I found an interesting article on the power of rituals at the Harvard Business Review publishing blog.
I took the excerpt article from the post entitled “An 18 Minute Plan for Managing Your Day.”
It talks about the power of scheduling and moving from a Yellow Belt to a White Belt in the practice of “Scheduling.”
In their book The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz describe a study in which a group of women agreed to do a breast self-exam during a period of 30 days. According to the results, 100% of those who said where and when they were going to do it completed the exam. Only 53% of the others did the exam.
In another study, drug addicts in withdrawal (can you find a more stressed-out population?) agreed to write an essay before 5 p.m. on a certain day. Per the results, 80% of those who said when and where they would write the essay completed it. None of the others did.
If you want to get something done, decide when and where you’re going to do it. Otherwise, take it off your list.
The success of these individuals is simple to explain. A schedule that has clear commitments, including time estimates, works far better than a mere list of activities for those who frequently have days in which everything that’s on their list doesn’t get accomplished.