I’m not gonna lie, I’ve already lost my shit a few times and we are only a week into home isolation. I’ve gone from thinking everyone is overreacting to spraying hydrogen peroxide on door handles and faucets multiple times a day.
I’m tripping over toys while on conference calls, folding laundry while on Zoom calls with my team and preparing family meals and snacks while trying to update Asana.
I’m a planner and I’ve always prided myself on my ability to react well under pressure. But this is unprecedented territory and it came on so quickly. I’m holed up in my house with two lovely kids and Meg, my incredible wife. I love them, but I’m not used to spending 24 hours a day with them.
Best case scenario, I’m at home with them for only three weeks of isolation. No excursions, no visiting our usual places like the Art Gallery or Sprouts, our local kidnasium. All of this on top of our hectic jobs that are not on hold, quite the opposite, she’s being pulled into fire fighting situations and I’m trying to figure out how we stay afloat with 50% of our customer’s orders on hold.
That’s why I’ve taken my routine and put it on steroids. It’s the only way we will all survive.
My routines set me up for performance and peace of mind. I can not simply go with the randomness and urgency of the day, which there are more than ever, cue the crying baby.
Here’s how we are surviving by using routine as our basis for success.
Although it would be easy to fall into the trap of staying up and watching Netflix and sleeping in that’s not going to help. It’s early to bed, early to rise. I’m getting up at 5:30 and getting two things accomplished before the kids are up. The first is incredibly important. Alone time. When you are couped up with a family of four day and night, the lack of 1:1 time with yourself creeps up real quick. I can’t be a great father or company leader without having some quiet time to myself. So, I’m up at 5:30 for some peace and quiet.
I’m using the three M framework, movement, mindfulness and mindset. I get outside and walk around the block a few times, then I meditate for 15 minutes, then a little self coaching just to make sure my mind is set properly.
Then it's 90 minutes of work before I’m on breakfast duty. I don’t waver from this.
Meal time has to remain sacred. Although I’m in the snack business, I don’t believe in all day grazing, I believe in balanced meals and snacks at the right time. So two important routine guidelines I’m following is to eat each meal away from my work space and eating with the family as much as possible.
A few years ago I wrote this guide to 70 healthy plant-based snacks you can make at home.
5 other things I’m doing that reduce my stress and support a strong routine.
Even if I’m going to be wearing sweats all day, I put my clothes out the night before. It puts far less pressure on me when I wake up at my most vulnerable.
I don’t look at any news or social media outside of the hours of 12-6pm. Yes, things are moving quickly and things are changing rapidly, but I’m isolated, this isn’t a fire at the edge of my neighbourhood I need to monitor for evacuation. I need to stay focused. News and social media will not help. I’m digesting more news and social media than ever before BUT I’m choosing to do that as part of my routine.
Although my office is less than 2km from my house I've saved hours a day in school drop offs, visiting vendors and customers. So, I’m not giving myself any guilt about spending time with the kids mid-day. We are incredibly good at negative self talk, let’s not give ourselves a hard time for hanging out with the kids instead of working. My mediation practice really helps me here.
Slow cooking. If we have not all figured this out yet, we have extra time on our hands, we can spend it aimlessly or we can apply ourselves in learning and growing. I continue to cook most meals, and slowly. It’s incredibly fulfilling and the creativity of prepping and cooking uses an important part of my brain that needs stimulation. My friend Lisa just shared her secret recipe, make a big batch of this soup and freeze it, or drop off a container for a vulnerable neighbour.
My calendar remains the bedrock of my routine. Everything I’m doing that will take more than 15 minutes (like writing this article) is in my calendar. This can sound restrictive, but like all parts of a routine it will benefit you mentally.
You might not feel very free right now, but can find freedom with a solid and consistent routine.
Questions? Want to talk about routine? Connect with me on Instagram @morerants