It’s Friday!! Welcome to ‘The Chronicles of a Reluctant Housewife’ where I document my love/hate relationship with my current occupation.
I have been thinking a lot about routine lately. For awhile now (and I mean, like years) I have been telling myself that I need to get into a routine; with work, writing, exercise, sleeping, socializing, personal grooming, eating, cleaning, etc. I continually believe that getting into a routine that I think I should have will solve all my problems of non-productivity. It works for a few days and then it disappears.
But here is what I realize.
I have a routine already. In fact, I have a few routines that I rotate depending on the circumstances. On regular housewife-y days when no activities or meetings or errands are scheduled- I get up late, make my coffee, take out dinner’s meat offer to defrost, sit in the darkened lounge and catch up on email, blogs, papers while watching crap TV, sometimes I might do some yoga. Eventually I get in the shower and start the laundry and try to decide what to do with my day. On days when I have something to get done, say a thesis or book edits, I get up when Pete leaves and shower, take out the evening’s meat to defrost, and have my coffee in the kitchen with Radio 4, catch up on emails or the paper, change the music and begin work, take a lunch break, go back to work, go for a run, make dinner. Okay, so maybe I only have two routines.
It isn’t that I don’t have a routine, it’s that I am not happy with the non-work routine. That’s not to say that there isn’t work to be done; I have a list of writing assignments and proposals and general to-dos, I’m just not motivated to work on any of these items. I keep thinking if I could just make my ‘work’ routine, my ‘everyday’ routine *things* would be better, meaning I wouldn’t feel so worthless, in terms of contributing to society, etc.
It’s not that I am incapable of maintaining a routine. My short-stint in the circus was one long repeating routine of driving, unpacking, packing, driving, etc. If the circus taught me anything it was that routine can save your sanity. Of course, there the routine was of the forced kind (you don’t run with it and you are literally left behind) and it took me awhile to get into the flow. But the circus also taught me that you need to be able to change that routine at a moment’s notice in order to adapt.
With that in mind, perhaps it is more helpful to think about how to adapt the routine instead of trying to change it completely. That makes it a bit easier somehow. It’s not that I am incapable of creating a productive routine, I have one and use it semi-regularly in order to be productive (when forced), it’s that I am not motivated (forced) to maintain that particular routine on a regular basis.
So then the problem isn’t routine, it is motivation. Hmmm, seems I haven’t really solved the overall problem, but just identified a more difficult one.
We’ll just put a pin in that for a moment (we may have found the culprit), and move on to why I started thinking about all this in the first place. I have been having daydreams about getting this job I recently applied for and have actually been a bit worried about being able to maintain a work schedule. I have been working on this ‘non-work’ routine (and perfecting it’s more sloth-like elements) for almost five years now. The adrenaline kick of a new job will probably keep me going for a few weeks and then I have a feeling I will crash.
I can’t wait, actually.
And that brings us back to the pin. Motivation. I have a bit more of it lately. I have started to try and act as if I am a productive member of society. I get properly dressed in proper outfits (no PJs here), do my hair and make-up and generally try to be prepared to leave the house at a moment’s notice. This makes me feel a bit more productive and maybe like I actually ‘work from home.’ In the interest of full disclosure, sometimes I don’t manage it until around 1 in the afternoon, but it’s progress and I’ll take it.
If nothing else, I am getting a better handle on my wardrobe and accessories. I have some great stuff in there! I also have made numerous donations to the charity shops (and an extensive ‘must-buy’ list, we’ll save that for when I get the job. *Thinking positive,* while also expecting to still be sitting here in a few months).
As I tell PhD students struggling to feel ‘academic:’ Fake it ‘till you make it!
With my theatrical background and general character, that is a routine I can totally pull off.