Establishing daily routines

After my earth-shattering reflections on laziness these past couple of days, I recognized for the 100th time that I don’t really live life by routine, and although I’ve survived twelve years of adult life without routine, I’m probably less happy for it. So, last night, after mourning my sunburn and wishing but not wishing that full-body sunscreen was part of my non-existent morning routine, I decided to begin what promises to be a riveting multi-part analysis of what should be routine and why it’s not. Don’t worry…I’ll include cliffhangers.

In no particular order, an ideal daily routine would include the following tasks:

  • exercising
  • getting dressed
  • washing face at morning and at night
  • brushing teeth at morning and at night
  • flossing at morning and at night
  • showering
  • putting worn clothes away properly
  • cleaning cat box
  • putting my used dishes away
  • brushing my hair
  • eating breakfast
  • filling water bottle

I manage to do many of these things most of the time, but it turns out that there’s really only one that I always do every day without fail. Which one? There’s a cliffhanger for you.

But alas, I’m not done with this post yet. I quickly brainstormed why I don’t succeed at doing these things every day, and surprise, the #1 answer was “laziness”…but that’s just because I was being lazy. When I really thought about it, I realized that laziness isn’t a very precise diagnosis, and it certainly didn’t help me construct a solution other than “be less lazy.” So, as happiness lady advises, I made a better attempt to “identify the problem,” and it turns out that, rather than being irreparably lazy, I simply don’t have a clear, constant awareness of why some of these things should be daily priorities, so they aren’t. Sure, I “know” that I “should” do all this stuff, but I think that shoulds without personalized, internalized whys easily become sources of phantom guilt that, rather than provoking change, just haunt you and ruin your life. So, I’m going to give more thought to those whys.

Final thought of the hour: even if I succeed at articulating all the whys, I’m pretty sure that the point of routine is so that you don’t have to think through stuff every time you do it. You just do it because that’s what you do, and your life is mysteriously better for it. I guess I’ve just not been successful at establishing the requisite faith in routine to pursue it unyieldingly. So, that’s really my ultimate goal: to justify that faith so that, someday, I’ll do what needs to be done without having to rethink my priorities every day of my life.

About Sarah

10 years ago, I was a computer science student. 5 years ago, I taught kindergarten. 2 years ago, I trained teachers. Now, I'm a technical writer. I have thoughts about most of these things, but most likely I'll just write about neuroses and why I love Mr. Gatti's pizza. Which might be a neurosis.
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2 Responses to Establishing daily routines

  1. Laura M. says:

    I also struggle with setting up routines. :) But just out of curiosity, why do you floss morning and night? I try to floss every night (and don’t always succeed) but I assumed that I never needed to floss in the morning. Maybe my routine is even more lacking than I thought! ;)

    I’m going to guess that you get dressed every day… I already know that it’s not breakfast!

    • Sarah says:

      Haha…I don’t actually floss twice a day, but I thought *I* was lacking in that regard. I think I always assumed that my wake-up routine should be congruent to my go-to-sleep routine. Jonathan just confirmed your statement, though, so I’m immediately closer to that goal than I realized :)

      In general, flossing is one of those things that I find difficult to be consistent about because I’ve definitely had good streaks and bad streaks, but I can’t make a clear connection between those streaks and my teeth cleaning experiences. So, I need to read some good, terrifying articles about how my gums will erode and my teeth will fall out if I don’t floss every day for the rest of my life. If those articles don’t actually exist, maybe you can write one for me. Your article can also explain why we don’t need to floss in the morning :)

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