How are you doing? 

I have noticed people asking that question with a lot of sincerity lately. I know I have. It’s a heavy question these days, one that needs to be asked so we all have a chance to express what is in our hearts. I’ve asked that question a million times, and I have meant it, but not like I do lately. I hope you know I care how you are doing.

I wanted to share today something that is helping me as we all adjust to a new, temporary normal. It is not revolutionary, nor is it fancy. It’s routine.

I am all about having spontaneous adventures. I love to bust out of what is expected and listen to my heart. But I cannot do that if I don’t already have a routine. And routines save me.

There are lots of things that are important to me, and I get all kinds of ideas for projects and activities that sound great. And I really hate when a day goes by and I haven’t done some of those really important things, things like spending time with God, exercise, drawing, connecting with people, eating well, maintaining my home, and having play time. I also don’t want to miss new things that may come up on my radar.

Routines help me get most of these things in each day. I had my routines while I was working that served me well, and I was able to consistently get my priorities in. Of course there were things that would pop up to disrupt that (illness, helping someone, bad traffic, a friend calls to meet for lunch), but overall, my life ran pretty smoothly. And I have always been grateful for smoothness.

But now I have a lot more hours to plan for and some restrictions on my choices. I cannot run to the store easily or plan dates with friends. I cannot take this time and spend the day with my daughter and her kiddos, at least not physically. 

Your days may not look very different at all right now. Or they may be even more full with working from home, child care, elder care, or still going to a physical work location and trying to care for others, too. Whatever your life is looking like right now, you can benefit from a routine.

I like routines. For me they bring a sense of power and calmness. I cannot control much, but I can choose how to set up some aspects of my day, and know that within that structure, I can plan to hit on all the things I value. 

My routine is not super formal, It’s not a dead thing that cannot adjust for things that may come up. It’s not set in stone never to be changed. I really don’t like ruts. I like purpose and commitment to myself. I like the accomplishment at the end of the day that comes from hitting all those things that are important. I like to review at the end of the day to reflect on how things went and how I can tweak the next day. I like that I can be happy with myself for taking charge of how I spend my time.

You have your priorities. You know what you think about at the end of the day and the things you wish you had gotten to. And you know the feeling of accomplishment when you did get those good things in. Don’t you want to have that happen more often? 

Tomorrow, I will share some ways others have implemented the practice of routine and having a plan. 

I invite you today to consider the things that are most valuable to you. Make a list and then consider what you need to work around – a job, caring for others, commitments – and just play around with how to get these valuable things into your life more often.

And take care. I hope you are doing well.


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