Sometimes life gets a little crazy. Metaphors abound: roller coaster, whirlwind, upheaval. But all these words pretty much mean the same thing; sometimes the way things happen isn’t the way you expected them to happen. And more often than not, those things happening can get in the way of other things happening, namely important things like work.
The past four months or so have been a little bit like that for me. We moved halfway around the world, back to the good ol’ US of A after spending 2+ years abroad. Reverse culture shock, anyone? Then there was traveling to visit family and friends. And when we finally got “home” we had to set up our new apartment from scratch. And I mean that literally. No furniture, no pots or pans, not even salt and pepper to season our sad frozen pizzas. Husband started his new job and promptly left town for three weeks, and he had hardly returned when I left town for another three weeks to help with some family stuff in Florida.
You get the picture.
Unfortunately, this kind of whirlwind lifestyle doesn’t suit me. Or rather, it doesn’t suit my work schedule. I used to abhor the very idea of routine, but the past few years have taught me that routine is not only my friend, but my primary ally in the fight against all things anti-work: procrastination, distraction, and more procrastination, to name a few. In fact, the only way I ever get anything done is through following a fairly strenuous routine. And when that routine is taken out back and shot? Well, let’s just say I don’t get much work done.
The past few months have been nearly devoid of routine, and that upheaval has taken its toll on my work. My blog schedule has pretty much fallen by the wayside; I update occasionally, but without regular posts both my motivation to write and my stats have dropped significantly. The final draft on my WIP–which should have been finished before September rolled around–continues to drag, dulling my inspiration and slowing my impetus toward agent submission. And all those half-baked ideas for short stories and novels have started backing up in my brain, inching slowly toward the dread oubliette I like to call The Pit of Never Started Never Finished.
But finally–finally!–things have slowed down. Even as the year dips slowly toward winter, the temperature dropping and the trees shedding golden leaves, the pulse of my own life has slowed. No more transcontinental moves. No more cross-country trips. No more significant life-changes. Just a long, slow movement of calm days and weeks punctuated by my three favorite holidays keeping time. Finally, I can take a deep breath and find a routine that orders all the elements of my life in a way that makes sense for me. My fitness routine. My eating habits. My work schedule. My relationships. Now that I have the chance to build a routine, these things will find freedom in that order, flourishing individually even as they nourish my life with their fruits.
Do you need a strong routine to keep the elements of your life working together as they should? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!