I Thrive in Routine
For years, I had no idea the detriment I was putting on my body and mind by living in a constant state of doing more. I willingly walked into situations that demanded more energy and allowed them to take my most valuable asset: time. As a result, my day-to-day was completely off the rails. I had this constant state of availability that had no boundaries. It felt right during the heat of the season, but little did I know it would trigger burnout as I’ve never experienced before.
I finally hit a breaking point and decided I needed to get back on track by saying no to certain engagements and prioritizing my schedule. What previously seemed like a boring life—stale with predictability and rigidness, has proved to bring freedom I never knew was possible. I found the benefits of a standard routine, discovered how much I thrive in it, and how I desperately need to make it a top priority for my overall health.
While I’m quick to wake up, I’ll admit I typically spend a fair amount of time in bed each morning. First, the sun wakes me up (our bedroom faces East, and we don’t have blinds). Then, I usually spend an hour of a combination of talking with my wife, reading the news, the verse of the day, and responding to messages from my team. Some may cringe, and I’m sure “experts” will argue that having your phone (or any device) in bed is terrible for you; it probably is, but for this season of my life, I don’t mind it and don’t have any shame in admitting I do it.
I take the same shower, put on the same clothes (my rotation of outfits are pretty slim), and eat the same breakfast. It’s all a routine. While I don’t have a perfect science of its timing, the routine each day is pretty well the same. I get work done; I talk with my wife (a lot), take breaks, bike rides, watch a TV show, have a snack, read things, sit and think. There are a few more activities in the rotation, but I’ll be honest and admit the list isn’t extravagant nor lengthy, and I like it that way. Of course, the schedule is never perfect, and the order isn’t always the same, but when the day is over, I usually have completed the same tasks as I did the day before.
Over the past year, I moved to Florida, started working from home full time, and didn’t have anything on my plate besides work and family. Having a chance to become aware of my surroundings has provided me the freedom to craft a daily routine. Most weeks, I work every day, and most weeks, it doesn’t bother me; I love (most of) what I do and following much of the same routine on a repetitive basis helps me overall. As time goes by, my routine becomes more refined, and my mind/body appreciates it.
Benefiting from boundaries
A lot of what I do at work involves thinking about problems. How to solve them. The impacts of decisions made around them for the company and the team, myself included. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of it can very easily and quickly create debilitating stress, which I continue to fight. However, I’ve concluded that I can use the boundaries of my daily routine to keep everything aligned. Stress is one of those things that does everything it can to push and prod you outside of your comfort zone or area of safety. My routine combats stress by keeping the good parts of my life locked in on autopilot and gives the lousy parts plenty of opportunities to exit. Throughout the day, stress is flushing out naturally because I deliberately include activities that expel it, whether it be a physical activity like a bike ride or swimming in a pool; or a mental detox, like taking a moment of prayer or sitting with my wife under a blanket watching our favorite TV series.
Staying on track
I follow a routine because it keeps me aligned. It grounds me. It helps me not get caught up in the little things or the big things. You could say my life is boring, but right now, I love it. At the end of the day, I get to do the most important things to me and share them with those whom I love.