This week, Chelsea Louise Haden, our guest blogger, talks about re-inserting routine into her freelance life.
I’ve always had routine in my life since I can remember. It all began when I was 5 with my 7pm bed times after my nightly sessions of the Flintstones, then my curfew of 8pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends when I was 14. When I was 17 I went to college Monday to Thursday for 9am and I was home at 6.30pm, bed at 10pm, and I’d be up for 5am the following morning to start the day again.
My life of strict routine continued like this until aged 19 till I couldn’t take much more, cracked up and went self-employed. This was the start of my new-found freedom and if I could have danced naked in the woods (without getting arrested) shouting I’m a kindred spirit la-la-la then I would have!
Up until about month ago I thought my life without routine was going fine, then I went on a self-development holiday which consisted of set meal times, scheduled workshops and timed meditation sessions. Whilst I was there I found that my mind was clear, I didn’t feel stressed and I had a calm and clear plan of action each day. When I got home, I realised just how much my work life was a chaotic mess and I began to crave routine.
When I talk to my self-employed friends whom are also in the creative world, they too agreed that routine was something that their work life lacked. Whilst it’s impossible to put a routine and schedule around creativity we all agreed that most of the time when we should be ‘working’ we’re distracted by unnecessary things like social networking, or “playing on the Xbox”.
You may have heard of procrastination, well I’m one of the founders of it….
I had to put a plan of action together and evaluate how not having a routine was affecting my life. I came up with the following:
- No set working times + crazy working hours = lack of sleep, missed weekends, neglected friends and family = unhappy
- No routine in my work life extended out to my personal life and my weeks and weekends become blurred leaving me feeling like I had no proper time off = stressed.
Not a great pattern. So I decided to inject a few small changes:
- I break my day up by setting a loud obvious alarm to tell me it is breakfast, lunchtime and dinner. (I tend to ignore the clock)
- I put Wednesdays aside for inspiration where I meet with friends or on my own and go places that will help clear the mind, inspire and most of all give me something else to think about other than work.
- I’ve started to get dressed for work. Having some form of work attire makes me feel that I’m a real working person. (Something to do with tricking the mind Derren Brown style!)
Just those little things have helped me inject some order back into my life and as a result I’m sleeping better, eating at the right times, completing work on time and having more of a social life. My motto used be “The less routine the more life” – Amos Bronson Alcott. Now it’s “Everything in moderation, including moderation” – Oscar Wilde.
C. L. Haden
Liked this? You can find Chelsea here and here….