Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sticking to a Routine Takes a Lot of Dedication

Last week, I talked about the importance of having a schedule if you want to be productive. I explained that I have a general outline for my day instead of a strict itinerary, but I still have an idea of what I want/need to accomplish.

What I didn’t talk about was how I accomplish my routine. It’s one thing to say I have a schedule, but it’s another to adhere to it.

Let’s be honest: if you work from home and you don’t know if/when you’re going to get work for the day, it can be hard to find the motivation to get out of bed.

I’m not a morning person. I’m also not a night owl.


But I’ve been forced to become a morning person. I thank my children and my pets for that. Of course, the kids are slightly better than the pets. They’ll sleep in if I don’t get them up or they don’t set an alarm. The pets will let me sleep for a while, but eventually, they think they need to eat.

Nothing wakes me up faster than the dog who eats poop licking my face.

I hate getting up in the morning. I have chronic back pain, so some days it is physically difficult to get out of bed. I’m the type of person who you really shouldn’t talk to until I’ve had my coffee. And a shower. And a few hours under my belt. I’m pretty cranky.

Since I have to get up in the morning, I’ve developed some routines to make it as easy on me as possible. It doesn’t make me less cranky, but it helps me wake up faster so I can at least talk to people in a civilized manner.

1. When I get out of bed, the first thing I do is open the shades

If the sun is shining through my windows, it helps reset my circadian rhythm and wakes up my brain. Plus, when my room is bright and sunny instead of dark, it makes it less tempting to climb back into bed.

2. I exercise

Being physical and breaking into a sweat helps wake me up. Depending on the day of the week, I rotate between cardiac exercises and weight lifting. This also helps keep me in shape since I spend a lot of time sitting.

3. I take a shower and get dressed

I work from home. No one is ever going to know if I’m still sweaty from my morning workout or if I’ve brushed my teeth. However, by getting ready for the day, I prepare myself mentally for what I have to do. Getting out of my pajamas and into my day sweats (hey, I work from home; I’m not putting on fancy clothes) resets my brain for work mode instead of lounging mode.

4. I schedule a time for lunch

It’s so easy to get engrossed in work and forget to eat—and that’s not healthy. Or, conversely, it’s so easy to not be working and spend most of my day eating—and that’s not healthy either. Sticking to a routine gives me a chance to take a break and get some much needed nutrition.

5. I end my day at a specific time

As I mentioned last week, it’s incredibly important to have boundaries when it comes to working at home. Otherwise, the potential exists to never stop working. Having boundaries gives me a chance to spend time with my family and unwind.


Again, being totally honest, there’s absolutely no reason why I have to follow these steps or develop a routine during the day. As long as I get the work I receive done by the deadline, I could spend the vast majority of my day dirty and sleeping. So why do I have a schedule?

Some days, I don’t know how to answer that question. I like to get things accomplished, and I have a Type A personality so I thrive with routine, but—technically—I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to meet my deadlines. I won’t get more work if I don’t, but work is overrated. Who needs money? There are other ways to get cash, such as selling things or sponging off my spouse.

I would like to tell you I stick so well to my schedule because of dedication. And, honestly, that might be part of it. Some days, it takes a lot to pull myself out of bed to face a day of maybe or maybe not working. It would be so easy to just plop down in front of the TV (or Netflix) and lose myself in shows.

In the end, what will sticking to my routine get me? Well, with a little luck, I’ll get more jobs, which means more money. With enough time, I’ll be able to write more books, which could potentially give me more money. My kids will see that dedication, perseverance, and routine can lead to amazing accomplishments.

There’s no reason for me to stick to my schedule and follow a routine every day. I could easily say screw it and do absolutely nothing and the world wouldn’t care. But I would care. My work and routine gives me meaning and purpose. It might not be making a huge impact on the world, but it makes my existence more meaningful.