Yawwwwwwn… just the word sounds like work and more than that it sounds boring too! Monotonous… the same thing every day.
Surely there has to be more to life than that! People need a little excitement in their life, surely? Something different, unexpected, something to be enthusiastic about. Guess what, routine gives you that. Whaaaat?! We hear you say.
Seriously, take a second and imagine what your day would be like if there was no routine — no rules, nothing expected of you, no set hours to be anywhere.
In fact, some of us are having those days right now…sounded good at first but now it’s just messy and confused, right?
So, what if you took the approach to get fully involved in designing your day. Don’t just go with the flow… create your flow. There are some major pluses to this:
You choose what to include in your day
- Some people choose to do this the night before, others, the start of the day. Whichever works best for you. Don’t let the entire day slip by while you decide where to begin, and don’t get stuck into everyone else’s stuff by request or by accident.
Your priorities remain priorities
- It won’t always go swimmingly well. Unplanned for items will pop up, you might run a little late for something, something else may have to be put off for the next day or the next week. Mainly however, when you know what’s expected of you, you get it done.
You can balance the bustle with breathing
- Annie Dilliard said, “The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives”. Some people struggle with sticking to a schedule, others suffer from the whims of spontaneity. There’s no reason you can’t have both! Check that the routine suits you, that it represents your values through the things you spend time on. If it doesn’t, change it. In other words, set your day up to take you where you need to go, and then bask in your accomplishments.
You can start small
- A little notebook works beautifully. Start with listing the activities you already do on a daily basis. Consider how what you do might be rearranged to suit you even better. Once you have a handle on your usual daily tasks, it might be a good time to add “that thing” you’ve been meaning to get to for a while, to the day, the week or the month. A secret bonus of routines: once you’ve established one, the merest of tweaks can totally revitalise your day.
- To stay focused, try the ‘pomodoro technique’ developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique is a revolutionary time-management method which can help you power through distractions, hyper-focus and get things done in short bursts, while taking frequent breaks to come up for air and relax. It is both simple to learn and life-changing to use.
The Pomodoro Technique
- Choose a task that you’d like to get done
Something big, something small, something you’ve been putting off for a million years: it doesn’t matter. What matters, is that it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.
- Set the Pomodoro (or any other timer) for 25 minutes
Make a small oath to yourself: “I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself.” You can do it! After all, it’s just 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings
Immerse yourself in the task for the next 25 minutes. If you suddenly realise you have something else you need to do, write the task down on a sheet of paper.
- When the Pomodoro rings, put a checkmark on a paper
Congratulations! You’ve spent an entire, interruption-less Pomodoro on a task.
- Take a short break
Breathe, meditate, grab a cup of coffee, go for a short walk or do something else relaxing (i.e., not work-related). Your brain will thank you later.
- Every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break
Once you’ve completed 4 pomodoros, you can take a longer break. 20 minutes is good. Or 30. Your brain will use this time to assimilate new information and rest before the next round of Pomodoros.
As children, we were given a routine by adults to provide structure and discipline. As adults, it appears we will all simply be better off if we created a day which helps us to be more productive, in control and our best selves. What do you think about routines … Yay or Nay?
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Disclaimer: The preceding is intended to offer practical approaches and assistance for daily living in an effort to help where possible, those of us who need and seek it. We speak to the individual, and hope the nuggets offered are found transferable to family, business, community and country. The information is not intended as a replacement for obtaining professional advice.