To Routine Or Not To Routine...
As a Life Coach I often find myself with a dilemma. Should I have a routine or not? After all, part of my job is to help clients achieve their goals, find their dreams, get some balance. Is a routine the way forward? Is it okay to just let things crinkle out? In this blog I write from personal experience.
Why I Don’t Like Routine
I don’t set my alarm unless I have to. I find I wake up at about the same time every day though, regardless of whether I set an alarm or not. In fact, if I have to set an alarm I don’t sleep well because I am worried I’ll oversleep. The reason I don’t set my alarm is because I like to let the body do what it needs to do. It’ll sleep when it’s ready to, and awaken when it needs to. Once I’ve awoken the first thing I do is meditate. This sets me up for the day in a positive way. Meditation is a form of relaxed energising. I then have a shower, have breakfast and very often go for a walk soon after breakfast. This leaves the rest of the day for me to do what I need or want to do. Of course if I’m staying with family or have family staying with me, my “routines”get disrupted. I have to eat when they want to eat rather than when I get hungry.
Everything else I do during the day depends on my “timetable”. In other words, what do I need to get done. I’m quite happy to have a checklist for the day and there are certain days that I need to do certain things. But if I wrote a timetable and had a strict routine I’d feel like I was back at school again. I’d feel constricted. I’m a firm believer in following my instinct and intuition. But, with all that said I am well aware of how useful a regular routine can be. I mean, my routine in the morning is useful so what is stopping me from making my daily life more routined? It’s a hang up of thinking I’m being told “what to do” - even though it’s me doing the telling. I tend to do things the same way every time - if it works! If someone interferes with my plans it throws a huge spanner in the works! That's not to say I don't enjoy experimenting with other methods though.
Why I Know A Routine Is Actually Good
If I have a lot of work on with a variety of deadlines, then I am stricter with myself. I make a daily plan to give relevant weighting to my tasks. I tend to have many projects going on at the same time - I enjoy variety. They always say if you want something doing to ask a busy person. I couldn’t agree more. Even though I don’t like to follow a strict routine I will always fulfil my obligations. I manage this because I set myself a target for each day, for each activity. I am a well organised person and I get things done. That, for me, is enough. If I was to fail to meet my targets on a regular basis, then of course I’d rethink.
Having a routine can actually help a lot. Whenever I’ve had a mental breakdown in the past I found that a simple routine really helped me. I wasn’t being told what to do. I was simply setting myself little targets and reminders of things to do throughout the day. It was a routine. It helped me on my road to recovery. The more I’ve trained and studied for Life Coaching the more balanced my life has become. A routine works, and I suppose if I’m honest I do actually follow some kind of a routine where possible. I just won’t set myself specific times to do things - apart from working with clients.
What Works For One May Not Work For Another
We all work in different ways. I like to be busy with lots of things going on. Others like to focus on just one thing at a time. Routine mundane work is soul destroying for me. I used to work in a factory making boxes. Standing in the same spot 8 hours a day, doing the same thing over and over and over and over again. For someone with an active imagination, a creative flare, a need for variety etc. it was not for me. But it was necessary - I had bills to pay. Others find that kind of work great for them because they can just automate themselves. They don’t mind the repetitiveness of it. In fact they use it as a great exercise for mindfulness…which is fantastic. I suppose if I’m being mindful, I want to choose a nicer location. :-)
In conclusion I guess what I’m saying is that you must do what is right for you. If you find that your life isn’t working out the way you want to, or you keep “running out of time”, then maybe a routine is the way forward for you. If you find that things are ticking along nicely the way you do them, then why change it? But, maybe a routine could make you more productive. You’ll never find out unless you try! Don’t dismiss anything out of hand until you’ve given it a fair trial. If you don’t follow a routine, try one for a month and see how you go. Do things improve or not? If not, at least you’ve tried!