The Sustainable Life: On Routines

As someone who is voluntarily self-employed, I’ve never been a big fan of routines. I associate routine with being trapped in a boring office watching the clock and mindlessly waiting through my life making cups of tea and clicking refresh on my inbox. But routines don’t have to be boring!

Routines can be an important touchstone to help ground and sync you. Doing the same thing regularly, daily can help build a frame of time around the other less cohesive elements of your life.

These repetitions over time don’t need to be dreaded or even beneficial in themselves, simply repeating the same ritual over time can give you some of the benefit of a routine.  If you are like me and are resistant to the idea of routine try some short and innocuous routine you won’t avoid or stress out over to get comfortable with the idea of routine. This year I hope to build from some of these smaller routine try-outs to bigger routines that are beneficial in themselves.

Here are some ideas for little routines I have started trying to incorporate into my daily life to get some of the benefits of living consistently.

A line a day

Journalling is an awesome practice. If you have any inclination to write, you probably should start by writing a journal. As someone who knows this, and herself occasionally writes, I should take my own advice but the consistency of this practice sets my procrastinatory impulses on fire and in my heels dig. So I’ve started with a line a day. I have a log book which physically limits me to a single line everyday. I keep it out and every evening I pick it up and write captain logs style a single line about the day. Sometimes its just a word. I’m not concerned about what I’m writing and it is a negligible task even for my super procrastinatory spirit, the point is to get in the routine of doing it everyday.

Pouring a Cup of Water

I have read and heard from various health related info portals that starting your day with a glass of water or even better a hot cup of water with lemon helps various aspects of being alive. I buy it and figure it can only help even if its only helping by hydrating me with one of the most essential elements of life. This fact in itself has not persuaded me to stick to this ritual. Something about downing a whole glass of water than seems daunting some mornings. Once I miss a day on grand plans like these I often throw in the towel. But this is not about doing things that benefit you directly, this is about doing things routinely to build a tiny vibration, a pattern of life from which you can launch. So I have altered this routine for now to simply be pouring a cup of water with lemon each morning as soon as I enter the kitchen.

Sunday Night’s Plan for the Week 

Being self-employed Sunday nights are not blackened by the same cloud of unfortunate resistance they once were. In fact, once The Walking Dead comes back they will in fact be greatly anticipated evenings. This one’s a little bigger of a task but its weekly and the key is its during a window of time each week where I’m usually floating. On Sunday’s after big family gatherings, I hang around late to watch the aforementioned Walking Dead with my mom, one thing I got into the inadvertent habit of doing in this nebulous window after my brother’s took their children home to bed before the 9pm showtime was roughly planning my week ahead and writing out tasks and goals for each day. These are generally vague notes of which yoga classes I want to try to make, which days I will make runs to the post office, lists of supplies I need to gather and maybe a blog post title I want to work on at some point. I am not strict about any of these goals and rarely stick to the schedule in full… sometimes I loose my master plan before Monday morning but still sitting down for 10 minutes and thinking about the not-so distant future me is a weekly routine I can handle. Sometimes it escalates into full scale apartment cleaning and project set-up but most of the time its a post-it with a few bullet points.

Keep it small and be consistent, thats what I’m after here.