Rhythm vs. Routine

April 01, 2015

Rhythm vs. Routine

After losing my routines I have been trying to reestablish them. One of the articles which is helping me is this article at Slow Your Home on rediscovering my rhythm. Going through the steps here, I started wondering, what exactly is the difference between a rhythm and a routine? So I exercised my Google search muscles to find out.

My first stop was another article at Slow Your Home – Rhythm Over Routine where Brooke says:

“routine – a strict, sequential approach to our days.”

But she doesn’t really describe rhythm. She says this about rhythm

“Rhythm, however, was a much friendlier notion. It spoke of order, but also flexibility and movement and fluidity. It even sounded friendlier.”

Ok. But I still was still confused. Rhythm is friendlier and flexible than routine. But in what way? And so I started looking at what other bloggers have to say.

I found a better defined distinction here at (in)courage – Let the Rhythm Move You

**_“Routine: something cheerleaders did when I was in high school to 90s dance music. It had predetermined, robotic movements and it was either correct or incorrect, and it was obvious if you messed up. Routine focuses on rules and doesn’t like to be changed.

Rhythm: a frame of mind that suggests more of an art. If you have rhythm, then whatever you decide to do with intention fits in the dance. Rhythm feels like choice and nuance and paying attention to your surroundings. Rhythm is alive and open to adjustments based on the circumstance. Rhythm focuses on needs.”


This is somewhat more precise. By this definition, my mornings are definitely ‘rhythms’ and not rules. But this definition still left me unsatisfied.

And then I found this definition in this post at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking Creating Family Rhythm :

“I call our routine a rhythm because it’s not particularly scheduled. We don’t have a time that we do school, or chores, or even dinner. We have an order to things that helps us to flow from one activity to the next.”

So for me, a rhythm is similar to a routine – in that it is a pre-decided sequence of things to do. But there are no strict time bounds and no concept of ‘failing’. In my daily rhythm, the slower rhythm of some days means I skip some of the things in my ‘faster’ rhythm days and not have a sense of failure.

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