I (Andrea) love routines. I’m also a cat lady, and cats are also creatures of routine. Each morning if I’m not up by 6:20, my cat Othello comes into the bedroom, meows his disapproval loudly, and then leaves. He will continue to do this for as long as it takes to get me out of bed and feed him. Because that’s our routine.
By 6:30, he needs his food in his bowl. It doesn’t matter that he has plenty of dry food to munch on. It doesn’t matter that I know he’s only going to take a bite or two, lick some of the juice, and then stroll into the kitchen to beg for people food while I make my son’s breakfast and lunch for the day. We have a routine, and by God, we must stick to it.
I don’t mind. In fact, I thrive on it. There are two main reasons why I love routines, and why I think everyone should embrace them at least in some facet of their lives.
First, it’s comforting. Plain and simple, routine is comforting and puts me in a calm place. A lot of people would say it’s boring, and monotonous, and unimaginative. I disagree. Because I work from home, I’m really doing two jobs at once all day. I’m doing my business work, and I’m also doing my mom/household work. All day, every day. It’s a lot of work to do, and it’s a lot to keep track of.
Having a routine gives me the calm in my chaos. It sets a pace for my day so that I can’t be frantic. (Or at least, I shouldn’t be.) Doing certain things at certain times lets me know how I’m progressing throughout the day. It lets me know when I’ll be able to take a break and relax. It tells me that I need to walk away from the computer screen and get some healthy nourishment.
Second, having a routine ensures I don’t forget things. Seriously, being a virtual assistant working from home can be five times as chaotic as running a household. I could be working with four or five clients on any given day. This means I have to constantly review prioritize, schedule, complete and do it all over again every hour or so. Having a routine builds my schedule for me so that I don’t forget to do a project, or pay my team members, or just stop me from pulling my hair out.
If you don’t have a routine, get one. It’s not something you can build overnight, but it’s something you can start to work on little by little. And if you’re having trouble, I recommend getting a cat. He’ll keep you on track! :)
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.