Book and to do list next to laptop on a desk with a pen

In defense of having a routine and sticking to it


I’m opening this post with the biggest oxymoron ever: I am pragmatic at heart. I have always thought in terms of logistics – how I can get things done and what is manageable/unmanageable within a certain time frame.

At an early age, it was deciding when I went to bed (always around 10.30 on a school or work night) and what time I got dressed on weekends (always before 11am unless I’m allowing myself a lazy day). In recent years it’s been deciding what I want to eat for tea, when to schedule my blog posts and when I’m going to go to the gym.

I love getting all my little “tasks” done in the evening (cooking tea, showering, skin routine etc) before 9pm so that I have around an hour and half to do whatever I want; and that’s the point I’d like to focus on in this post. I don’t love the tasks themselves – I love getting them finished so that, after that, my time is my own.

Whether we like it or not life is filled with crap we don’t want to do. Food shops, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the bathroom and buying toilet roll. But fitting these into a routine that is workable takes away the effort of having to do them.

Having a routine doesn’t make me happy, or giddy, or want to jump for joy. I’m not Monica from Friends who gets excited at the thought of organising everything with her label maker jobs. Having a routine makes me feel calm and when I feel calm I feel more open to fun. Is this a strange statement?

The mentality of a lot of people today makes me feel like it is.

Social media is filled with people who “live in the now” and “don’t think about tomorrow” and while I completely understand, and suffer from, the pull of “fuck it, I’ll worry about it tomorrow” – that pragmatic side of me just thinks “mate, get it done now and it doesn’t ever have to become a worry”.

It’s nice waking up for work with my gym bag already packed and my lunch for the day in the fridge. It means I can focus on more important parts of my morning routine, for example lying in for 10 more minutes.

A routine isn’t as Insta-worthy as a picture of your after work drinks and a time-lapse of me changing my bedding every two weeks would make for a shit YouTube video – but they do happen. The reality is that nobody wants to show the “boring” parts of their life that everyone else wants so badly – and the irony is that without those boring things trundling along in the background, that life would be nowhere near as effortlessly fun or spontaneous as it looks.

Because let’s be real; even the most carpe diem of us still have to put a couple of hours aside every now and then to do the washing. They just don’t put that on Insta.

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