It turns out that there are some things that we all do every day in our lives, normal routines of life, like going to work or going to school. But the routine I am speaking of here is that of setting tasks and abiding by them day in and day out.
I am a free-spirited person, I never want to be confined and I do not operate well when I feel confined which is exactly what following a rigid routine does to me. From many articles, I have heard that routines are freeing and can protect you from self-destructive impulses which made me only feel like a failure for not being able to follow one.
I have never been disciplined enough to follow a routine and yet still I have found it even more difficult to operate without one. So I tried to establish a middle ground for myself by doing the below. My friends even scoffed at me because I was horrible at sticking to routines.
How I overcame my frustration
1. I randomly list down my to-do
Following other articles that I had read, I wanted to be disciplined as well and tried to follow what had been suggested by allocating every task I wanted to do to a specific timeframe but it never worked. When the time came, I found myself demotivated to do that task and from there I would just not do anything at all. So I realized, I work more if I leave myself room to choose as my mood and energy will be allowed at a particular point in time what I need to do rather than having a predetermined time and task schedule. I still have my to-do list but I leave the time open for my choices, which gives me a little bit of freedom.
2. I focus my attention on what I have the energy for and am excited to do
For example, my task list may look like
- Write one chapter of my book
- Write one blog post
- Design something
- Create one craft….etc
On days when I have no energy to write my book or a blog post, I may find that I have a whole lot of designing and crafting ideas. I focus on that and enjoy it as much as possible without feeling guilty. I know that next time I may not have any design juices in me and therefore I will utilize all the time for my writing. That way I may not do everything that was on my task list but at the end of the day, I get much done.
When you have the energy to do something then commit all of yourself to do it. It’s pointless forcing yourself to do something that you have no passion for doing at the moment, you will only waste more time.
3. I never hesitated to change my to-do list
If you feel the need to change your routine, change it as many times as you want until it can serve you. Over time you will have new goals and new responsibilities, and your routine needs to adjust to suit that. The amount of time you had before being married is not the same as after being married, your routine needs to adjust to this. Even if they change weekly, I mean what the heck, change it! Disrupt them as often as possible. Don’t be afraid to try new habits and see how they work for you. If they leave you feeling energized and inspired, keep doing them…if they don’t, keep trying new ones until you find ones that do.
4. I set a to-do list that resonated with me
Even though you may have challenges sticking to routines but if you find that you can’t even pick one thing to do on your to-do list then most probably you need to revise your list and make sure those things are what you want to do in the first place. Sometimes our failure to stick to routines is not because we are lazy or lack willpower. It is because probably we are not passionate enough about the things we have set on that routine. The best routines are ones that align with your passions.
The most important thing
Even with my inability to follow routines, I have still accomplished several things. I’ve bagged a couple of degrees and still have more on the way. I also volunteered consistently at different organizations and ran my business religiously and managed to be an employee. Even though I sucked at it but at least I woke up every morning of my life during that time to be present there. I haven’t reached the maximum, I am still self-developing.
But this hasn’t been done without being mindful of the person I am. A big driver of my success is in my ability to accept myself for who I am and not who I want to be. Even though at some point I have beaten myself so hard about my inability to abide/stick to routines. But I have found ways around that.
The key is in understanding yourself and what motivates you. What kind of a person are you? Are you good at following routines? that’s good. Or like me, do you suck at following routines? That’s good too. As long as you understand yourself, you can work around everything.
Some people are good at following routines if they are set for them by others. Others find it easy to follow routines they set for themselves and others, like me, are just not good with following routines. But my advice is to do what works for you. The best routine to follow is one that works for you, that’s all that matters. Your routine should combine what’s important to you. Blindly following someone else’s routines won’t make you as productive as them. Understand your body’s flow of energy and do what works for you.
I would love to hear from you about how you manage to keep to your routines or what you do when you fail to do so please, leave a comment for me below, and if you found this useful kindly subscribe to the site and share it with others.
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