I am not one for strict schedules, routines, appointments, and planners. I usually push back against these things when I set them for myself or when they are set for me. It is essentially setting myself up to feel like I have failed if I do not get to everything. I know these things are great for some people, but they haven’t worked for me long term in the past. However, since having Theodore, I now realize the importance of setting intention through a loose routine.
When setting a loose routine, I think it is important to keep a few things in mind…
Give yourself grace. You are likely not going to mark every item off your to-do list when you are balancing being a mom, wife, friend, entrepreneur, etc. It is important to remember you are not going to run out of time. At the end of the day, you will still have tomorrow. And if you miss a deadline, it is not going to be the end of the world. If you get caught in a cycle of negativity or worry about not finishing something, meeting a deadline, or making someone else happy, go out and get some perspective. Read a chapter of a book, take a walk, have a good conversation with a friend. Remember the important things in life and you are likely to be easier on yourself.
Don’t be too specific. For example, if you are trying to add working out into your schedule or trying to drink more water every day, do just that. You don’t have to be so specific as to say “I will work out 3 days this week”. Just give yourself the goal to work out one day. Likely, you will enjoy it and want to do it again. Same with drinking more water. Don’t say “I will drink 50 ounces of water every day.” Instead, give yourself the goal of drinking more water. Keep a glass filled next to you. If you don’t touch it once during the day, whatever! It’s okay to set goals for yourself and not “have” to meet them. Who is keeping track and being hard on you but yourself? And you have the power to go easy on yourself, because you are awesome for trying.
Make it fun. Just because you are an adult, doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Even the mention of words that are super structural can cause anxiety in me. Because of this, I am choosing to call my “routine” a “daily flow” instead. How peaceful does “daily flow” sound? I also think it’s important to add something light hearted or enjoyable into your flow. On busy days that may mean, spend some extra time washing your face! Use a special oil or product! On other days it could be living room yoga, searching for pinterest inspiration, or just making something new. While a lot of my flow is probably going to be filled with things like production, shipping, and e-mailing, I can find a good 5-10 minutes to do something that I enjoy.
Don’t compare. Some people love keeping a planner, some people hate it. Some people love setting specific goals for themself, for some it adds stress. We are all so different! It’s a really beautiful thing to recognize that. If you see someone on social media who has met a goal, be happy for them! And I mean genuinely happy. Try not to immediately compare yourself. We all know the feeling… you see someone else in a similar field or doing something you know you could do, and jump to feeling lesser about yourself. But I want to challenge you to do something different. Change the narrative. The next time this happens to you, recognize that feeling. Even welcome it. Then take some time reflecting on why you are having that feeling. Chances are, it has nothing to do with the other person at all. And you really are happy for them. It usually has something to do with personal insecurities. But taking some time to reflect on why you are having a negative reaction or feeling can help you to see what’s really going on there, work through it, and release it.
Again, people are different. This approach may not work for you and is likely pretty specific to my personality type (Meyers Briggs INFJ & Enneagram 9/2 for those interested). Based on how we are taught in grade school and college, this actually seems like the minority approach. However, I am finding it helpful and if you haven’t been able to relate to the majority approach, maybe you will find it helpful also. I am currently working on my work “daily flow” and will share the specifics when I feel it is more tested, solid and useful. What about you, what approach do you take? I am interested in hearing different strategies!