day while she took a walk around the office park where she worked.

Her evenings also embraced her routine lifestyle. She had reading and writing goals each day. She went to bed at the same time each night. Little in her life was not routine.

For her colleagues, Sandra (never call her Sandy) was truly quirky, but also an inspiration to everyone who ever knew her. Her influence on others was legendary.

She rarely spoke of her achievements and generally refused to participate in any public events. She did however agree to an interview toward the end of her career. From that interview came some memorable quotes that became guidance for generations of employees and their families.

  • “Having a routine gives me time to think of what really matters. Why should I waste time thinking about my outfit or what I’ll eat for lunch?”
  • “My routines have become a source of certainty for others. With so much turmoil in our society, we need to have at least some certainty and calmness.”
  • “Routines require self-discipline and it’s how we convey our strength of purpose to others. Winston Churchill was a man of ritualistic routines and that’s what was needed to confront Hitler.”
  • “All of us need to decide what in our lives we can make routine so that we can let our minds relax during our routines to think about what really matters.”

Virtually all those who have been the best of the best in their chosen careers have developed routines to guide them. The inability to establish routines is a sign that a person has a lack of self-discipline. And a person without self-discipline can rarely achieve greatness.

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“There is no more miserable human being than one whom nothing is habitual but indecision.” – William James

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