My Daily Routine, And Why It’s Unusual

Tell me your routine and I’ll tell you who you are.

Do you know what your routine is?

Humans are creatures of routine, says Psychology Today.

Routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.

In The Power of HabitCharles Duhigg says,

“Routines are the organizational analogue of habits.”

Today, my routine is like many others in the past 6-months since I lost my full-time job.

It’s a day where I define where I go and what I do.

It’s a day where I wake up and have an open agenda.

It’s a liberating day.

It’s also a paralyzing day.

On this particular Thursday, I’m at the front desk of my co-working space in Toronto, Make Lemonade. I’m listening to upbeat music, and hearing the faint sounds of a meeting (all women) happening behind me. I’m surrounded by uplifting colours of pastel pink, vibrant yellow, and white. The vibe is mellow. It’s the middle of July, so a lot of us are on vacation — on lakes, trips, siestas, and trying to survive the 40+ degree heat that’s descended on the city.

So that’s where I am, and what I’m doing.

Whatever it is you ARE doing — it’s part of your routine.

And you’ve decided it should be that way.

After all, everything we do is a choice. Past actions or events led us to where we are today. Wherever we may be.

Today, I’m at the co-working space — but tomorrow, where I’ll be is anyone’s guess. This prospect is both unsettling and exhilarating.

My current routine is not having a routine.

And let me tell you..

It’s this:

“A barista pouring coffee into a mug that says ugh on it at Bar Nine” by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

And this:

Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash

All at the same time.

The latter part — the chance for it to feel exhilarating— is why I chose not to pursue a new full-time job immediately after I lost my last one.

Real Talk:

I didn’t have a great reason not to look for another job.

I don’t have 30 years’ experience in my field. I wasn’t far along in my career (still am not), I didn’t have a big title or even a business idea. I didn’t really have anything other than a vague idea of what I wanted to be doing, an idea about my passions, and a place I’ve picked (Toronto, for now).

Here’s what I knew:

  • I was craving flexibility in my routine
  • The day-to-day grind felt limiting
  • I needed to explore creatively
  • The idea of being able to work from a new location every day excited me
  • I felt stuck and wanted to be open to new things

I lost my job on February 3. The timing could not have been worse.

It was the dead of winter. The sun rose on my morning commute and set before I stepped foot onto the street to head home. I moved into a never-ending sea of people surrounded by darkness. It could not have been a more depressing time of year to find myself unemployed.

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

So with the bad timing and all — I didn’t look for full-time work.

Since then, I’ve lacked a ‘traditional’ routine.

There were many mornings I have laid in bed without a clue what I would do with my day. Sometimes I felt excited — I could take a dance class, I thought! But then I wouldn’t do these things because they weren’t “making me money”.

Without a traditional routine, I have at times felt stuck. Paralyzed. Uninteresting. Boring. Like a loser.

And feeling this way, watching the rest of you go by (always going so fast) has been difficult. Toronto doesn’t stop. And while I’ve been stopped, I’ve felt like I don’t fit in here.

I’ve realized that despite not having an office I frequent every day, there are still constants about me and my life.

As it turns out, I have a different kind of routine.

It’s not that I wake up, run, meditate, or go to the same office daily.

My routine is what I bring to each experience and each day.

My routine is deciding the type of person I am going to be — and then acting on it. In each moment and to each person.

My routine is to be open. To learn. To experience. To love. To share.

I’m always learning. I commit to this. I’m taking a course at the University of Toronto right now. But my routine with learning is greater than just one course.

I’m open to new possibilities. I ask questions. I engage. I’m interested.

I’m damn proud of this — and of me.

I don’t know where I’ll be most days. My routine is a mystery.

But in the words of a friend of mine,

“I never knew the kind of job I wanted to have.

I only knew the person I wanted to be.”

Until I figure out the former, my routine is going to be the latter. Who I am. What I bring. How I learn. How I make you feel.

 

And that’s the best routine I can think of.