Out of Sorts

Feb 25, 2021

So last week in what we Texans are sarcastically calling Snowmageddon, I got out of sorts.  I didn’t realize that I was out of sorts until last night (Sunday night as I am writing this) and this morning when I tried to get back into sorts. 

But then, I thought about all that had transpired, and of course I was out of sorts.  The whole State was out of sorts.  And not to be too dramatic about it, but we were actually in survival mode: no power or water and record freezing temperatures.  And when the water came back on, it wasn’t potable, so we had to boil it for a few days. 

I was actually very fortunate compared to many people because I was only without power (heat) for a few hours and water for a few days.  So why was I so out of sorts? It was all of the little things; they really do add up. All of the routines that I have built into my day to make life easier had been interrupted. I gave myself some grace; it was okay that I was out of sorts, all of my routines were off.

This past week reinforced my belief in the importance of routines. Routines truly set me up for wellbeing and success.

When you put the things you do daily on autopilot, you free up brain capacity for more important tasks. If you are not putting real thought into tasks that you do every day like brushing your teeth, taking your meds, exercising, and making coffee, then you free up space to contemplate your work project, plan the party, or write your song.

Have you ever done something that you routinely do, like driving home from work or making a dish you’ve made a hundred times before, and realized that you don’t really remember taking each turn or putting in all the ingredients? But you did, because you are home and eating what you made. It’s because those tasks are so ingrained in your mind that you don’t have to expend a lot of energy on them.  So what were you thinking during those times?  Figuring out how to pitch that client, what your fundraiser is going to look like, or where to go on vacation?

Imagine if you had solid routines for all of the tasks you completed every day.  What kind of mental capacity could you free up?  And what kind of wonderful things could you create with that mental capacity?

I know what you are thinking, “T, I don’t have time to establish all these routines. I have things I need to do today.”  I get it. I’m not asking you to change everything in one day.  I’m suggesting that you start building routines slowly, one or two at a time.  And once you have those on lock, you add more.

Start where you are.  If you have some routines that are hit or miss, work on firming those up first.  Pick one or two and make them non-negotiable until they are solid habits.  Then go on to the next thing.  Remember, it doesn’t have to be something monumental; it can just be the everyday things that free up your mind for bigger things. And, your routines should never feel like punishment; they should feel like favors you do for yourself to make your life better.

Is there something easy you can start to do routinely today to make your life easier?

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