03 April 2008

Tips - Routines

Just about everything I've learnt about routines I learnt from Marla Cilley, better known to the internet community as "The Flylady" (http://www.flylady.net/). I haven't followed the Flylady system completely, but I am grateful to Marla for some really important life lessons. Lesson number one - routines are not a strait jacket. In fact, routines create freedom. Actually, no, lesson number one is that most of us have routines - they're just not very effective.

I've always had a morning routine. In my last job it was a well known fact that I didn't start until 8:15, even though the official starting time was 8:00am. Every single day I ran 15 minutes late. And even then I often ate breakfast at my desk. Now why is that? Because my routine was ineffective and inefficient.

My morning routine has been "tweaked" to be effective and efficient. It took some work. Habits aren't formed overnight, but they are formed day by day. Given that I can step into the shower, and 30 seconds later wonder if I've washed my hair or my face or both (when in fact I've done neither) and stepping out of the shower with conditioner still in my hair is a common occurence - these changes definitely didn't happen overnight.

But in that routine there is freedom. The old morning routine (which I never admitted was a routine) used to cause anxiety and grumpiness (for me and family, and probably my boss). My new routine (which I happy to admit IS a routine) gives me freedom. I no longer rush around like a headless chook in the morning; the Girl goes to school with lunch in her bag and breakfast in her tummy; I arrive at work exactly when I say I will (showered, dressed decently, teeth brushed, hair brushed, and breakfasted).

To those that insist that routines create bondage - I'll take that bondage, 'cause strangely enough I'm freer with it than without it.

And my morning routine, if you're interested:
  • get up (kinda obvious)
  • make the bed (I'm not a hospital corners person; just straighten the sheets and quilt - when you make 'em you want 'em on display)
  • loo (of course)
  • take my iron, brush my teeth (these go together 'cause liquid iron tastes revolting)
  • have a shower
  • do my hair, get dressed (always nice for others you're going to meet during the day)
  • organise lunches
  • have breakfast while reading my emails (see - time for me, even in the mornings)

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