I was having lunch at Martine’s house the other day and she told me that she was working on creating more routine in her life. I tend to do things in quite a structured way anyway but, listening to Martine, I did start to think to myself, hmmm, maybe that could work for me as well. So I’ve decided to pass some of her tips on to you. Maybe you’ll find them useful too.
Martine told me that learning to stick to a regular routine is the most important thing. That means getting up and going to bed at the same time every day. Or having a smoothie for breakfast every morning. When things are routine, you don’t have to think about them. They’re fixed moments in your day, that are familiar and create a sense of calm and consistency.
Finish what you’re doing
One tip that really appealed to me was making sure that you always finish what you’re doing. I’m often overflowing with creative ideas. While I’m busy making one thing, I start thinking about another idea and then I begin work on that straight away. The result is a lot of unfinished projects. Sometimes that leaves me feeling quite unsettled. Martine explained that you can create structure in your life by finishing what you’ve started. All those loose ends cause chaos.
You can create more routine in your life by planning recurring activities in your diary. Once you’ve written something down, you don’t have to remember it anymore. Dentist’s appointments, monthly meetings; pop them all in your diary. Then you know for sure that you’ll remember them and the fact that you don’t have to keep the information in your head will make you feel more relaxed.
A place for everything
Another good tip: make sure you keep things in a fixed place. Rob and I have been trying to do this for years. He’s always losing his keys. And his reading glasses. Knowing where things are creates structure.
Martine was most enthusiastic of all about her journal. She writes down three things that she wants to do every morning and that gives her a real sense of satisfaction in the evening. Every evening, she records whether she managed to do those things, and what she learnt that day. It helps her to start the day more mindfully. Taking a moment to think about the day ahead creates stability. And by reviewing her day in the evening, she can see exactly what works well and what doesn’t.