When Routine is Disrupted
We all know that in the world of endurance sports, consistency is key. (If you didn’t, you do now!) We are more likely to see fitness improvements when we get our workouts done on a consistent basis week over week. It’s OK to miss one here and there, as life does happen, but we want to see around 85% green on that TrainingPeaks calendar!
The same is true with making progress in all things in life. Consistently read, consistently write, consistently do whatever you have on your plan and you get better at it. To do things consistently we have routines. I talked about my morning routine a while back, about how that gets my day started in a productive manner. (I soon will talk about an evening routine – stay tuned for that!) But what happens when our routine gets disrupted?
I’ll use myself as an example…I recently sold my house, so I needed a new place to live. With the housing market being a seller’s market, I haven’t found an acceptable new house to buy, so I got a short-term lease at an apartment. I just went from a 3000sq ft house to a 600sq ft apartment. Packing up a household and moving things to storage and to a new dwelling is definitely disruptive. You can imaging normal daily routines have been a little out of whack. Here’s how I found how to manage this.
Know what’s critical and have a plan to get those done.
There are things we do each day, the most basic example is eating. How many of us get into something, and realize we forgot to eat? This also applies to other commitments. If you can’t see a way to fit them in your modified day, reschedule them as soon as possible. If they are very critical (like eating), find a way to get it done. This helps you maintain that sense of consistency, that you aren’t leaving your routine completely.
Get back on track as quickly as possible.
With something as big as a move, there was no way around losing a few days of my normal routine. For some, you might lose a few hours for an emergency meeting or a rescheduled kids soccer game, or you might lose days on business travel. My plan to get back on track as quickly as possible meant staying up a little later than normal to unpack. The sooner I had my office relatively organized and set up, the sooner I could get back to my work routine. If you have a good finger on your priorities, getting back on track is easier, whether your routine disruption is just a few hours, a day, or an extended period of time.
Don’t use the disruption as an excuse to quit your routine completely.
For some, deviations can force the proverbially “falling off the wagon,” but that should not happen. My morning routine was definitely not happening for a few days- with unpacking and boxes and admittedly that morning yoga wasn’t possible. But I know how important it is for me to do, so getting my space set up so this was possible (namely unpacking!) and then doing it was high on my to-do list. I could have filled the morning time with other “settling in” tasks. The farther you get from your routine, the harder it is to re-establish, so going back to above – get back on track as soon as possible.
Use it as an opportunity to improve your routine.
Perhaps there are things in your routine that weren’t quite working for you. Now that you’ve had a bit of a break with the disruption, as you return to routine, if you understand your priorities and goals, you can make small changes that will improve that routine. Remember small changes are the easiest ones to make happen!
There will always be disruptions in our lives. Whether it’s a one-time disruption such as a move or family emergency, or a short-term like illness or travel, keep as much consistency as you can, even if it’s modified. Get in a 2 mile run even if you were supposed to run 5. Prioritize any big things that will help you get back to “normal” more quickly, and you’ll be on track in no time!