Why routines matters

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I know of a woman who runs a huge company.  This is her weekly schedule:

8:00 p.m-Bed

2:00 a.m-Wake 

3:00-4.30 a.m-Workout at 24 hr gym

4:30- 6:30 a.m-Washing, dinner prep, answering emails, showering, dressing

7:00 a.m-Starts work

Jesus, if only I could do this. But life isn’t like that for me, mainly because I still have a child who requires tucking in at night.

This week, many news outlets reported on the need for babies and children to have routine so they don’t turn into serial killers later in life.

I think routine is vital for everyone; young or old. Routine gives you a signpost for your day and these signposts help your body to self regulate. Seasonal eating is a type of routine, ‘It’s winter, we need potatoes for carbs to make fat for keeping warm. Hey, it’s spring, let’s eat asparagus which is a negative calorie vegetable so we can lose the layer of mash from last season.’

Author, Kazuo Ishiguro gets up at 4:00 a.m, then runs 10 km and writes from 10:00 a.m-6:00 p.m, not answering emails or phone calls till 4:00 p.m.

When I started writing, working out my routine was the most difficult part of my new life (along with self editing).

At home all day, I would feel guilt about not doing ‘home jobs’, as though writing wasn’t a real job.

Then I would get my wriggle on at about 2:00 p.m and an hour or so later I had to get kids from school, so then I would get resentful about my precious ‘writing time.’

It was up to me to get into a routine and give precedence to the ‘writing time.’

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Sitting with my quack, I told her about my struggle to find a routine in my new life.

She’s like a Gina Ford for adults, so she helped me work out a routine for me, which I stuck to for 21 days, Why? Because that’s how long it takes to form a habit.

The first day was excruciating, like an adult version of controlled crying but slowly it became easier.

So the routine? This is a perfect day, but even on a bad day, it still runs close.

7:00 a.m – Wake, drink water

7:15 a.m – Shower

7:30-8:30 a.m- Kids, breakfast, home stuff

8:30-9:00 a.m – Put on washing, make coffee, get something out of the freezer for dinner

9:00-9:30 a.m – Answer emails, lurk on internet, blog

9:30-12:00 p.m- Writing

12:00-12.30 p.m- Lunch, put washing in dryer or on the line

12:30-2:00 p.m – Writing

2:00 pm-3:00 p.m- Nap or meditation (I do feel less tired post meditation but I love naps)

3:00-7:00 p.m – Dinner, kids, after-school biz, walk dogs, shopping, life stuff.

7:00-9:30 p.m – Vitamin TV hit and editing days work and answering emails.

9:30 p.m- Bed

Does it sound oppressive?

I promise it’s not when you do it, because huge chunks of space are now opened up for you to allow the creativity to emerge, and those other chunks of non writing time is when my ideas fallow.

I will be wandering up the hallway, putting washing away when a solution for a problem in a manuscript is delivered, undies in hand.

Everyone’s routines has to be finely tailored and tuned to their own personal circadian rhythms.

I work best mid-morning so my routine clears that out for me. You might work differently and that’s okay, just work out where you think clearest and go for it! Lose the guilt, lose the stress of putting others first, make some time for yourself and go create.

And remember, your routine is not a punishment to you, it’s just like an electric fence to anything external that might be encroaching on your space. Respect it.

Peace out.

Kate

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5 thoughts on “Why routines matters”

  1. This is brilliant. My daughter has always thrived on routine and felt comfortable and safe in it. I think I need that routine for myself. 21 days, huh? Might just give it a crack.

  2. I always struggle with a routine for myself but guard my sons like a crazy person. I have the worse time going to sleep and always have. The truth is I would love to sleep through the day and wake/work at night but doesn’t work with my life right now! I will work harder at the 21 day thing and see if it works!

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