Freedom from Routines: My Surprise at Missing the Structure

I’ve written before about the hate/hate relationship I have with my alarm clock.

It’s been a long time in the making: I was not a morning kid or a morning teen (sorry, Mom!) or a morning college student. I’m certainly not a morning adult. So I was none too sorry to stop it using it completely and forgo commitment to any routine when I became a full-time freelancer.

So long, structure

arrows-background-black-and-white-745365.jpgBut it turns out there can be a downside to having a completely unstructured sleep pattern. Like regularly staying up until 2 a.m. watching Black-ish working and taking naps every afternoon. Add in the manic rush of the holiday season and I was feeling more than a little disoriented by the time 2018 came to a close.

I knew better than to set any kind of resolution, but I did want to be more intentional about my sleep habits and general daily routine in the new year. Let’s just say that the first week did not go as planned. (Can’t break a resolution if you don’t set a resolution!)

Enter: the coworking space

But this week I’ve been working out of a coworking space, which has encouraged to get me up and going earlier in the morning, be more productive during the day in an office setting, and more comfortably relax in the evening—and to get to bed before the stroke of midnight. I’m not sure if it’s the space itself or just the change of scenery, but it’s done great things for my sense of accomplishment.

Away from home, I’m not getting distracted by the TV or snacks or a sudden urge to vacuum. It’s easier to draw the line between work and not-work when there’s a short commute at the end of the day. (Otherwise, it’s remarkably easy to let the workday just bleed right into everything else.)

I don’t have any plans to return to a regular 9-to-5 schedule, but this week has given me some insight into how far I’d swung out of any routine—and made me appreciate the value in creating a little structure in my day.

How about you: Is routine your friend or your foe? If you’re a freelancer or remote worker, what tactics help you stay in the groove?

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