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On Scheduling and Routine

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One of the reasons summer holidays freak me out (and freaked me out as a kid) is that I love my routine. I need to know what's going to happen next. It helps me get through the day. I would love to be spontaneous and go with the flow, but I'm just not that person.

With time (and experience) I learned to accept that. And once I accepted that I needed routine and schedule in order to be productive and thrived, I started scheduling most of my day, almost every day. I would sit and make weekly schedules of when I'll study and when I'll read and when I'll write and when I'll cook. And whenever I stop scheduling, I go haywire. I can get sucked into social media or reading stuff I don't need to or even just playing stupid games on my phone, like Kwazy Cupcakes (I actually never played that one, but I love that episode).

Anyways. Now I try to have a routine that grounds me even on holidays when everything else goes out the window. Here's the routine I keep no matter what. After I get up, I do yoga and meditate. Then I take a shower. I put the clean and folded laundry away if I have any, and take a dirty load downstairs if I need to. By that time the kids are up. In case you're wondering how they're entertaining themselves, they're allowed to play on the iPad on school days or watch TV if there's no school.

Then, I sit at the kitchen table with a long espresso and my notebook (I just got a new one, the picture is of my old one). I write three things I'm grateful for (one of them is usually coffee), and I plan my day. In half-hour slots (on school days) or chunks (on holidays and weekends). I schedule myself right up to dinner and when I'll cook it. This summer I'm scheduling my piano and Spanish practices (5-10 minutes each) for after the kids are in bed, just because I can't get it in before that. On school days I don't usually schedule anything for after dinner.

After my day is scheduled, I can get on with it. On school days it would be time for breakfast, putting the laundry load in, clearing dishes from the dishwasher, and getting the kids to school. On the holidays we're a little less structured, and it would depend on where we're heading for that day. Today, for instance, we had an appointment at the travel clinic for our upcoming trip. Turns out we're too late for vaccines, but at least we went. I seem to be due to get some kind of booster, so that's now on my to-do list.

Then, it's pretty much a free-for-all. I'm ok with a day in which I have half-hour slots for reading and writing and blogging and getting groceries, and a day in which I'm out with the kids and we wing it for lunch and only return after dinner. Once my morning routine is done, I can take whatever life throws at me, usually.

My evening routine is not as rigid as my morning routine. Most nights after dinner, I'll do the dishes and turn the dishwasher on, and fold the laundry. That's part of the morning routine, really, because then I have the dishes to clear and the laundry to put away. Then I sit and think about my day, and write three things that I'm grateful for. Again, on most nights.

Now, if there's something that requires it, I'd change my routine. I'd move things around or delay or even skip it altogether. But I'm doing my best to stick to this schedule because it's a schedule that works for me. Getting time for myself in the morning, before everyone is up and need me, is a way for me to tackle the rest of the day. Scheduling my day is a way to keep myself on track. On days I don't get to do my morning routine I feel lost and adrift. If I don't schedule myself, I feel lost and adrift. I get tired at lunch, and it's a slippery slope for watching daytime TV. Not that there's anything wrong with daytime TV, but then I feel like crap, so that's not helping anyone.

Right. My half-hour is up. Time to make dinner :)


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