(Here’s a refresh on routine while I take a month’s break. Thanks!)
Do you identify with my friend, former procrastinators? She said, “My management style is to whack the alligator closest to the boat.” Love that! Hate that. What an apt description. We really don’t want it to describe us. So we’re changing! Not as many ‘gators or as much whacking as there used to be.
Her statement describes what happens when we procrastinate. We put off choosing the best waters to navigate, we find ourselves surrounded by demands we haven’t taken care of, we desperately need relief, and the best we can do is try to knock out the biggest threat at the moment.
Routine helps us avoid the alligators. It’s an excellent means of directing our ways. (Psalm 119:4-5.) Routine helps us do what needs doing when it needs doing – the most important things that keep our boat afloat.
Routine is also a hard thing for me to maintain. I think of good plans more easily than I stick with them. Yet routine brings accomplishment and relief to me and the family. So I focus on those benefits and hang in there. I’m always glad.
There are two major areas where I need the help of routine: 1) in the “ordinary” things of everyday life (brush teeth, cook dinner) 2) in fulfilling other particular callings (volunteer work, writing). Both require regular, deliberate attention applied routinely. These help me:
- A morning routine is especially important. It sets the tone for the day. I’m up earlier than my husband which affects what I do, but can’t use as an excuse. First, stretches (makes going downstairs easier), devotions, write 30 minutes, breakfast.
The key is to get up early enough to meet with the Lord (if that’s your time) and do what’s necessary to get yourself grounded and ready to face the day before everybody else is up or the boss calls. Follow the same pattern every day.
- Evening routine can set us up for better rest. I’ll prepare for bed earlier so I have more reading time in bed. (Sleep comes more readily.)
- In between are the many tasks of the day. Some like to schedule specifically. I like to designate blocks of time. (2-4 pm varied household projects or start dinner at 5.)
- Factor in margin. Don’t schedule tightly; leave wiggle room.
- Build weekly needs into your routine. (Bed changes, grocery shopping)
- Seek the Lord about claiming time. Don’t count on opportunity. Opportunity for personal devotions or family dinner may never show up. Set self aside, determine what’s best, and lay claim to that time.
We avoid alligator-infested waters by tending to things early – which routine helps us do. Fewer ’gators come snapping at our boat. The term paper, the meal for friends, the half marathon all get done in the course of routine.
Routine helps us be steady and consistent in spite of interruptions and missteps. Over time things become automatic. We can stop whacking at alligators and move purposefully and more peacefully through our days.
What morning routine will you set up? What items in the day will you make routine?