I took September off school, it’s my birthday month and I needed a break after 8 straight months of classes. During this time I experimented with my routine, by not having one. None what so ever, not a Hard Routine, Soft Routine, or Open Routine, nada. Its been an eye opening experience.
Its pretty easy to fill up a whole day if I wanted just by watching TV shows, movies, and the Internet; and I did a lot of all three. But I also socialized a lot, I went out, and I met new people; I talked to friends on the phone and the Skype; I invited my parents to come visit and spent 4 days with them. I kept to all my appointments if I had them, but didn’t really make a bunch of new ones. I went with what ever I felt like doing, sometimes I was very productive; cleaning, laundry, organizing; but more often then not I ended up feeling down, because I had no real direction in my day to day endeavors. And at one point I told my friend, “I think I need a vacation from my vacation.”
Free Time Rules! Or Does It?
Now I originally wanted to dedicate the month to working on business plans; its a positive thing to work on plans for the future. Unfortunately, I didn’t count on everyone I’ve been working with to get extremely busy when I was taking time off school to focus on working with them. I count this as one of those learning experiments; the kinds you never see coming, the kind that smacks you up side the head with the force of a train.
There are some things you can prepare for, and some just happen unexpectedly. What was my back-up plan? I had none, the month just morphed into one huge learning experiment; things went seemingly wrong left and right, people didn’t get back to me, plans I made to socialize went awry, and I felt my self slipping into a strange funky-funk.
Whats The Point Of Routine?
I believe the point of routine is to give ourselves direction. In my life I’ve had lots of routines, ones that were given to me (by a “job”), ones that I’ve taken on (with School), and I’ve experimented with trying my own routines here and there. There are a few basic types of routines, here is what I call them; “hard routines,” “soft routines,” and “open routines.”
“What the heck are those?” you ask. (I know you just thought it.)
Well I am glad you asked!
Types of Routines:
These are like the routines you get from a job, they can be the basic 9 to 5 office work routine, or a mixed bag of this-is-your-fucked-up-schedule-work-when-we-tell-you-or-else retail positions. There are more types that are like this, it is basically someone else telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. If your routine is set by someone else, its hard.
These are routines that you have most of the control over your schedule, but there is still someone who expects something from you at a regular interval. This is like my school, I go online, I have weekly work that must be turned in at the same time and day each week, but I can basically choose when I have time to get this work done throughout the week. I tend to like this schedule. There is still something expected of you to complete and by a certain time and to a certain standard (for me its a grade). This type of routine can work very well in small business or entrepreneurship settings, everyone has weekly expectations that they can choose when, how, and where they will get them done, but must report on them at weekly intervals. There is a softer structure with this routine.
This is the type of routine that no one tells you what to do; there are no expectations, reports, grades, assignments, job duties, and generally very few responsibilities. Maybe you have to take the dog out so he doesn’t pee on the carpet again; and obviously you need to eat, so that’s about all you do (okay, I’m over exaggerating a bit). But if you have no other type of direction, and you can choose however you want to spend your time, it can run a muck on you. However, let me point out that some people can get along very well in this type of routine, because they have expectations for themselves, and they turn their open routine into something that works for them. You have a general list of things you need to get done, and you can do them when and where it suits you best, it really opens up your possibilities.
What To Do
I believe in having balance, I found that I much prefer the Soft Routine, nice and balanced in the middle. I like having things that need to be done, but I like doing them on a more open schedule. I don’t like wasting away in front of the TV, I end up getting bored, antsy, and don’t know what to do with all that pent up energy. I wouldn’t say I was lazy during the month, things did get done, just in a weird-from-my-normal-way-of-doing-things fashion. I’m looking forward to getting back into my Soft Routine with school this month, in fact I have been craving to do schoolwork all last month (I’ve been learning French with Rosetta Stone to help quell that craving ^_^).
What’s The Right Routine?
Finding the right routine for our lives can be an interesting experiment. I now know for sure that in my life right now a Soft Routine is most helpful. Do you know what type of routine your living by? Is it the right routine for you? Try experimenting with something new if you have the ability. You want a routine that will set yourself up for success.
If you want to try a soft routine, here is what I do to make the most of it; my routine is based on a daily, weekly and monthly schedules. There are things that need to be done in each time frame. You can put them into lists, mark them in your calender, I like to use Google’s Calender and you can set things up with recurring times, however you feel is best. You can also use lists, a whiteboard for misc. things to get done, and then everyday when you find the right time, do them. And if you don’t get them all done, you don’t beat yourself up, you just do them the next day. The calender will be like your way to help you remember that certain things need doing. Setting it up this way will help your keep yourself accountable. There are lots of things you can put into your soft routine that wont hold you back from making progress on your goals or your personal life. Have some fun with it!
What routine suits you best, and how does it work for you?
Let me know in the comments below.