Currently I find myself struggling with my routines, unsure of my schedule and starting to question my purpose. Morning yoga, decent bedtimes and family meals are beginning to be missed more times than not.
Things are Busy and Systems are Breaking Down
Life has gotten busy, all good, but my schedule has been stretched. We all struggle at times in our lives. We struggle maintaining our routines, our self-care practices, our relationships, our connection to our purpose. Eventually, everything just seems to break down and we rush from one thing to the next, waiting for the craziness to slow. We lose our sense of joy, as we try to keep up with life. We tell ourselves that if we can just get through the week, the month, the season – we will be okay. We are tired and on the verge of being burned out… again…
We Handle Busy Seasons Short Term, Long Term – Consequences
What do we do when we realize we are slipping, when life becomes about task completion and not about purpose?
We can’t fix it all at once. We have to regain our sense of order one habit at a time. We reconnect to our purpose, one meaningful choice at a time. We find joy one moment of gratitude at a time.
It’s Like a Marathon – You Must Build Endurance
Any marathon runners out there? Let’s say you ran a marathon. You stop running. Do you wake up one day and say, “hey – I think I’ll run a marathon today”? No, regardless of how many marathons you have completed in your life, you have to train again every time you stop and decide to start again – one mile at a time. And, so it is with our routines and our systems. We have to build back the endurance to maintain our habits, to get through the routines, to return to our self-care practices, to nurture our relationships, and to reconnect to our purpose. We fill our empty tanks with one self care practice at a time. We nurture our relationships with one commitment at a time. If we catch ourselves quickly, we can likely move through this process rather quickly. If it has been a while, it will be slow and steady.
Go Back to Basics
Every night, set aside 15 minutes to sit alone with a notebook and a pen. Set a timer. Simply answer the question, “the coming day will be successful if…”
It is important to answer this question. We are trying to get out of the task completion mentality, the rat race, and back to living a life that has purpose and meaning. You probably haven’t thought about success in a while. You probably have just been trying to get through your task list.
Once you answer that question by writing for about 10-12 minutes, spend the last 3-5 minutes going back and reading it. Schedule it! Do that one thing the next day. Sometimes I write, “go to bed at 9:30”, “make dinner and eat with my family” or “play outside”. This is incredibly powerful in helping me regain a sense of control. Almost always, these aren’t items on my task list.
Set your timer for 5 minutes. Write down everything stuck in your head that you need to do, a brain dump. Declutter your mind. This is your “oh crap, I have to… list” You probably already have a task list, if so this is just to capture what is floating around in your head. Often, the perception of what we have to do is worse than what we really have to do.
Go through this brain dump and highlight two to three things you need to prioritize. Do those things first the next day, in addition to the item you listed in Step 1, of course!
Change the way you think. Your task list is rarely, if ever, going to be completed. That is okay. Remember, life is more than getting through your list. Consider your task list as a wish list. It is okay to not get through it. You will always add to it and delete from it.
You Can Do It
Morning routines and evening routines are also super important. Create or return to them as soon as possible.
Remember, no one is perfect. Life isn’t about getting to the perfect destination with your routine and systems. The influences around us change. Our situations change. We adapt. Enjoy where you are, learn what you can, and keep building those routines that help us live a life with purpose.