On Routines

Friday, May 12, 2017



Let me just say this right away:

I love routines.  I love being able to put things on autopilot and just do them as if by muscle memory.  I love knowing what's coming next so I don't forget important things.

Or, rather, I should say...I love the idea of routines.

In practice, however, I forget I have them.

I know.  It's some kind of Airhead Syndrome.  I've had it since birth.  If something's not right in my face, it no longer exists.  

(Sidenote:  Once, there was this article in some dog magazine about how you can test your dog's intelligence by showing him a treat in your palm, fisting up your hands and switching the hand the treat's in.  You then show your dog your fists and see how long it takes for him to find the treat.  The shorter the time, the smarter the dog, supposedly.

Were I a dog, I would forget we were playing a game and wander off to look at butterflies.  I'm just saying.)

So routines tend to be kind of hit-or-miss with me.

I love them.  I want to have them.  I just don't have the mental wherewithal to come up with them most of the time, since most of my IQ points are at the bottom of the third cup of coffee.

That said, I've been trying for the past year to come up with a morning routine that works.

And to fight my scatterbrain, I had to start writing it out, every day, in my bullet journal.  

Every. Blessed. Day.  For nearly a year.  (Partially because sometimes, I don't remember there's a bullet journal until the end of the third cup of coffee, too.  I know.)

It's not all that impressive, as far as routines go.

  • Get up. (duh)
  • Make coffee. (of course)
  • Make J's lunch.
  • Do any waiting dishes and/or laundry.
  • Write until your brain wakes up.

That's it.  None of that fancy Miracle Morning junk with inspired reading or meditation or -- heaven forbid -- exercise.  I need to be awake for that stuff, or I'll end up running into a tree with my person.

It's even more sad that I have to write it out every day once you see how short and obvious the list is, I know.

That said, it's been the best thing I've done in the past year.

Because it's so short, it doesn't intimidate me.  I don't feel any resistance, which I totally WOULD if that list was any longer/more complicated.  And I give in to resistance all the time, so this is awesome.

I hate doing dishes to an almost pathological degree, so by doing them first thing in the morning, I get to feel all smug and accomplished for the rest of the day.  (The rest of my day, once the Smart comes back on in my eyes, is much more complicated than this, so, y'know, simple victories, et. al.)

The writing part is kind of like morning pages, but without the pretension.  I write in my paper journal for however long I want to.  Sometimes that's a page, sometimes that's fifteen pages.  But I tend to write about what I'm doing that day, which clarifies it and amps me up to do it, and on days when I don't write it out, I get way less done.  

There's something to be said for simplicity.

Sometimes, I think I want to add more to this list.  Walk the dog first thing,  or draw something.  Something less brain-dead.  

But the fact is: my tiny little routine is good for me.  I don't need more than that to launch off into my awesome days.  And I'd rather be too sparse with it than overly complicated.

Simple is best.

What do you guys do every day?  Do you have a routine, formally established or not?

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© G O * E X P L O R I N G Maira Gall.