• Dr. K

My Routine is Chaos

Routines. A word that is feared by some and embraced by others. Which is it for you? Do you follow a strict routine for yourself whether it be at home or at work, or are you someone who thrives in chaos? I'm a behaviorist so of course I am going to say that everyone is different, and people need to find what works for them. I am also human and believe there is no amount of thriving that can promote chaos in my life. Sure, there are times when something does not go as planned and I need to be flexible. I can plan for those sorts of things, but I cannot plan to just let each day and week go by without some form of structure or routine. I know some people who say they enjoy the “not knowing” of each day and appreciate being surprised at how well they adjust to things when they are not in a routine. My follow up question for them always surrounds how accomplished they feel at the end of the day or the week. That tends to get the perplexed “well what do you mean?”.

Here is the thing about routines. They involve some level of planning to ensure that things go the way you want them to. When you set a plan into motion there is usually a goal associated with it, and whether that goal is maintaining your sanity at the end of the day, or keeping your children alive, you will feel accomplished if you have achieved either of those two. I find in my conversations and research that the individuals who do not follow a routine are prone to feelings associated with little to no self-satisfaction, and they often remark that they hadn’t had any time for themselves during the day. Bingo! That is the moment the lightbulb goes off.

I don’t thrive in routines because I “need” them to get out of bed each day. I thrive on them because it allows me to structure a “plan” for the day or week that incorporates some “me time.” The secondary benefit of routines and structure is that you maintain some level of control over the day (unless something throws it off), and even if you are knocked out of your routine you’ve displayed enough discipline to attempt to get back on track or just ride the wild horse until its’ time to go to bed.

If you’re someone who has routines and thrives from them, think about a day when your day did not start off with your typical routine. How did you feel? Were there feelings of frustration associated with this? The answer tends to be “yes.” We become frustrated when things do not process in the way in which we desire. There will be moments where you can regain that routine, and it may create some work for you, but you can adjust accordingly and get back into things during the day. Now, if you are someone who does not appreciate routines, I want you to think about one day this week ahead of time and attempt to structure some sort of routine for yourself. Once the day goes by maintain your commitment to this and measure how you feel at the end of the day and note if you feel you accomplished anything.

I would love to read your comments about what type of “person” you are, and how it benefits you and your family. Again, there is no right way to live your days. It all depends on the person you are and what you are focusing on throughout the day.


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