Friday, September 4, 2020

How To Re-Establish Your Routine

 This year’s endless summer is coming to an end, and students are slowly heading back to school (whether in person or online). I feel like parents can breathe a sigh of release, knowing that they may not have to continually come up with activities to occupy their children’s time. While I am lucky that I do not have to deal with that responsibility right now, back to school in my mind is always associated with getting back into a routine. It goes without saying that back to school certainly looks different this year, and while I’m not a parent or student and it shouldn’t really impact my day to day life/schedule, I tend to be eager to re-evaluate my routine this time of year. 

As most of y’all probably already know, I am a routine person through and through. It’s no wonder that I struggled with being productive during the first few months of the pandemic, given that my routine was thrown for a loop. Everything isn’t back to normal just yet for us at work, but I’ve finally gotten back into the habits I was used to when I had a typical work week, and it has completely changed my productivity and mindset. Hooray for feeling like I am back in a routine even if it’s different than what it was before! For those of you wanting the comfort of a routine and a sense of normalcy back in your lives, I’ve shared some of the things that have helped me most below.

Do As Much As You Can To Help Yourself The Night Before

No matter how much I have grown to love mornings, before heading out the door can always feel a little bit rushed. My solution to this is to prioritize doing whatever I can do to make my morning easier the night before. Personally, that means packing my gym bag (whenever I do it in the morning, I tend to forget socks), thinking about what I’m going to wear the following day, and packing my lunch. Packing my lunch is my least favorite of those tasks but doing it at night tends to make it easier to get out the door on time. In an ideal world, I’d have everything I plan to put in my lunch box already in its container (be it a ziplock or Tupperware) and even have my iced coffee ready to grab. This doesn’t always happen, but it is going to be my goal for next week to save myself time and maybe even earn a few extra minutes of shut-eye.

Set Your Alarm Earlier

Hi, my name is Dorothy, and I never wake up to my first alarm. This fact tends to surprise people, but if you were to look at the alarms I have set on my phone, you’d be baffled. I have so many set, and they are oddly in three-minute increments. I usually get out of bed around 5:30 after my first alarm going off at 5:15. It would be great to get out of this habit but popping out of bed right when the first one sounds is not my strength. If I aim to get out of bed earlier, I know that my first alarm needs to be at least 10 minutes before I actually need to get up. Having that extra ten minutes in the morning makes me feel calmer as I get ready, which in turn allows me to start my day with a better attitude. Most mornings, I’ll wake up early enough to give me time to read in bed while sipping coffee in my robe. While that’s not a routine activity that everyone strives for, it’s a little luxury I can work into my schedule with a little bit of forward-thinking.

Reward Yourself

Personally, re-establishing a routine doesn’t just involve waking up on time to head to work. Instead, it means going to the gym and meal prepping, among other things. While rewarding yourself may sound a bit generous, I don’t necessarily mean it as getting something just for doing something you know you should already be doing. Instead, as you ease yourself back to going to the gym, reward yourself by doing your favorite workout so that you don’t dread it. Or as you’re preparing food for the week, make your favorite recipe so that you at least know that you’ll be excited to eat what you’ve worked so hard to make in advance. It really is the little things when it comes to trying to re-establish your everyday. 

Create An Achievable Ideal Schedule

I think that the most challenging thing that people face when it comes to a routine is overcommitting themselves to thinking they can do a lot more than they actually have time for. Realizing that you’re not able to get it all done can be discouraging. Instead, create an achievable ideal schedule by writing out the priorities you have for yourself each day. From there, build that into your schedule while also giving yourself plenty of time for flexibility! 

I’d love to know of any strategies you use when trying to get yourself back on a schedule! 

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