A morning routine is a great way to keep yourself in sync. But sometimes life will have you thrown off track, have you doing things differently and you’ll find yourself out of sync.
Instead of a meticulous step by step almost domino effect morning routine, you find yourself frazzled and in a rush. You forget the things you usually do or they’re done with less effort.
And so when you go out into the world you’re all over the place.
When that happens what you probably need is to rest, relax and reset.
The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.
For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.
By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.
It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.
Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.
Prior to mid-march 2020 my writing time consisted of my journey to and from work, my lunch break and in the evenings after dinner. I’d do my best to plan ahead and have my posts scheduled for 7.30am each morning.
But once lockdown started my day to day life changed significantly. I was no longer travelling to and from work each day, my work and home life were blended.
Over the past couple of months I’ve stopped planning ahead, almost never schedule posts in advance and I’m no longer posting in the morning. Instead I write and post on my blog in the evenings as my day is winding down. I’m still posting the same amount but I actually find that it’s a lot easier.
It’s much simpler and less time consuming which means I have more time for everything else that i enjoy.
I believe that a new way of working requires a new routine. Up until the past couple of months most people that worked 9-5 office jobs spent most of their days in the office. However, that has now changed we are (pretty much) all working from home.
One of the things that many have overlooked is implementing a routine for working at home. Most of us have a particular routine for days in the office, whether it’s the time we get up in the morning, preparations we do the night before, the time we start working and the time we log off.
You need that sort of routine for working at home too. It doesn’t need to be exactly the same, but you can’t expect to work at home the same way you do in the office if your day has no sense of structure.
Something as simple as starting and ending your day at the same time each day can work wonders.
It may not seem important to implement this and maybe you want home to be more fluid and free. However, it turns out that without some structure to your day you’ll be more likely to work longer hours and you’ll probably be much less productive.
For a lot of people they will have reached a point where they have realised working from home just isn’t the same as being in the office.
Because it isn’t.
You might find yourself less focused, less productive and more distracted, especially if you live with other people.
And so it might be helpful to find ways to replicate how you feel at work in your home.
A few ideas are:
Create a suitable working space – Even if it’s just setting up at the dining table each day. Working from the sofa or your bed isn’t a suitable environment because they’re unlikely to places that you associate with work. Also it’s helpful to create some separation so that when you log off for the day you can move to the sofa to relax or tuck yourself into bed and read.
Get dressed – Not into your work clothes but wear something presentable instead if staying in your pyjamas or wearing a worn out pair of joggers.
Follow your usual routine – Whether that’s starting your day with a cup of tea at your desk, a mid morning snack, going through your inbox for the first 30 minutes of the day, having lunch at 1.30pm, whatever it may be.
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice
Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.
With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.
Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.
As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.
But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.
These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.
I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.
For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.
Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.
It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.
It’s a gradual thing.
One day you have a solid morning routine and the next you’re running down the street with half your shirt undone hoping you have don’t miss the bus and that you have everything you need.
But it’s not as simple as that, the loss of a habit takes time.
It starts with pressing snooze, then skipping meditation and moves on to not even prepping the night before.
Some routines are hard to keep and sometimes we think that we want to bend away from what we know serves us, just to see what happens.
And sometimes we do it to remember why we implemented the routine in the first place.
I think sometimes it’s easy for life to become a bit if a rut. Up at 0630, out by 0730, start work at 0830 finish at 1700, get home for 1800.
Then eat, do a few house things like washing the dishes or laundry followed by things like reading, browsing online or watching a bit of telly. Before you know it it’s time to shower and get ready for bed just to do it all over again in the morning.
When this is how your life goes it’s easy to stop thinking about what you really want from life, what makes you happy or what you want to do more of.
So, when you start to notice a rut in your day to day life make a conscious effort to stop and ask yourself those important questions.
You might find that you’re happy and content with your current life and routine but on the other hand you may find that you feel stuck with where you’re at. Perhaps you’re now 3 years deep into a job that was supposed to a temporary thing whilst you figured out what you really wanted and you might realise that you settled.
If that’s the case I come bearing good news, your life can change for the better if you’re willing to do something about it.