Good or bad…
For someone who has worked for myself for nearly all my adult life, the thought of being beholden to someone else’s timetable makes me anxious and want to run away as far as I can. However, it’s not the routine that the issues lie in, it’s the imposition of it – the lack of control. Routine should enable you, not tie you down.
It should be something that grounds you, not grounds you down. A fine line, some may say, but it’s all in the mindset and rituals & routines that you have introduced yourself because they work for you should be celebrated. Everyone has a different rhythm and I think this is key to finding your own routine. Without a routine one can feel anchorless and rudderless. With no one driving the ship you’re not going to get anywhere; which is fine if you’re happy floating about on the ocean waiting to see what turns up. However, most people don’t want that level of freedom. All children push against the boundaries that parents set them, and children need these boundaries to feel safe. Boundaries are like a big virtual hug giving them guidance and reassurance. Grown ups need them too. But part of being grown up is creating your own boundaries and taking responsibility for those boundaries.
Lots of people are now working from home which brings with it a whole new set of issues. Self motivation, scheduling, keeping active and keeping social. Everything is down to you. I love it, thrive on it even but I am an introvert, quite happy in my own company.
I think creating your own routine takes time to get right – if you ever do. Lots of trial and error to find out what works for you and the best balance. There’s no perfect solution and what once used to work may no longer work and so the search goes on.
Looking back to when I first went self employed, one of the most significant things was hearing people talk about the lure of daytime tv. So the first thing I would say is ban the TV. I must admit I’ve never struggled with this as I’m not much of a TV watcher. In fact we haven’t had a TV since 2007 and I still find it strange to go into house where the screen dominates their lives. Always switched on, constantly demanding attention but at the same time turning you into an absolute consumer. Thankfully I still interact with the TV and shout back, it’s not a passive past time for me – a bit like your annoying nana at the back mumbling and grumbling, me not the TV! And before you feel sorry for us and think we’re totally out of date, we have the computer and have been streaming for years. The difference is we chose when and what we consume.
Anyway, many people have asked for me to share my daytime routine, and I have taken this as my working day routine. So here it is. It’s not fixed or prescribed in anyway. There’s no set timescale as such just a general guide. I am by no means at optimal effectiveness – this is something I am constantly trying to improve. But if sharing helps to trigger a conversation that’s great!
So wake up at 6.30/7am. Breakfast and the first of my many pots of tea. We drink loose leaf Assam. We’re Northerners if you hadn’t realised! We have a Brown Betty teapot and she is very loved.
Family leaves by 7.30am. I post to Instagram. I often think about what image to post the day before but I always write it there and then in true insta style. I’ve never got on with planning apps like Planoly and Mosiaca (I have tried them all) but if I need to schedule I prefer pen and paper and to do things analogue. I write lots of lists!
Then I spend until about 8.30am, maybe 9am if the tea isn’t waking me up responding to comments, looking through other peoples feeds. I love waking up this way. It feels productive but not like work!
Then I get ready and come down for another pot of tea and tackle my aims for the day. I write out what I need to do, what I need to achieve and plan from there.
Often it’s just a full day at my desk. Others it involves meetings or going out sourcing, designing, making. If I am going out I like to do that in the afternoon as I find I work most effectively in the morning, so will be most productive then.
I break for a quick lunch. Often I eat whilst working – not a good example! The afternoon in my ideal world would be a lovely walk in the countryside whilst my energy levels drop and then return to work in the evenings but that usually can’t happen. So I go out and about with meetings etc instead in the afternoon and get energised by doing.
The day end is then dictated by the family coming home. I try to stay active on Instagram by dipping in and out throughout the evening but I would work constantly if I had a choice – don’t look to me on how to gain work life balance!
How to break the day up
As much of my day, as possible, is fuelled by tea. I find taking lots of small breaks really helps my concentration as I can flit from thing to thing all too easily. This way I have an end goal. It doesn’t mean I stop for tea but I do stop to make it and then have the pot on my desk – complete with teacosy – then I can constantly top up and keep focused. I also try to drink lots of sparkling water too for balance.
So as you can see no set routine guided by the clock but one guided by how I best work. And most importantly setting targets at the start of the day and constantly referring back to this. I also constantly look ahead to see if what I’m aiming to do fits in and how it fits in with the overview of how I want work to go. This way I know I’m going in the right direction. I work so I am open to ideas And as such always fall short by trying to do too much as I love ideas and get so much energy creating new things. However, this year is all about tying things together more and being consistent with my message. Which I find hard as I do so many different things. Most of which are done behind closed doors just due to the nature of the work. But I am going to try and be more visible. This is mainly because I do just live what I am doing. I’m not a natural documenter. I always leave holiday photos to whoever I’m with as I just like to do and experience; my snaps are all about exploring textures, doors, visual delights etc. So a lot of my experiences are simply in my head.
- pauses to pour another cup of tea and to wonder why I’m telling you this…
Insight – ?
I am, however, trying to share the processes of my work more. By showing you what designs I’m putting together but to be honest that simply increases my workload…hmmm…would be so much easier to just photograph my brain images – can someone please invent a brain projector?
Would me sharing on Instagram what I’m dealing with be of interest, really…? Surely seeing the end result and then hearing about it with images is more fulfilling?
Anyway I digress on to another conversation…