The Joy of Routine

I like to think of myself as someone who hates routine. It’s a stifling rut that makes each day seem the same, and I strain against it like a mad dog fights a choke collar.

And yet, the importance of the routine I had created prior to starting my new position at work has clearly been missed on me. Since my schedule was  part-time, I failed to recognize and appreciate the ability I had to sit down and blog, or to work- out whenever I wanted. And while I am sure I will work a new routine out, I will actually have to work at planning and scheduling my free time a bit, as confining as it may seem, in order to continue to reach my goals and have a life outside of work. It’s just all too easy to fall into a pattern of sleep, work, eat, sleep- and that’s the most restrictive routine of them all.

This is just the second week now that I’ve had to get up and come to work at 4:00 a.m., and  one night a week at 12:01 for a graveyard shift . Typically,  when I come home, I want a light snack, and at least an hour of sleep, sometimes two or three. Then I generally have a normal evening, but go to bed at 8:00 or 9:00. I’ve had a nasty cold since I started training in my new position, which has not helped at all. My energy has been drained, my feet are sore, my chest aches from coughing. I think the important thing to remember is that only I can set up a better plan to get the most out of my off time. I also need to cut myself some slack for not wanting to run this week, nor having the energy to write. I need to adjust, and then begin to add back in the routines that allow me to live a full life, not a one-dimensional one.

According to Marcy Farrey in an article at, , (Dec., 2012) it is true that routine has been given a bad rap, but it’s also vital to being able to accomplish our goals. Your routine may include making sure to write something every day, or to make sure you get to the gym or take a run at least three times per week. Making those goals become reality requires pushing away excuses and pulling out the calendar or day planner.

Reality insists on derailing our routines. We lead busy lives and nobody in their right mind will stay on the treadmill when an urgent call comes in from our child’s school, asking us to pick up our sick kid. Blown tires, dental appointments , and the impromptu lunch invite on our one day off from someone very dear to us are all valid reasons to not be able to stick to routine. Those are the times to take a deep breath, take care of business, and get back in the saddle as soon as we can. Part of what makes life fun and stable is having a good mix of flexible time and routine.

So that’s what I aim to do.

What are your routines that keep you sane? Which routines do you hang onto that are not serving you at all? ( nightly ice cream in front of the TV, for example)