I always feel better when I stick to a routine. Getting Things Done points out that if you are recording things you need to do rather than remembering this frees up space to be creative. I’m inclined to think that routine is the same. It’s much easier to go to bed at the same time (so you’ll go to sleep), have a tidy house stocked with reasonable supplies. And answer mail and telephone calls in a timely manner.
Whenever I slip from the routine I find that in addition to job lists going undone I eat badly, get less sleep and have a home that needs rather a lot of tidying up. If I’m under pressure I’d like to be able to cook a wholesome meal when I get home late. And get into bed knowing that I have clean clothes for the morning. The alternative is eating some random collection of food, sprinkling crumbs in the floor because there are no clean plates. Followed by failing to sleep because I keep recalling things that need to be done urgently. Then waking up wondering when I’ll find time to buy stamps.
In the summertime
Theoretically summer should be so much easier for keeping to a routine because everything is easier in summer. It’s light earlier so it’s easier to get out of bed. Loads of vegetables and fruits are in season making good eating choices easy. Meals don’t have to be warming and hearty. Clothing is lighter. Laundry dries quicker. Sunshine seems to put people in a better mood. Lunch in the park is a possibility.
By comparison winter (cold, dark, heavy clothes, limited in-season vegetables, and the distraction of Christmas) seems a much more challenging time for a routine. However, maybe it’s because I need the joy of routine in winter that I find it much easier.
In summer, distractions proliferate. You stay up later because it light or warm. It’s much nicer to linger over a cup of tea and a book with sunlight playing across the pages when you can do it in a light dressing gown (or maybe in the garden) rather than consuming hot tea before layering clothes to keep you toasty.
A stew, chilli or soup can cover several meals once cooked. Salad preparation is pretty straightforward. That said they do taste best when you prepare them just before eating. The batch cooking approach doesn’t work. It’s a pleasure I wouldn’t miss but those minutes add up.
But It’s altogether too easy to justify a break from routine just because the sun is shining. Every sunny day must be grasped; they are a novelty. Because chances are that it won’t shine tomorrow. That’s no bad thing. Life shouldn’t be all about doing the washing up and balancing bank statements.
Where is the tipping point?
What I’m seeking is a balance. Finding where to make a change when the weather dictates spending a fortnight of sunny evenings enjoying a vegan beer in the pub, vegan wine in the garden, and sunny lunchtimes eating strawberries in the park. While the laundry, washing up and undone jobs pile up.
Traditionally reviewing the day ahead happens before bed. How about doing it at lunchtime while enjoying the sunshine and the strawberries? Enough time then to make contingency plans (before evening plans interfere) for planning the next 24 hours. That’s ample time to buy sensible food, think about dinner, breakfast and lunch, work out what clothes are clean and buy stamps.
So I suggest to you that maybe lunch time is the new bed time. What do you think of that?