Why Routine and Boring Stuff Matters

The Flu Revelation

I didn’t realize the importance of routines until I came down with the flu and was out of commission for about a week. I had lost all momentum. While sick I had a difficult time even reading. Now feeling better all I had to do was hop back in the routine. Problem was I didn’t have a strong routine established. I didn’t have a solid personal morning routine, I’m realizing more that I didn’t have a good classroom routine established. Now here I am navigating a sea storm with a battered ship and torn sails. No reference points and limited controls.

Don’t completely blame me yet, I had thought I had routines, but they had never been tested. After laying around and following only the schedule of my nausea for a week and was now expecting to hop back on the productivity train without a hiccup. For some, this might be a simple task, but without setting strong routines my train had stalled to a stop. It takes a lot to get a locomotive going from a still position.

I had so much I wanted to get done but I didn’t have a starting point. Missing school a few days, my students had forgotten any idea of expectations that had been set for the class. I see what was lacking. When I was there, I kept it together, but it wasn’t set-up to keep moving without my input. The same was true for my mornings. Did I feel like getting up early today? Oh well, I’ll just hit snooze six times. I’ve allowed excuses to creep in and feelings to manipulate.

I don’t get giddy when shown a schedule and I’ve never found calendars to be particularly sexy. These have more of my attention now.

Establishing Routine

We’re rhythmic beings. Our Sabbath should be just like our heartbeat, consistent and reliable. We must have a rhythm if we’re expected to weave together a career, personal interests, family engagement, and spiritual growth. I’ve begun to have set times of the week for these but I didn’t have it instilled prior to getting sick.

Having specific times for writing and personal hobbies makes me more reliable to my family, no longer sporadically saying, “Hey, I have an idea I want to write about, is it alright if I go write for a bit?”

The same is true for my teaching. I think I apply effective strategies for learning in my classroom. Although I’ve yet to instill them in an organized manner. To the students, these different strategies show up unexpected.

I’ve been given a needed opportunity to reevaluate the organization of my classroom and my life. This time of year is always busy for me. It seems like requirements and obligations keep coming at me in the spring, but I now have specific places to put them.

Instilling My Routine

5:30am: Devotion and then write

Work: Get in early and get out on time

4-8pm: Commit to family

8-10pm: Personal commitments (read, woodworking, the occasional tv show with my wife). My readings and activities I do at night often relate to my teaching and writing.

This is not written in stone but I have specific places to put certain obligations. I feel more in control and reliable for my family and students and there is still room for occasional spontaneity.


Where is your life on the tidy to chaos spectrum?

I’m far from a productivity guru but my last post was also on this topic.

Finding Productivity in Serving Others, Not a To-Do List

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