When I visited the UK for the first time, one of the places I checked out was the Cabinet War Rooms in London. The rooms are displayed exactly as they were left when WWII ended in 1945, and I was able to see where Winston Churchill (who served as the Prime Minister of the UK back in the day) worked during the war. I discovered he had loved working through the night, often worked in his bed, and loved to have naps during the day. He worked, slept, ate, drank and exercised when and where he wanted, and didn’t give a stuff what anyone else thought about it. Winston Churchill is clearly my spirit animal.
I loved the idea of creating a routine that was unique to my needs, likes, dislikes, and goals. However, at the time, I was working in a nine to five job, and my routine was, for the most part, decided for me. When I left that job, I had my daughter, became a foster parent, and began studying. While I was studying, I created very lazy habits, such as turning on my computer first thing in the morning BEFORE I did anything else. I’d promise myself I would get to my to-do list later on in the day, but I never would. I’d sit down all day at my computer, feeling the pressure to complete my next assignment, and then, of course, I would get distracted by social media. You know how it goes, you jump on the computer to do one quick thing, and then you lift your head up three hours later wondering how you ended up forgetting to make dinner but knowing all about the European vacation a friend of a friend took in 2011.
When I was studying, I had no real routine. I was dealing with my kids and their stuff and fitting in my uni work when I could. To be quite honest, it was hard and stressful. I was never fully present when doing either of those things. My school assignments would take ages to finish because I was not focussing on them properly, and when I was doing stuff with the kids, I was stressing about my uni work, or the housework (jokes… I never think about housework), so I’d never be fully present with them.
For so long, I had been so focussed on finishing my degree, I didn’t really think about what I wanted to achieve besides that. Well, I’ve been brainstorming what I want to do now, and the list is growing quite long. As excited as I am about my new goals, I am still in the habit of not moving from my comfy seat in front of my computer, and wasting time on social media. Therefore, it’s time for this mama to develop new routine and rituals – Churchill style.
What’s the difference between a routine and a ritual?
Well, routines are the habits and activities we undertake regularly to achieve a certain goal, such as taking the kids to school everyday, working out, or going to bed at a certain time. Routines help us to organise our time, by creating schedules that fit our needs. Routines give form to our daily lives. Now, rituals are what make our routines meaningful to us, and allow us to make our daily grind tolerable, unique and fun. For example, you may like to play music while you shower every morning, or maybe have a glass of wine while you cook dinner each night. I like to think of routines and rituals as getting into the groove, or the rhythm, of life. I’m funky like that.
Why is it important to establish your own unique routines and rituals?
Structuring your time means you will get more done because you completely focus on one task at a time. It means you don’t feel guilty about spending time working or exercising (or whatever it is you want to do) because you know that you’ve also dedicated blocks of time to the other things important to you, like family, friends, fun, stalking the Hemsworth brothers, etc. As a result, rather than feeling overwhelmed and feeling like you are getting pulled in a million different directions, you feel in control and productive.
To get us to where we want to go, we need to be productive, organised and always moving forward. Thinking like that excites me a little bit (okay, a lot), because it means my days will be filled with purpose and direction. To help you establish new routines and rituals, I have created a FREE printable for you to help you create an ideal day. The “My Day” printable has room for you to create a schedule for your day, a list of things to do, and a doodling area. Get your copy here: My Day Printable
My very excellent tips on creating new routines and rituals.
- It drives me nuts when I read articles telling us that to be successful we have to get up at 4.30 in the morning, just because some other person does it. In my opinion, if you aren’t a morning person, and don’t want to be a morning person, then trying to get up early when it doesn’t fit in with your life is never going to work in the long term. We need to be productive when we operate at our best, and that is going to be different for everyone. And, let’s be honest, who wants to follow a routine that is customised for someone else’s life? Not me. Want to work out at midnight? Do it. Want to read a book in bed at 3am in the morning? Do it. Afternoon nap? Lock it in.
- Don’t just structure your time for work or mundane stuff. Slot in family, hobbies and relaxation, and then give whatever you are doing at any given time 100% focus. Take Richard Branson for example. He runs a HUGE empire, but still creates time for his hobbies, like hanging out on his OWN island with his family and mates. He manages to achieve an awesome balance between work and play, he never seems stressed, and he is one of the most successful people on Earth.
If you are like me, and you don’t have structure and routine in your life, you probably don’t feel like you get much done, not even fun stuff. So, maybe it’s time to brainstorm a new routine. Instead of moving aimlessly through the day, spending time procrastinating and wasting time on tasks that aren’t productive, maybe it’s time you and I introduce focus and purpose to our days.
Let’s do this!
P.S. Don’t forget to check out these packs to help you decide what you want to achieve and brainstorm how you are going to achieve it.