Routines are one of the main things that clients ask me about. What is the right time of the day to do what needs to be done? Is it better during the grogginess of the morning or the exhaustion of the evening? Is it something they truly desire to do or have they decided to take on something new just for the heck of it? What is necessary and what is not?
There are no right answers, but I’ll give you one of mine: routine is a ritual, and the only things that are absolutely necessary are those things in the morning that prepare me for the day in the morning, and the ones that relax me and prepare me for the evening’s slumber.
My personal routines were incredibly disrupted while I was in the hospital, so now I sit in the lofty position of having to rebuild some of my routines from scratch. Don’t feel too bad for me, it was time.
In my opinion, because our lives change at such a fast pace, a routine needs to be something that can be revisited and refined as my mind becomes used to it and begins to skip steps. That’s right, the same ADHD mind that abandons your projects and procrastinates can begin to shift away from whatever you have put into place for your routine. Structure: we have a love/hate relationship with.
While I can’t personally tell you what will work best for YOUR routine, I can definitely give you some guidance on questions I ask myself and my clients to help us decide what are best for our routines.
What do I need my routine for?
If you’re working on a morning routine ( and I am, for purposes of this article), those routines are in place to prepare you for the morning. What do you need in the morning? My goals in the morning are usually simple – routines work best when they are just a few easily remembered steps. Mine is to wash up, take my meds, eat, and get something caffeinated into me so I can face the day ahead. Whatever the day throws at me I will be clean, medicated, and prepared.
What do you need in the morning? Some people like to take a brisk walk, some like to journal their thoughts out so they can have a clear mind. The real trick of routine is that many of us don’t know what is necessary for our own routines. That’s ok, because the beauty of routine is that there is no right answer. If you’re asking for my opinion? I believe that routine needs purpose
What purpose does it fill?
Most of us are desperate for routine to give us some guidepost to usher us into more productivity. In my opinion, the purpose of my routine, as I’ve mentioned, is for simple preparation for the day. In order to have an effective morning routine, I need to have some idea of what is coming at me for the day, or so I thought. In my journey away from that type of thinking I have found there are pieces of my life, no matter what else is going on that desperately need to be done in order to keep things moving along.
I often ask my coaching clients what purpose a piece of their routine serves. I want my routine to simply drop me into the rest of my day prepared to begin work or leisure. What purpose do you want your routine to serve? Is there room in it for more? If so, you need an approximate idea of how much time it will take.
How much time will it take?
Put away your timers and watches folks! All I want is an estimate of how much time your tasks will take in comparison to how much time you have. I have an hour in the morning to prepare before I step into the living room and begin my day. Do you have a morning commute or other people to prepare before you can take care of your own needs? Factor all of that into how much time is left for you. You might be surprised at the results.
I know this sounds so simplistic, but it is a lot like a budget you might write for your money. You can’t always tell how much time is left until you sit down and take a look at what you have available. You deserve to have the routine you want and sometimes seeing it all written down can make it more clear where time is being wasted and where it can be redistributed.
As for me, I’m factoring time for an extra cup of coffee.
Enjoy your routines.
Until next time,