Establishing A Routine
My lack of routine has helped me better understand what I need: a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I move around the world every three months to a new country, new home, new eating habits, work schedule, weekend options, etc. I rarely if ever can create a concrete routine. My students and students around the world struggle the same fate. In colleges and universities, the lack of routine breaks students early and often. NCAA athletics forced me to create and maintain habits to become a successful student-athlete. Even my retired parents also struggle to create and stick to routines, despite having exponentially increased their free hours each day.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Each person needs to determine what type of routine works best for themselves and their priorities. Some people will have monthly schedules to ensure they do what they love x amount of times per month. Others may set the goal of 80%/20% work/play balance. Some aim to get to the gym three times a week. While another group may want to carve out an hour a day to have the personal space to be creative. Whatever it is that you wish out of this life, you need to create time for it. Sit down and think of what you must do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to get what you want. More importantly, figure out what is is that you want. What are your priorities?
What is my priority you may ask?
To function at peak physical, mental and social levels while maintaining an energetic and balanced lifestyle. Further, to inspire my students to find their way of being their best.
Early Bird Catches the Worm
For me, the only way I can attempt to find balance and routine in my hectic schedule is to get up early in the morning to accomplish my daily goals. My lifestyle does not allow for a weekly routine because my weeks vary so drastically. However, I can control my mornings. The greatest part about managing my mornings is that nobody messes with you in the morning because most of the world is asleep. You NEVER have to worry about the impromptu invite from a potential lover, or the guys telling you to join them for a beer to watch the game or the nagging parent call around dinner time. Now, these are all welcomed because you’ve already taken care of your priorities for the day.
Ideally, I would get up every morning around 5 am to knock off one or more of these activities:
stretch, eat, workout, write, read, think, create
I’m pretty good at finding time in the afternoons to exercise because most people find the time to squeeze in the afternoon gym session. You may be wondering about being productive at work, but like most people from 9-5 I am doing nothing but being productive for my company and my students. I do not need to set routines for my professional life, someone else does that for me. I need to gain control of my personal life, which in my opinion is far more important.
Write It Down & Hold Yourself Accountable
Hopefully, by now you’ve realized what some of your priorities are. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. Bruce Lee says,
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.”
You must write your goals down, and hold yourself accountable to dedicate the time to accomplish them. Hang them on your bathroom mirror, on your car dashboard, on your computer monitor. You do this to remind yourself of what is important to you. In my opinion, these goals are just as important as the pictures of family on your desk.
My Sweden Routine
This document lives on my desktop and is also taped on my bathroom mirror. After reading new research about the benefits of sleep on the teen brain, the staff at THINK Global School decided to push our school start time back until 10:00 am. Having a later starting time allows for the students to develop healthy lifestyle routines that will also benefit them in the classroom.
This is a routine I created for my retired father, who is now trying to clean up his golf and tennis game as well as designing and building his dream house in South Carolina. As you can see according to this routine, his priorities are golf and tennis, both learning skills and applying them in matches. He gets so swamped with home repairs and tasks that he never makes time for lessons to learn the things to help him accomplish his goals. Pay attention to the overflow days, because they can be the most important part. Things come up, we all know that. A Wednesday doctors appointment or an important guest may come to town. Be flexible and be stubborn at the same time. If a visitor comes to town you don’t need to wipe your schedule, you need to adapt it but maintain your focus on your priorities. Allow the overflow to flex your schedule.
Writing it down makes it real, it keeps you accountable and helps you share with others what you’ve got going on. Nowadays, we use electronic and digital calendars. If you use something like Google Calendars, be sure to enter your routine into your work schedule. Be certain that you value personal and professional goals and aspirations equally.
I wrote this blog for myself, for my students and for my retired parents to provide some ideas on how we can become masters of our schedules. If you want something, you have to make time for it. Hopefully, this blog can help you re-envision your priorities and give you the tools to create your routine.
Thanks for reading and good luck!