A routine is, “a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program”(Definition from Oxford Languages)
Next week is the start of a new semester. Winter break was great! Getting to relax and do things that normally I wouldn’t have the time to do because of classes. Rather than abandoning all the activities that have brought me joy over break, I am going to try to incorporate them into my routine. Making it a priority to workout, paint, cook, bake, go for a hike… I already am constantly making “to-do lists” or scribbling things down on sticky notes. A routine creates a bit more of a structured outline to the mundane tasks, hobbies, and big projects day-to-day. Before the full workload of classes begins try to establish a routine, a plan of action to be successful while also maintaining your relationships and your emotional and physical well-being. Let’s start the semester off strong!
A routine is kind of like a rough draft – sometimes the final draft steers off in another direction and that’s okay! It’s not about perfectionism. The rough draft provides a skeleton of how you envision your day or what you’d like to prioritize in that day or week.
Steps to create your routine to have productive days:
Step #1: Find a notepad, journal or calendar
Start off with getting a a notepad, journal and/or calendar to jot down your routines each week.
Step #2: Brain dump
Create a list of all the things you’d like to accomplish in that day/week. It doesn’t have to be organized. Just list whatever would make you feel fulfilled and productive in that day/week.
What to include? Small tedious tasks to big projects. You could include brushing your teeth, watching a show, reading, attending a class, coffee date, cooking a meal, going for a bike ride, calling your mom… whatever will lead you to accomplishing your personal and professional goals, maintaining your well-being, and nourishing relationships. What creates balance in your day?
Step #3: Structure out your day
Beginning, middle & end. What does that look like? For my routine, I’ve included the amount of time that I would like to work on said task and I try to stay within that framework. It can be as detailed or broad as you would like. It may look like something similar to this…
7:30am – wake-up, brush teeth, skincare, shower, coffee
8 am – breakfast, walk dog
9am – class til 10:15am, work on 12pm classwork
12pm – class til 1:15pm, lunch
2pm – run, listen to podcast
But remember no matter how planned out and detailed your routine may be – leave room for flexibility because life happens! (Tip when planning out your week – highlight or star things that are important and need to get done THAT week. For example if you have a big test coming up the following week – prioritize getting in that studying… or you need to get an oil change on your car ASAP highlight that. These are things that take priority and are time sensitize).
Step #4: Test it out
After a week or two check in with yourself. How do you feel? Would you like to add anything or take something away from your daily routine? Is something consuming too much of your time? Is there a balance or do you feel burned out? Maybe keep track of your thoughts and feelings at the end of each week in order to reflect back on. Make necessary tweaks and apply them.
Personally when classes start up I typically spend all my time working on classes and leave little time for other activities or hobbies. Typically this results in a burnout about mid way through the semester. I am going to try to stick to routines this Spring semester and I encourage you to give it a try as well. Start off the semester strong and set-up your days and weeks for success in all aspects of your life!