Follow a fuckin routine!

I randomly hear questions from friends, colleagues, and family members around how I actually do shit after work. Especially here in my city, a lot of people seem to sit in traffic for a while, then prepare dinner, then watch tv and then go to bed. Worse, some of them take work home and dig right back in once they’re settled in for the night. There’s a whole ‘nother post in my mind about why it’s important to disconnect from work at the close of each weekday but let’s not go there today.

Instead, let’s talk about how I keep up with the various different tasks and hobbies I’m managing every week, month, and year; and how you can do it too.

The simple answer is: I write a routine and follow it as closely as I can.

I struggled for years with everything from bill pay to car maintenance to mental and physical health, simply because I’m not good at keeping track of tasks in my head. I still trip over things but today, and for the past ten years or so, I’ve spent very little time on my heels and I’ve actually accomplished quite a lot – Thanks mostly, to learning how to write and follow a routine.

Let me stop for a second here to say it: I’m definitely not perfect, and I’m not staunch, but I try to be a little of both when it comes to checking off my tasks each day. Yes it means I have to decline social invitations sometimes, yes it also means I miss out on stuff, and yes, I regularly feel like just saying fuck-it. Things are always going to get in the way or squeeze your time. Having a long commute to and from work is an easy example of something that squeezes your time. You can do better, the squeeze just adds a layer of difficulty to adjust for.

The secret is to remember that you can justify more socializing and more r&r when your primary responsibilities are well managed. It takes time and dedication but you will get there if you commit yourself to it and the benefits usually outweigh the costs. In fact, you might find that your view of how much r&r time is necessary changes, once you’re used to working a routine like a pro.

Let’s get into it…

Schedule a daily task or two for each day of the week. Sit down and decide what’s important on a weekly basis and get started on your plan. For me, health is important, so I include five days of exercise. Mental health is also important, so I pencil in a day for learning + studying, a day for completing household projects, a day without television (so good for the soul!) and a hobby day. There’s almost always laundry to clean and groceries to shop for too. Here’s what my current weekly plan looks like:

MONDAYJogging + Grocery Shopping
TUESDAYWeight Training + Self-Study Learning + No TV
WEDNESDAYJogging + Laundry
THURSDAYWeight Training + CYFD Day + Lawn Mowing
FRIDAYJogging + R&R
SATURDAYHobby Time
SUNDAYHousekeeping + Household Projects
My Current Weekly Plan

Do I grocery shop every week? Usually. Do I always get my Hobby Time? Usually, but not always. Do I always get my exercise days in? No.

I try like hell but I have a wife, a family, and friends I want to hang with. Again though, it’s all about working hard to make it easier to spend time with the fam or justify socializing. Kind of like buying stuff. If you don’t have enough in the bank, you just shouldn’t. I consider my weekly tasks like my monthly savings contributions. Save first, spend smarter later.

Speaking of wife, family, and friends: It’s important to be smart about it. If a special person in your life disputes a part of your weekly schedule for whatever reason: Adjust it! Wife doesn’t want you jogging at night? Wake up earlier than she does and get it done. Hobby time isn’t fitting into Saturday? Knock it out on a Wednesday, while you’re doing the week’s laundry. You can do this.

Speaking of laundry, yes I do laundry more than once a week. Having it on the plan makes sure I at least have one guaranteed laundry session, even during my craziest weeks.

Obviously your plan will differ from mine but I promise that simply maintaining a plan will at-the-very-least serve as a reminder to get shit done. Looking back, I started out planning for my personal finances only. Once I had that managed well, I moved on to planning goals for each day of the week and eventually setup my routine. Organizing my life got easier at every pass and at this point it’s part of my nature and I’ve benefitted greatly from the practice.

Whatever your end goal, get on a fucking routine already!

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