The Case for Routine

When I was young and stupid, I used to think routine was horrible. Now, that I’m not as young and slightly less stupid, I’m starting to see the value in routine.

But Routine is So Boring!

This was my thought while in College. It was easy to believe that then. Especially as life thrust me into the social justice/non-profit world where routines are myth.

But, I had the energy for it. I thrived on the hectic schedules.

We need to plan an action in DC? Book me the flights and I’m there.

There’s a group in Florida planning mass civil disobedience and we need to help them for a few weeks? I’m all for it, I can live out of my suitcase for that long.

This was my life after college, for a good 4 years. Long story short: I burned out, and decided to pursuit something I felt passionate about, unrelated to my immigration status.

The change of pace was welcome, but it wasn’t enough. Something was still wrong. I didn’t know how to set routine. I was trying to live the same way, with chaos, uncertainty, lack of structure.

Once I realized this, the solution seemed simple:

Schedule Everything!

NOTE: I should add a screenshot here of what my calendar looked like.

It was a bit much.

I scheduled everything:

  • Getting up
  • Morning meditation
  • Prepping Gym bag
  • Prepping food
  • Commute to Gym
  • Gym
  • Shower
  • Commute to office
  • …work stuff
  • Commute home
  • Dinner
  • Reading
  • Power Down Routine
  • Sleep

Any deviation from this strict regimen resulted in me feeling massively annoyed with myself, and I’m sure with those around me. Not good.

I fell into the trap of too much routine. I suppose either extreme can be problematic.

Currently, I live somewhere in the middle. I have stuff on my calendar, but it’s flexible. I consider it a best case scenario day. I do have some non-negotiable, which I learned from Marie Forleo.

Finding Balance

Now I find myself needing to recommit to some non-negotiables. My morning routine has suffered, mainly because my routine still hasn’t recovered from a move and new job. So here’s what I’m thinking for my non-negotiables:

  • Morning meditation
  • Some sort of physical exercise (Hello 7 minute workout)
  • Reading/Journal (I do these together)
  • Shower

Four things isn’t too much right?

If you are one of the few that made it this far, I’d like to know from you:

What routines have worked for you?