Restoring Order

Bill Abbate

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What a chaotic world we live in today. So much uncertainty. The economy, inflation, shrinking paychecks, shortages, conflicts, wars, and more. Is it possible to find and restore order in our lives?

Let's explore a way to take our lives back.

"Your future is found in your daily routine. Successful people do daily what others do occasionally!" Paula White (1966-present)

Routines and the value of structure

With so much unpredictability today, one of the significant issues impacting us is the disturbance of our routines. Who doesn't like a good routine? They help create order and provide other benefits in our lives.

But what do you do when your routines are in jeopardy? When something or someone threatens or affects them. You lose the order they create, which can shake you to the core.

Most of us like some amount of predictability in life. When something disturbs a daily routine, stress can set in. While there are good and bad stresses, this is one we would rather do without!

Imagine life without the structure a good routine provides. Talk about chaos!

"Most people can't handle a structureless life." Douglas Coupland (1961-present)

Routines serve us in many ways. One of the most important aspects of a good routine is its structure can reduce anxiety and stress. Routines are calming because they help us know what to expect, which can mean less strain and struggle.

Think about a typical daily routine. Waking up, working out, morning coffee, breakfast, driving to work, interacting with colleagues, going to lunch, finishing the afternoon, heading home, dinner, bedtime, and sleep. Repeat. Because of its structure, we can do this daily routine with little forethought and effort, day after day, year after year, decade after decade. Perfect days interweaved with imperfect days.

Yes, routines, regardless of size, can serve you well. They can provide that assurance for what happens next, helping you to remain productive and create good habits.

Without routines, life would be far more challenging. With them, we have far more order in our life.

"Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it." Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

When things change

Change must occur when something in life interferes with or alters our routines.

Many things can make for a bad day, disrupting our routines. Things like waking up late, weak coffee, running out of eggs or milk, a traffic jam on the way to work, getting to the office late, and another rush project added to your already full plate. You skip lunch, leave late, traffic is terrible, dinner is cold, and you don't get a good night's sleep. Hopefully, the next day will be better!

The disruption of a routine can make you anxious, upset, and possibly shut down. In today's age of uncertainty, disruptions are becoming more frequent. No person alive escapes changes in their routines.

While some people like to shake things up and embrace change, they are the exception and not the rule. Most people do not like and do not want anything to change. And this is never more true than when someone or something forces change on us.

Ideas to cope with change

Let's look at a few ideas you can use to cope with changes in your routines.

Idea #1

An immediate thing you can do is to bring some peace into your life by finding time to quieten your mind. Mindfulness and meditation can dramatically affect your well-being, health, and capacity to get things done during the day.

There is a huge volume of online information and numerous mindfulness and meditation practices. If this subject interests you, you will find it worthwhile to learn and incorporate mindfulness and/or meditation into your life for their many benefits.

If you would like to stick your toe in the mindfulness water, check out this brief article: You Can Embrace a New Life Perspective

Idea #2

Realize the disruption to your routine may be temporary. Eventually, things will return to normal, or you will have established a new and possibly better routine. Accept what has happened, and you will likely bring peace back into your life.

Idea #3

Embrace the change! See it as an opportunity to learn and grow. If you are like me, there may be times when you prefer some chaos and creating a new normal!

To uncover some ideas to embrace change in your life, read this short article: Embrace Change to Live Your Best Life

Idea #4

Create new routines or modify existing routines to replace those that have been changed or lost. To learn more about how you can create and modify routines, check out this brief article: Using Routines to Create a Better Life

Example

With so many people working from home today, let's look at how a new routine can benefit you if you are one of them.

Name it

First name the impacted routine. There is power in naming anything in life. When you name something, you put yourself in a position to be separate or independent. You can then look at and examine it. You change from being subject to it and make it an object you can think about and investigate.

Without naming it, it can remain hidden in your unconscious mind, and you will be unaware of its effect on you.

With the eroding five-day-a-week at the office routine, let's name this routine "Getting to Work." This routine also impacts several subroutines.

For years your routine was waking up, exercising, showering, having breakfast with coffee, and driving to work, arriving at a certain time.

Now you find yourself without a regular work schedule for one or more weekly days. This may not be the best thing to happen when it comes to being productive.

You get up a little later and are not as rushed as before, yet you still find pressure in the lack of a routine. Not having this "Getting to Work" routine can affect your morning and day. Your productivity may plummet, and you may not feel like working at times. You think, "Why rush? I have all day." But you feel off balance.

How do you restore balance, productivity, and the loss of routine to keep things in shape? You have at least three options. You can modify the existing routine, create a new routine, or eliminate the routine altogether. Since the last option is unrealistic for most of us, and creating a new routine is somewhat self-evident, let's look at how you can modify the routine to work better.

Start by waking up at your regular time, working out, then having breakfast with some coffee. All is as normal so far. Let's say the drive to work was 30 minutes. What could you do with that time? Why not start a routine to fill it?

For example, you could use it to do some reading or research on work-related things. Imagine the cumulative effect of 30 minutes daily, five days a week, and what you could learn. In a month, this is more than ten solid hours of learning. Do you think that could help separate you from the crowd, considering most people invest little or no time in themselves? Of course it will.

Or you may want to start another routine to fill this time. What would work best for you? I am sure you can come up with plenty of others to use the "drive time" productively.

Use technology

Let's say you usually get to the office by 8:00. Why not schedule a Zoom or Skype call with a colleague, your boss, team, or someone else each morning at 8:00? Or schedule a call each workday at the same time to touch base with someone.

Since you normally wear work attire daily, get dressed as you usually do when going to the job. If you're the boss, require everyone to do so. No pj's, sweats, or workout clothes allowed.

By adding this structure to your life and everyone else's, you create something you and they can grab hold of. You create a new normal that brings order into the world. This order will help everyone feel responsible and even sane again. It will add calm and security back into your lives.

You can apply this method or some variation to other disrupted routines. Doing so will create the structure and order we humans need to feel valued and purposeful.

"A daily routine built on good habits and disciplines separates the most successful among us from everyone else. The routine is exceptionally powerful." Darren Hardy (1971-present)

Final thoughts

What other routines can you name in your life? Some of the more critical routines are readily apparent. You can always look at your "daily routine," "at work routine," "at home routine," "weekend "routine," "workout routine," "dinner routine," "travel routine," "family time routine," or "church routine." What others can you name? Many routines include smaller sub-routines that can also be named.

Sounds like programming, doesn't it? In a way, it is. It is part of the programming of your life. Pretty important, don't you think? Without a program, what good is a computer? Without a routine, what good is life?

I challenge you to find at least one routine in your life affected by the many changes in the world and do what is needed to restore some order!

I leave you with the wise words of a highly successful, well-known songwriter and author:

"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine." Mike Murdock (1946-present)

What will your daily routine lead to in your future?

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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