Last month I talked about my attempt to implement some routine in my life. My thought was that with a little more structure in my daily life, things would be less chaotic. I wrote down a plan on paper and it looked good. Really, stupendously good.
Here was my plan of attack:
1. Come up with a master list of everything I needed to do all week.
2. Come up with a daily plan of my top priorities for the day.
3. Find ways to smooth daily tasks, like laying out clothes the night before.
4. Establish a daily rhythm, with defined ‘work’ and ‘play’ times.
The first couple of weeks it went really well. And then life threw a wrench into the works. Hannah left daycare. My freelance gigs picked up. Jon’s freelance gigs picked up, and I helped him with that. Any semblance of a routine was lost in the busy, busy, busy-ness of my days.
The reality is that this is probably not the best time to set up a daily routine. I’m in the middle of summer break. In a month Hannah will be in kindergarten, and that will impose order on my days. Right now, it’s a different story. Right now, I want to be able to drop my plans for an impromptu park playdate without worrying too much about what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing.
I am still writing out a weekly list of things to do, and I am still setting aside time to play with my kids every day. But there’s not so much a defined ‘playtime’ as a grabbed opportunity. I’ve decided that there is much that is good in Operation Create Order, but that if I become too caught up in doing it perfectly then I will be missing the point. So I started showering at night again, to make the mornings easier. But I don’t sweat it if it just doesn’t happen one evening, for whatever reason.
From the time I’ve spent working on Operation Create Order, I have developed a better idea of what makes a good routine for my family. Like front-loading playtime, so that the kids are happier to let me work, instead of trying to work and then play. And setting aside larger blocks of time, instead of 1 hour of this, 1 hour of that, 1 hour of the next thing. It’s also important to let the kids in on the plan, so that they know what to expect and they understand why it isn’t movie time now. I will incorporate these lessons when I’m ready to come out of vacation mode.
Flexible structure is a good thing. But it’s the flexibility that’s key. And right now, for me, that means having the flexibility to enjoy summer, without sweating too much over my to-do list. Sometimes, you need to throw your to-do list out the window. Don’t you think?
Are there times of the year that you find it harder to follow a daily rhythm? And do you even like a daily rhythm? Tell me all about it.