If you’ve met me, you’ll know that I’m a fan of routine. I can’t get enough of it; I practically worship the idea of routines. Having spent the majority of my life in education, I’ve built a solid set of them to keep my life in order. For instance, when I’m not living on the go, out of a bullet journal, I’m working from a whiteboard at home. There are ten folders full of files on my chest of drawers. I know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and who I’m doing it with every waking second of the day.
Routine is who I am. How people ever cope without them is a question that perplexes me nearly every day, especially during the coronavirus lockdown. Personally, I think that it’s important now more so than ever before to develop a solid routine system that will combat craziness that could, very easily, consume your whole life while we practice social distancing.
Routine equals normalcy
Right now, it’s fair to say that nobody’s life is exactly normal. Lockdown has disrupted any sense of normalcy and, while we can eventually accept the situation and hope for better times, doing so will not necessarily be straightforward. We are very much mourning our freedoms and accepting that clearly hasn’t be easy for some, despite it being for our safety. As such, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many of us are still in the shock and denial stage, if we’re sticking with the grieving metaphor.
If you are still in denial about the situation, and simply want to forget about what is happening in the world, setting up a solid routine can make that a little easier. For instance, I set my alarm to 6:59am every weekday, practice Spanish in bed, do a little workout and then crack on with work. My routine helps me to forget that the UK is, quite rightly, heavily restricted at the moment. It’s led to a sense of normalcy that had otherwise completely vanished.
It’s made working from home that much easier.
Routine equals structure
A structured day has always been important to me. Even at University, when my friends very willingly stayed home to work or revise, I always headed for the peace and quiet of the library. Over there, I set up a working environment that tricked my brain into believing that there was no time to procrastinate while in a workspace.
I had a simple structure to my day then, and I still do during lockdown. I might work from 9-11am, grab a coffee from the kitchen with my housemate, have lunch at 1pm, and finish work for the day at 5pm.
You don’t have to be quite so rigid with your routines, but even having a vague outline to your day will work wonders to increase your productivity and make your weeks fly by. Lockdown will be over before you know it.
Routine equals freedom
If your day has structure, you’ll know when you’re working, when your breaks are, when to do the shopping, the washing and the (online/socially distant) socialising. You’ll know when your working day ends and when it’s time to relax.
You’ll have freedom.
Without a solid routine, you may end up working intermittently, from 10-11am, 3-4pm, and 8-10pm. You could be working all day without a solid cut-off point, thinking about the email that you have to send after dinner instead of how good it’ll feel to put your feet up and switch off. I consider myself a workaholic, but even I want time to myself every now and then.
These tips won’t work for everyone; some people simply can’t get enough of routine-free lifestyles, and that is completely fine. Finding out what sort of work-life balance is best for you is one of the key challenges of adjusting to working from home.
However, a life without a routine is not the life for me. How is your routine looking while the UK is in lockdown?