The previous year was a difficult one for us and even this year is full of uncertainty. However, my goal is to work on myself so that the time spent in lockdown is not totally wasted. I am trying to find various methods that I can apply to bring positive changes in life. One thing which is really helping me a lot is sticking to a certain routine.
Upon hearing the word “Routine”, our first thought is boredom. If you are someone like me who loves adventures then routine feels like a prison. But let me assure you that both routine and adventurous life can co-exist. In such times where everything seems uncertain, a constant routine will make you feel somewhat in control. And if you get bored of routine, then you can always take a day off and allow yourself to enjoy the day without any restrictions.
The routine designed by you is only for you and only you can change it accordingly. If you are suffering from mental health issues, then sticking to a set schedule will help you function in the day where you want to stay in the bed. However, don’t let others define what your routine should be. You are the in-charge of your life here and only you can decide how to spend your 24 hours.
Lack of routine will make you feel like you are overwhelmed and a lot of things are needed to be done in so little time. Multiple tasks will keep you occupied and at the end of the day, there will still be an unfinished task list waiting for you. The same cycle will repeat the next day and so on. This never-ending cycle will make you more anxious and frustrated. Eventually making you question your competence.
A proper routine is key for breaking this on-going cycle. Just sit down and write the tasks you want to do and assign some time to each of them. Make sure to arrange tasks on the basis of priority i.e. first complete the urgent tasks. Don’t over assign or under assign the estimated time. If a task requires 1 hour approximately then don’t estimate to do it in 30 minutes. Similarly, don’t allot hours for a 15-minute task.
Take a few minutes break after completing each task to celebrate the task well done. We are so busy trying to achieve huge goals that we tend to ignore the little joys of life. The reward can be a small one such as a few minutes’ rest, a cup of tea, or a few pages of your favorite book. But don’t get too busy with your rewards. Remember to get back to work after a small break and you will soon have another chance to celebrate after completing another task on your list.
Sticking to the routine is as important as forming it. Some people tend to complain that routines are not working for them. This happens because they fail to comply with it. Or they give up after some days. Your complaint is not valid if you are not trying hard enough. Give your best and you will see the improvement.
The addition of worry time or thoughts time in your routine is extremely beneficial. If you are an overthinker and can’t stop your thoughts then you need to discipline them. Keep those thoughts at bay while working and unleash them during worrying or thoughts time. This way your thoughts will not interfere with your productivity and you will get time for overthinking as well. Worry time is useful but overdoing it will harm your mental health.
If you are just starting to figure out your routine then be patient with yourself. It will be frustrating for you at the start as you might not be able to follow it. You will have some setbacks at the start but don’t give up. Keep trying to figure out what suits you best. Once you find the right routine, you will start seeing obvious changes in your life. You will observe that now you can do tasks more efficiently than before. Moreover, you will have more time to perform other tasks.
Lastly, beware of overworking yourself. Make sure that self-care and pampering are a part of the routine so that you have enough energy to accomplish all tasks. Taking a break from routine is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, occasional breaks will provide relief from the monotony and boredom from routine. And you will feel more enthusiastic after a break.
“The routine dulls the terror”-Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King