Problem: Your routine just isn’t working for you.
Most of us are creatures of habit. We get up every day at the same time to do the same things in the same order, with more or less the same results. I think I just fell asleep even typing that sentence. Is it such a wonder when we get fed up living the real-life version of “Groundhog Day”?
Now, to be clear, I’m the first person to raise a hand in confession that I do cling to a certain amount of routine to survive daily life. A lot of the time, it’s the only way I can survive daily life; by relying on certain things happening in a certain way. If we’re not careful, though, we can end up feeling trapped by the very routine we developed as a tool for maintaining our productivity.
Believe you me, I know how hard it can be to keep from funneling that day-to-day frustration into one giant, dramatic gesture. Many a day I have dreamed from my cubicle of “going on break” and driving off, never to return. But what would an irrelevant gesture like that solve? It would create 99 more problems and I’d still be stuck with my original issue.
Solution: Change things up – a little at a time.
The key is to change your routine piece by piece.
A helpful question: what is it you feel your current routine is keeping you from?
Do you miss your old Netflix binges? Maybe watch a flippin’ episode or two of the show you’ve been ignoring and get your fix. Do you wish you had more time to spend with your S.O./kids/fur babies? Maybe you can move grocery shopping or meal prep or whatever it is to another day of the week to spend more time with them. Are you disappointed you’re not further along than page 24 of that novel you started two weeks ago? Get to flippin’ those pages while you’re on the treadmill, son. Or in place of mindless phone-scrolling.
My point is: remembering that a routine is created by YOU for YOUR own benefit can serve as a reminder that there are no hard and fast rules here. You’re the one calling the shots, so who are you waiting for to make these changes? You can be productive AND and do the things you find enjoyable. Life and your needs will be in a state of constant change, so don’t forget to rearrange your routine accordingly.
Problem: You don’t have as much time as you used to.
I know I’ve been one to make the most well-intentioned plans at the start of the week, fully prepared to kick ass and take names. Then Friday comes back around, dampening my excitement for the weekend by pointing out the utter lack of shit that got accomplished during the past five days.
Or maybe this sounds more familiar: you suddenly find yourself running 10-15 minutes late every morning, even though you get up at the same time and do all your normal tasks. When you get home in the evenings, it feels like you walk in the door, blink, and – what do you know? It’s already time for bed.
You could swear there has been a shift in the time-space continuum that has literally changed the number of hours per day on Earth. It’s the ONLY explanation. Where has the time gone?!
Solution: Be brutally honest with how you are spending your time.
If you’re committed to turning the ship around, this one is hard. I feel your pain here.
I’m willing to bet 99% of the time, the phone is to blame. You’re going to have to hold yourself accountable with exactly how much time you’re playing on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, what-have-you and not actually trying to accomplish anything instead of carrying on with your adulting.
Does your routine need a change? See above. Do you need to set a 10-minute timer so you don’t get sucked into another rabbit hole making you late for work again, or robbing you of time with loved ones? Set the flippin’ timer, then – your phone has one built-in, for the love.
Otherwise, it has to be asked: what are you trying to distract yourself from?
Sitting in feelings of discomfort is not for the weak of heart, rest assured. But sometimes in order to effect real change, it has to be done.
Uncomfortable feelings are not going to simply vanish because you got on Instagram for a couple of hours. More like in your quest to stuff your emotions down, you pissed off your friend or spouse or whoever, because you ignored them all night while they sat right beside you.
I would challenge you to ask yourself: what are you not wanting to feel?
Answer this honestly and you can start to move forward.
Problem: You feel burned out.
You’re doing it: you’re killing it at work, you’re knocking your personal goals out of the park, you’re keeping healthy and you’re getting lots of time with the S.O./kids/fur babies.
But instead of feeling like a red carpet-worthy rockstar deserving of confetti-bombs upon entering a room, you just feel… meh. You push and push to meet all your goals and check all your boxes, but never feel closer to Where You Want To Be.
In fact, you’re not even sure where the hell you’re trying to go anymore.
If you’re looking for permission, you have it. Gather all your devices, lists, and notebooks together in a stack somewhere. Get them out of your face, climb into the big chair or the bed or the couch, whatever a comfortable spot looks like for you, and just. flippin’. rest.
Nobody is meant to put nose to the grindstone (God, I hate that phrase) and gut it out on a constant, daily basis. Who can live like that? Who wants to live like that? Even if what you’re doing is something you enjoy, it won’t be for long if you continue driving yourself into the ground.
Don’t destroy an activity/passion/hobby because you couldn’t set a simple boundary.
Just rest. Do it judgment-free, do it shame-free.
Everyone deserves time to recharge and come back to their best self.