I remember one time agreeing that a particular colour looked great in a photo. I was then up ‘til the wee small hours of the morning, for the next fortnight, repainting the lounge.
Having learnt from this experience, I know sometimes it is best to lead with another question. However, several questions and some cautious probing later it turned out she was really seeking my opinion around routines. I have to say after that question, and a little more reading about “Decluttering” and establishing segments of calm in a family world, I realised how important routines are to me, and those around me.
In our family there are many routines. We have a dinner time routine, which I have to say I really enjoy. We have a routine for bed, children’s that is as I am still working on mine. For going to school, for reading books, for starting and ending stories, for jumping out of bed. In fact when we started to discuss it we realised we had many routines, embedded across our lives.
The interesting thing was not that they were there; it was where they were and how important they were in helping us each day. It would seem having these little bastions of consistency provides opportunities to reset ourselves. They allow us to refocus or simply get started with things without masses of energetic outlay.
Routines are part of the canvas and backdrop upon which we are able to create the masterpiece that is our lives. They are woven into the very fabric of what and how we tackle, move through, and then conclude each day.
As a result of my wife’s question I spent a bit of time looking at some of the discussion around routines. People have all sorts of different routines, some bordering on superstitions, but they are everywhere.
These little pieces of regularity ensure that we don’t have to start every day a new, then try and discover what to do. They help us to avoid the need for “Fifty First Dates,” constantly, in everything we do. They also mean we don’t need to use quite so much mental bandwidth, because often we are following the same routine.
As a result routines also offer security. Our routines create some idea of what each day will contain before it starts and provide a place of safety when we need a little mental space.
But what happens to routines and us when we need to make a change? Often it is the possible impact of a change on these consistencies in our lives that can create one of the principle drivers to resist. Yet they can and will end up being a key part of our survival, providing a foundation from which to fully integrate the change and find a place to excel.
During changes these little pockets of consistency are where we can find respite from all the busyness around us. They are where we could literally breathe in and in those in breaths we can slow down, catch up a little and start adjusting to our new circumstance.
So when adapting routines are critical. We need to think which ones we can keep, what new ones we will need and how or where will we build them. It is often about taking what we already do and modifying it slightly.
Once we have started this process of routine recovery we have the basis for re-establishing our world and dealing with all that has changed. We can then build out from there.
So holding on to parts of what we do and possibly have always done can be a critical step in finding our way in a new world. The important piece can be in learning and knowing which routines to keep and which to change. For just as our lives change so do our routines. We must adapt them to new circumstance as we move forward, holding on to what works and gently shedding what is not needed.
The importance of routines in our daily lives has been known for a long time. Lots of people have quite strong routines that work well even as their lives are shifted. What routines do you have? How do they support you as you live and work? When things around you are in a state of change, how do routines help? We would like to hear your views, drop a comment below or simply tell us if this has been of use to you. We look forward to getting your feedback…