July 6, 2015

My Anti-Routine Routine

Humans are creatures of habit and having a routine means we are less stressed and generally have a better ability to appreciate the time we have. The philosophy behind the anti-routine routine is flexibility in time management wherein you don't harshly enforce the times you've set for yourself, but you have a general idea of what your morning/afternoon/evening will look like, thanks to your deadlines. It's a way of getting control in a flexible way.  

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love waking up and not having to rush, or set an alarm! I love that I can watch all four hours of the Today show, including my faves Kathie Lee and Hoda, and that I can finish the things I want to get done on my own time. But I've come to realize that anti-routine routine during my relaxed summer mornings is just as comforting as being able to relax in bed all day long. Well....almost anyway.

Like most teenagers during the summer, I don't sleep until much later than normal, 12, 1, even sometimes 2 am! (When you otherwise have a grandma bedtime, that's a big deal) Of course this usually means I wake up much later than I'm used to, loving the fact that I haven't touched my 5:47 alarm since school ended. But when I do sleep considerably later than normal, I usually start feeling lost and like the day is slipping away unproductively. So I've come up with this little mini routine that doesn't focus on task time as much as deadline.

The past few days, lounging here at Auntie Sharon's house, I've been mostly following this plan: wake up, stretch, and lounge around in bed on Instagram for about 10 minutes before actually waking up and getting out of bed and stumbling to the kitchen. (Normally this 10 minute grace period means I can formulate actual words when encountering various relatives instead of my normal grunt responses until I've more completely woken up) After this I click on the Today show and check various emails, accounts, and do some writing here on my lovely blog. I try to get a workout in around the 9 am area (Maroon 5's "This Summer's Gonna Hurt" as my latest workout jam) and fit some fruit and veggies, soy milk, tea, and the occasional yogurt as grazing snacks in around all this. My day progresses from there.

Clearly this routine is very flexible and open to change....for example if I have an appointment I can change the plan to fit whatever schedule we have for the day. That's the thing I really love about this anti-routine, it has such an ability to conform to whatever my day needs. Also, a lot of people travel during the summer. When you're in a place for only one or two nights it's hard to develop a routine. But when you stay someplace for longer, a flexible routine is a great way to get the energy flowing early on in your day--it helps you to get the most of your summer!

The whole thing that makes this flexible routine work is the idea of deadlines. Instead of saying "okay I'll be up at 8 and then at 8:30 I'm on the treadmill" I'm fond of going "so I'll wake up and then eat some yogurt or a banana or something and at some point I want to go for a run and try that new breakfast bar I got yesterday and watch that recorded show" etc. Notice the difference? (Hint: no set times) Of course, with this flexibility comes the actual scheduling. If I have an appointment at noon, I know the things I want to get done in the morning have to be done by the time I need to leave. Simple as that.

I think the most important part of this whole anti-routine thing is that I don't strictly enforce it on myself. If I sleep later, cool! I just have to switch some things around and schedule. If I don't get on the treadmill until 9:15 or, god forbid, 10 am my day is not going to be off schedule. (I take the same approach with food during the summer, still trying my best to focus on good, nutritious foods that I actually enjoy eating....while still not depriving myself of that lovely apple pie)

Striking a balance between all things in life is vitally important into leading a happy one, and I think an anti-routine routine is something everyone should try when they can! Obviously if you absolutely have to be out the door by x o'clock, this routine isn't really great for your mornings. But what about at night? A night time routine is perfect for people who have to follow a rigid one in the morning. Build in flexible time for social media, talking to friends, reading a book, catching up on shows, exercising, yoga, cooking dinner etc.

This flexible schedule is not for everyone, and certainly some people do have such rigid schedules that they find they simply don't have the time to be flexible! But I find setting deadlines for myself is a lot more comfortable during the summer than strict time management scheduling. Personally I like the degree of choice I'm afforded during the summer that I don't have during the school year.

Do you think you'll be implementing the anti-routine routine in your life? Can you see it actually working? Do you like your more rigid routine so much you can't stand this more flexible one? Let me know!


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