The value of routine

As we try to find our way through this COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals and other experts are advising everyone to keep to their usual routine. People not accustomed to being confined to home will find this advice especially useful. If you are accustomed to getting up at 6 a.m. to go to work, don’t stay in bed until 8 a.m. just because you can. If you are accustomed to taking your lunch break around 1:00 because it makes the afternoons go faster, do the same thing now.

Sticking to a routine works with writing, too. However, perhaps you’re used to writing in an office environment with the hum of other people going on around you. Now you’re writing from home and it’s a whole different story. Either you are laboring away in a totally quiet room, which you find distracting, or you are trying to work at your laptop while keeping your eye on a rambunctious two-year-old.

So, what was your routine like before we were all told to stay home? I saw a funny picture of a guy in an around-the-house sweatshirt looking at his cellphone in one hand while keeping his other hand wrapped securely around the rod holding up his shower curtain – obviously mimicking his usual routine of going to work via the crowded subway.

Not all routines are beneficial. Some can be destructive if bad habits like addiction to drugs or alcohol have taken over your life. However, most people have developed helpful routines over time. You might wake around 6:00 every day. Then you shower, dress, have breakfast and walk your dog, in that order, before reporting for work.  And if you are a writer, a routine that automates some of your daily tasks will free up more time that you can devote to your creative side.

Now, sticking to routine need not be as drastic as clinging to a shower curtain rod while checking your iPhone on your way to the kitchen, but relying on a certain sameness in the things you do helps get you through the day.

If you are new to the home writing environment and feel a little out of sync, why not start a routine now?

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