Today I want to talk a little bit about routine. Is it better to have one, not have one, or does it not matter either way?
Growing up I always had a routine, I think most people do. It was nothing too extreme of course, just the usual where I had a time to be in bed, or I ate dinner at the same time each day, that kind of thing.
This changed when I began my current job almost ten years ago. Working in a hotel results in a 24/7 job, a life that is pretty much lived week to week and dictated to by an ever changing rota. The result of this of course is that any chance of a routine goes out the window.
Things changed again when I was pregnant, in order to accommodate this I ended up on a set shift pattern. This was to avoid any long stretches, (it’s normal to work up to ten days in a row) and any instances of having to work one evening and be back in the following morning (a lack of sleep isn’t great at the best of times but it’s even worse when you’re growing a human)! So, just like that I had a routine. Great right? Well, not really. Whilst I was grateful to not have one shift roll into another I was also bored. I missed the variety.
Maternity Leave soon arrived and with that came more routine, or rather the battle to establish a routine with a newborn. This I didn’t mind but I still enjoyed the spontaneity of the days where we didn’t have any commitments and I could just choose what to do there and then rather than planning ahead too much.
This brings me to now, where the lockdown has taken away any chance of spontaneity (unless you count choosing a different time of the day each week to do the food shopping) and I find myself in more of a routine than ever.
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So, let’s talk pros and cons
Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day helps to maintain the body clock and enrich the quality of sleep.
A routine can help to avoid procrastination. It can aid productivity and ensure the quality of completed tasks is higher.
For some people a routine is vital for their mental health. For everybody it can certainly help to reduce feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and to feel more in control.
Establishing a routine of when you see or speak to loved ones helps to strengthen and maintain relationships. It’s a great way of building up newly established relationships also. By planning in advance you are far more likely to show up/stick to it.
Forming good habits
This could be good sleep habits, or an exercise regime, or even just keeping on top of the household chores. Whatever it might be, creating healthy habits is great for both the physical and mental state.
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The risk of boredom/disillusionment
A routine can easily become monotonous, and can result in less productivity overall.
Yes, this one makes both the pros and the cons section. A routine can be too much pressure for some people and result in heightened feelings of stress. Routines can be hard to keep up with! If something disrupts a routine then the result can be feelings of anger, disappointment and even a sense of failure. There is also the risk of becoming obsessed with completing everything.
The potential to lack creativity
A set routine can put too much pressure on a person to do certain things in a certain way. This pressure can definitely zap creativity.
The ability that life has to be so unpredictable
It can be difficult if you follow a set routine to be able to adapt if something happens to throw everything off, which let’s face it, can happen at any time!
The lack of spontaneity
If you end up with too strict a routine it can lead to such a preoccupation that you turn down invitations to go somewhere or see someone. There’s definitely the risk of declining certain things and missing out because of the fear of a disrupted routine.
Personally I don’t think that I’m ever going to be the type of person that thrives on having a routine. Overall it’s just too tedious a lifestyle for me. Having said that, there are definitely perks that come with being a little less ‘go with the flow’.
I suppose the lesson here is to try and meet in the middle wherever possible. Finding a balance between the two will hopefully give a sense of structure without leading to feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I haven’t found that balance just yet but I’ll keep looking.
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What are your thoughts? Do you need routine in your life, or do you prefer to live day to day?
Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!