As a person with disabilities who works full time, it’s hard to do anything outside of work. This is frustrating because I also am a full time student taking online courses. And I’m a creative who wants to spend my free time making things. Any routine I put in place seems like it can be undone with one bad day, one flare up of illness, even after weeks or months. This means it’s important for me to learn how to get back into a groove when I fall out of one. It seems like something I’m still learning anew each time.
Here’s how I’m trying this time
- Plan. Making a plan is the first step to sticking to a plan. Without a clear idea of what my system is going to look like and what success means, I have a very difficult time having any sort of luck making it happen.
Prepare. Doing the extra work when I can to set myself up for success is so helpful. This includes things like setting my clothes out the night before, gathering all of my supplies in one place, and having Evernote templates for my writing.
Be gentle with yourself. This one’s hard. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of harshly criticizing myself every time I fail. Logically I know that it’s important to hold myself accountable for failures. And it’s important to give myself constructive criticism to succeed in the future. But my brain likes to take that too far. Instead of holding myself accountable, I harass and abuse myself over failure, no matter how small. That doesn’t help me try my best to succeed. It makes me break down and stay in bed depressed all day. It’s much better to instead allow myself to fail, and try again. “Okay, what can I do now? What can I do better tomorrow, or next time?” “I have failed. That’s okay. Next time I can do this instead, and that might help me to succeed.”
Enlist help. I’m not great at being accountable only to myself. It’s why despite my interest in web development, it’s taken me ten years of working with WordPress to attempt writing a plugin. And it’s part of why I’ve chosen to go back to school for web development rather than continue self-education. Adding another person to the equation can help me out a lot in terms of doing the thing. I want to have something to report when I’m asked. I don’t like disappointing people, to the point of neurosis. So having someone to be accountable to is a big plus for me.
Physical health steps. Unfortunately this is actually a part of the things I’m not so great at doing all the time. But I know that when I do keep up with my physical health (as much as is possible for me, anyway), it helps everything else. One big one for me is forgetting to eat. Behind that is forgetting to drink enough water. Those two things can alter my mood, energy, focus, and even creativity so drastically that it’s immensely important for me to keep up with them. And, when I have the physical capacity for it, exercise does help all of that as well. Even a walk around the building where I work can be beneficial. (Plus, I play PokemonGo. Motivation to move is always great!)
What about you?
Do you have a routine that you stick to? What are some ways you help yourself succeed at following your routine? Let us know in the comments!