As much as I love my routines, I have recently struggled to keep one. Although there are some that I regularly follow, I lack a daily routine of any sort, whether in the mornings, evenings or through the day.
I know the routines are essential, mainly to free up some mental space for the creative work. It makes sense that “regular work processes allows workers to spend less cognitive energy on recurring tasks, which can support focus and creativity for more complex tasks.” I then find it surprising that I have a complicated relationship with my routines.
I wake up, sleep at fixed times, and have a chain of habits associated with the time after and before. But nothing else sticks.
I don't have a time blocked for focused work. Or for my hobby projects like writing. I then wind down every day feeling frustrated not having achieved what I thought I would at the start of the day.
While ruminating over these struggles in my journal, I stumbled upon a realization. I cannot follow a daily routine because I lack a work-life balance. But unlike the pre-pandemic period, it is tilted much towards #life. Because I am always working from home, I surround myself with distractions while working.
My family, my pet and their stories. The apps on my iPad and my books. My home. All pry for my attention. And I am not strong enough to fight any of that for long.
When I visited the office, I had a clear separation of what I did and worked on while at the office. At home, that separation is difficult to attain. It's funny that this separation of space was considered important during the pandemic's early days. The only difference is that for others, it was not to get drained by work and leave some time for life. It is not to let my home life muddle in my work life.
This has had a predominant effect on my writing. I tell myself I can do it anytime, so I don't do it at any time. Why do I need a creative block marked in my calendar when I can read, write and think any time I want?
Unfortunately, given how lazy and prone to procrastinate I am, I do.