- Date : 27/04/2020
- Read: 6 mins
Having a healthy routine in place is a significant part of self-care, especially during the coronavirus lockdown.
According to some theoretical physicists, time is an illusion. Yet, society has, since ancient times, organised time as centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, hours, minutes, and seconds. It’s probably because such organisation and standardisation allow humans to orient their minds, ground themselves to reality, and relate to each other.
On a personal level, that’s exactly what a routine does. Ask any successful person and they will tell you that having a routine is one of the key factors to achieving anything. Now, with the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, it’s especially important to remember how routine can help. Let’s take a closer look:
1. It builds habits
The daily choices you make aren’t really choices – it's your brain going back to what you subconsciously have been doing regularly in the past. The key to building habits is to consistently keep doing them over and over until they become so ingrained in your brain that you need no determination or will power to accomplish them. Just as your brush your teeth every morning without having to think twice, you can build other long-term habits as well.
2. It reduces planning
People who have tried meal planning swear by it. Planning meals on a weekly basis means you don’t have to think about what to cook daily or wonder if you have the right ingredients. It makes cooking meals and shopping for groceries faster, easier, and more convenient. That’s exactly what a routine does for various aspects of your life. If you have a routine in place, you don’t have to wake up and think, ‘Now what should I do today?’ You know exactly what needs to be done and you can get down to it.
3. It builds momentum
Have you noticed that on the days you get a few tasks done, you feel motivated to do more? Whereas on lazy days when you don’t do anything at all, you’re often unable to finish even the smallest chore. That’s all because of momentum. When your mind and body are productively engaged, you can tackle a bunch of things well. A routine helps you get that momentum on a daily basis.
4. It kills procrastination
When you have a routine in place, and you’ve already done all the planning and prioritising, your mind is very clear on what is to be done and why. You also know that if you skip or delay one thing in your routine, all other things will also get delayed and the situation can get messy. So, you’ll want to avoid procrastinating at all costs and get everything done as planned.
5. It frees up time
If you’ve known someone who manages to have a great social life, get enough sleep, be productive at work, and still have time for hobbies, you may have wondered how they do it. It’s very likely they have a solid routine in place. When you block time for things, don’t procrastinate, and have everything pre-planned, you’ll find that ‘busy’ is no longer your life’s status and you can actually fit in things you enjoy doing – such as reading a book or baking a batch of cookies.
6. It reduces stress
When you have everything figured out and all the important tasks scheduled, your mind doesn’t need to constantly keep wondering how to get stuff done. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting any of the important things. This helps your mind relax and be calm since you’ll feel in control.
7. It helps achieve goals
Whether it’s losing weight, learning a new language, or taking up a side gig to have another source of income, goals can be met if you stick with a daily routine. Practice makes perfect, remember? Goals are long-term in nature and so the work required to meet them is also long-term. Having a routine makes it easier for you to achieve success by meeting your goals.
8. How to set a routine
Setting a routine is important. This is even more relevant with the coronavirus lockdown. It will ground you to reality, remove anxiety about all the uncertainty, and help you stay positively engaged rather than thinking negative thoughts. When in self-quarantine, having a lockdown routine in place will help you not lose hope and maintain a semblance of normalcy in your life.
There are a few basic things you need to remember to set a routine – right now during the pandemic and even in general.
Make a list
Jot down everything you have to do on that day. Spare ten minutes for this in the morning or the previous night. Make sure you include all things you wish to do that day; not just your work tasks, meetings, and deadlines. The list can include home errands, social commitments, exercise, etc. Keep a dedicated journal for this and carry it everywhere. You could also do this on your phone, but the joy of striking things off a to-do list is best experienced on paper.
Once you have your daily to-do list in place, you must block time for the tasks on it. For the first few weeks you will have to experiment and see what works best. It’s important that when you’ve blocked time for a certain task – say, cooking a meal or making a personal budget – you don’t do anything else. Distractions should be kept to a minimum and you shouldn’t let other tasks take over your mind.
When making your list and scheduling your tasks, it’s natural to feel motivated and get carried away. You must bear in mind that the mental and physical energy and motivation required for executing a task is significantly more than when you’re simply planning it. Also, remember that building healthy habits can take time, so you shouldn’t become impatient or lose hope easily.
You’ll stick to your routine only if it’s something you enjoy. That’s a truth many people ignore. If you jot down ten tasks you dislike or find difficult to do in a week, you’re not going to do it. Don’t look at what others are doing; think about what’s most suitable and enjoyable to you. For instance, when it comes to exercise, maybe you’ll enjoy doing yoga at home more than lifting weights at the gym.
On some days, you may not be able to stick to your routine. That’s okay as long as you bounce back the next day and don’t give up. Success, healing, and productivity are not linear – there will be many setbacks. Besides, newer, more urgent tasks might come up on some days, so you’ll have to be flexible enough to accommodate them and push certain things on your list for later.
With the coronavirus pandemic looming over us, we must remember not be too hard on ourselves. This is important for our well-being and mental health. Be sure to balance productivity with relaxation! Read this to know an effective way to look after your mental health and well-being during COVID-19.