Routine Checkup

A few entries ago, I mentioned the importance of maintaining routines to help stave off executive dysfunction and time blindness, so I thought I’d go a little deeper with that topic this week. 

If you ask me, routines are very helpful, no matter who you are. Whether they help you remember to brush your teeth each night or to put the trash out every week, routines get things done. It’s like muscle memory for your mind. The more you do something, the easier it is to do without thinking about it too much.

But knowing that routines are beneficial and actually establishing routines are two different things. I know that exercising every day helps me feel better physically and mentally, but I often struggle to do so regularly. After getting my dog, Petra, I was able to create a routine of walking with her, probably because I was doing it for her, not for myself. But I’d still like to do more moving on a daily basis.

Similarly, even though I know that playing my guitar and singing help me relax, as well as make it possible for me to share my thoughts in a creative way, it wasn’t until I started getting together with some very talented relatives on a regular basis that I began to practice more often on my own. Still, there are musical routines (I’m not talking dance numbers here) that I’d like to make a part of each week, but I keep putting them off for other things.

Sometimes, when you know a certain routine is good for you, it might take some outside encouragement or accountability to establish that routine. That’s okay. And in the examples above, the accountability doesn’t have to be reserved just for things done with others; you can also seek out someone to check up on your progress with routines you’re trying to create on your own. 

Have a friend text you a few days each week to ask if you’ve exercised. Maybe even find someone who can text you at a time you’d typically have free, so if you haven’t exercised, you can do it right then. Or join an online group of people with similar goals as you, like a musicians group that checks in with each other on how projects are going.

Routines can be as simple or as complex as you need them to be. 

Simple nighttime routine:

  1. Take allergy medicine.

  2. Turn the bottle upside down (so you remember that you took it).

  3. Brush teeth.

  4. Floss.

  5. Use mouthwash.

  6. Turn the allergy meds bottle back over (so you can start over tomorrow night).

Some nights, I really don’t feel like doing a lot before going to sleep, but I know I have to take my allergy pill or I’ll regret it the next day. Once I take my allergy pill (which is located in the bathroom), I might as well brush my teeth. So step 1 quickly starts my routine, and before I know it I’m turning my allergy pill bottle right side up and heading to bed.

More complex routines might also be needed, like when I’m listing a new item on my Etsy store. When I first started out, I typed up a checklist of steps that I needed to do for each item. The more items I add, the more that checklist becomes a routine.

Like muscle memory, building routines takes time. However, if you’re willing to put forth the effort, I believe it pays off in both small and big ways. Routines are great. Now… if only I could figure out how to get new routines to stick... :)

If you’d like to support Nickole and Dymes Creations, visit my Etsy shop from time to time to check out the newest digital (and eventually physical) products. If you’d like to be a patron of Nickole and Dymes, visit my Patreon account for details on how to get started! Even liking and sharing posts from my Instagram (nickole_and_dymes) and Facebook (Nickole.and.Dymes) accounts makes a huge difference. And follow Nicky and Bea Books on Facebook and Instagram (@NickyandBeaBooks) to stay up-to-date with the launch of the Nicky & Bea book series, with author Rebecca (Becca) Amstutz and illustrator Nicole Dynes (that’s me!).


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