I’ve talked before about how I’m a person who needs routines. The stability of routines is a comfort to me, but I often find it hard to follow a routine. It was easier when I had a full-time job, because the job itself required routines – you had to show up on time, lunch was a scheduled time, you went home at a scheduled time. Since most of my day was scheduled for me, life was somewhat easier.
For many years I was a stay-at-home mom, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity. I only work part-time now, and I’m finding it more difficult, especially as my kids get older, to find a routine that works for me.
When my kids were younger, their days consisted of routines (mostly because of school), so it was easier to stay on track, especially when I was also working full-time. Once I wasn’t, and they were older and able to take more responsibilities themselves, I found myself with time on my hands and no idea what to do with it.
Well, that’s not strictly true. I had things I wanted to do, I just couldn’t seem to make myself do them. I mean, I wasn’t working, I wasn’t tied to a job routine, so my day could be whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, that usually meant my day was either spent mindlessly in front of the TV or reading. Now, I don’t consider the time spent reading a waste, but I certainly wasn’t getting anything else done – cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. You know – all those things that make your household run smoothly.
For the past few years, I’ve had a part-time job and that has helped. The days that I work I am forced into a routine. However, that still leaves me with much of the week unscheduled and unstructured, and usually me bored out of my mind. Boredom is bad for me for many reasons – I eat when I’m bored, I get overwhelmed with all the things I think I should be accomplishing, and that kind of thinking sends me a downward spiral.
Finally, I hit that wall. You know the one – where you finally decide enough is enough and you have to get off your lazy bum and get something done. Determined to find a way to force myself into a routine, I tried a variety of things. I tried the Fly-Lady method – which is great, but just doesn’t work for me. I tried making lists (I’m a list-maker from way back). I tried Bullet Journaling. I couldn’t stick with any of them.
I have a ton of empty journals – because I love analog writing. You remember that, right? With an actual pencil or pen and paper? But I never seemed to stick with writing in journals either. I decided to try something different. Instead of a never-ending to-do list that only ever seemed to get longer, no matter how much I did, I decided to do it backwards.
I would keep track of things I’d done, but only after I’d done them. Which sounds kinda crazy, now that I’m writing it down. But so far, it’s working! At the end of the day, instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t get to, I can see all the things I did. I’m still not accomplishing as much as I want to with this method, but I’m certainly accomplishing more than I used to, which is the goal, so I’m going to call this one a win!