What’s the big deal? I mean, how helpful is it really, to have a routine?
Routines make life boring right? Too planned out!
Well…routines also take away your need to make some decisions all day long…they take away the need to think about what you’re going to do next. This is particularly useful if you tend to procrastinate!
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get to the end of my day, and I don’t want to make any more decisions, I mean, I have already made probably (in my kids’ words) a bajillion decisions! I don’t even want to decide what show to watch, or whether it’s on Disney+ or Netflix etc, or what snack to have with it, even what pjs to wear!! If you’ve never heard of decision fatigue, go check it out. It’s really a thing!!
If throughout the day, you constantly have to spend energy deciding what you should do next, you will probably sometimes choose to do nothing! If I have the option to decide whether to clean a toilet, or whether to browse a new craft project on Pinterest, I will have a hard time turning down the comfort of a chair and the dream world I get lost in when scrolling through Pinterest.
Or if I have a block of time through the day and I am thinking of working out, or doing anything else, chances are that I will choose the other thing, whatever it is. No one really loves to do hard work – they just understand the value it provides when it’s done. So if all day, each hour you have a new decision of what to do…it becomes exhausting. It also becomes self defeating. It’s like opening a cupboard and seeing a chocolate bar, or a bag of chips. Most of the time you may be able to say no to the treat and have something different. But you will still reach for that treat eventually because you won’t be able to turn it down EVERY time!
Same with choosing to do something you don’t want to do. Most of the time you will pick the thing you do want to do – unless you have the most impressive will power and self regulation to always do what you need to do – in which case…power to ya!!! Please teach me your ways!!!
Creating a routine helps to deal with making those decisions. If you have a routine that involves one hour of house work – then you will likely actually choose to do housework in that block of time! If you have to decide each hour of the day whether to do house work or something else, you may get only the minimum amount of house work done, because you have time later to choose to do it, right?
If you have a routine where the first thing you do in the morning is head out to the gym or to the home gym for a workout, then you will likely actually do a workout (and feel better about yourself for having done it!) You don’t have the option to put it off, or tell yourself you will do it later, because that is the time frame where your routine tells you that it’s time for a workout!
Adding the structure of a routine to the day also helps coordinate the members of the household. We have had a standing weekend time slot for screen time. It’s usually from 1:30-2:30 pm. The kids know that they are getting that hour, so its easier (not easy…just easIER!!) to motivate them to get their chores done. It’s a nice break as a parent too, because who doesn’t want to be able to either kick their feet up in the afternoon or know they can have a good block of personal time!! It could even provide some time for you and your partner to actually have a less interrupted conversation, or get a teamwork project done around the house!
So having a routine that you stick with can help you get the stuff you don’t want to do done, AND gives the illusion of freeing up your time to do what you want because you don’t feel the constant pull through the day of knowing you really SHOULD do something other than having fun or doing what you want!
Determine what your routine categories could be in order to help keep your day flexible but still structured. So, for a fitness time slot, you could either hit the gym, go for a hike, bike or walk with friends, or any other physical activity you love. Incorporating flexibility helps create the staying power of the routine. You can do different things on different days to make you feel like you’re not locked in to one kind of thing. Or if you have weeks that are different from each other, you can have a 2-week rotation to your routine to make things easier.
Ultimately, it’s all about creating time and space in your life for fun rather than living by chores and other have-to’s.