For a website I am developing, I have to decide which name give to an action that is done with regular periodically.

As I am not a native English speaker I am not sure which word to use, as I need a name that is easy to understand for everyone and that's a bit cultural (right?)

So, some of the options that would have sense...

  • Repetitive action
  • Regular action
  • Periodic action
  • (...) ?

Which would be the most user-friendly name?


To give some context, these actions does not necessarily need to be boring or fun; they are defined by the User. For example, I set a new "periodic" action; running every Monday at 20:00. Another one, review my week, every Sunday at 16:00.

So that is why the name has to be friendly! It is important that people does not see periodic actions as a boring, technical thing, but as a human healthy habit.

  • In addition to those, possibly 'standing order' or 'standing instruction'. The former is a specific banking term in the UK.
    – WS2
    Jan 31, 2014 at 17:13
  • When you say regular periodically, perhaps you mean "frequently"?
    – Josh
    Jan 31, 2014 at 19:09
  • @SoylentGreen The problem of "frequently" is that it kind of implies being done... frequently! And an action can be set as periodic but not frequent at all - for example, every Monday.
    – Mr Me
    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:17

3 Answers 3


It kinda depends on the exact context, but all the offerings I can see so far are either a bit "clinical/scientific" or they tend to carry negative overtones of boring, predictable behaviour.

If I wanted to refer to my (admittedly, boring) habit of having a small glass of something strongly alcoholic every evening, without those negative overtones, I'd probably say I like to have my...

customary tipple

But for OP's context (tidying/backing up computer stuff at relatively regular intervals?) I'd use...

routine maintenance (a bit boring, perhaps - but vital, nevertheless)

Following OP's edit, I think perhaps he might want to take a leaf out of Microsoft's book. Most versions of Windows include a software component called the Task Scheduler, which manages...

scheduled tasks (unless "the system" fails, all such activities will be performed at the appointed time)

  • Actually, routine seems to hit the target. Defined as "a sequence of actions regularly followed.", it could explain just fine what these kind of actions are.
    – Mr Me
    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:19
  • +1 for ‘routine’—that was exactly the word I was going to suggest. “Set up new routine” or something to that effect hits the nail right on the head for me. @MrMe, if this answers your question adequately, you should click the check mark on the left to accept is as the correct answer. Feb 1, 2014 at 12:39
  • And with the edit, I'd suggest the combination scheduled routine, for which I'd give another +1 if I could. Feb 1, 2014 at 12:46
  • 1
    @Janus: For the general case (cleaning your toilet or mowing the lawn once a week, etc.), routine seems appropriate to me. But the more the context implies doing the job at a specific date/time, the more I would lean towards scheduled. Computers normally trigger such jobs at exact times, so that might be a better choice for OP. Feb 1, 2014 at 12:48
  • @FumbleFingers The issue is that it is not for computers, it is for people (I made some update in the question to cover that). That is why actions such as running, prepare food for the next day, take care of your nephew, etc seems to be perfectly defined by Routine.
    – Mr Me
    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:51

If the action is repeated at a fixed time, I would say a:

  • recurring action
  • regularly-scheduled action

If the action is repeated but perhaps not at a fixed time, I would say:

  • regular action
  • repeating action

I think that a "recurring action" is probably what you are looking for: it succinctly indicates something that is periodic and regular and is quite "friendly".

recur: occur again periodically or repeatedly.


If you are merely trying to list or account for the repetitions rather than describing the particular action, you could consider recurrence

an act of instance of happening again, esp at regular intervals

The term reoccurence may also be found with similar meaning.

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