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Curate Your Routines

3/28/24

We’ve talked about it before, but so much of our lives happen on auto-pilot.

Without intention or thought, we wake up, start our day and are out the door before we’ve had a coherent thought, let alone taken time to seriously consider what’s really important to us.

Try tracking your next morning from the moment you wake up. How long does it take you to think about something meaningful or intentional — something that grounds you and sets your day on a healthy path?

Is it before you check your phone? Before your first cup of coffee? Before your kids wake up? Before your first meeting?

Whether by intentional choice or by the sum of our unintentional choices, we ultimately do choose what’s important to us.

For example, we may search for months for the perfect bag, or after days/weeks/months of using a free tote or carelessly throwing things in our car, we decide we need a bag.

The difference? In our intentional searching, we learn about our tastes, what constitutes as “quality”, what price points we should budget for before finding the piece that meets our needs and (hopefully) lasts us a long time.

On the other hand, when we let a build up of thoughtless, automation-induced needs dictate our decisions, we often (though, to be fair, not always) make rash, urgent decisions with little thought to the long-term ramifications. After all, we’re “heads down”, focused on making it through our day, so why would we care about the details? We just need to fix our problem, now, to avoid disrupting our auto-pilot.

This is obviously a bit of a dramatization when it comes to something as frivolous as buying a bag, but the concept easily translates to so many areas of our lives. Most of us thrive on habits, routines, and small moments that take little-to-no thought to complete.

How else could we get through the stress of life if every small decision were as anxiety-riddled as work or parenting or relationships?

We’ve found the key to making the most of our days isn’t to stop allowing ourselves to fall into routines or habits, but rather to embrace them and curate them. Think deeply about the things that you wear, the place you live in, the car that you drive, the bags that you own, and the things you put in them.

Pre-empt the unavoidable moments of need referenced above by allowing yourself the space to want. Giving yourself the freedom to desire something weirdly creates restraint, which lends to better, more interesting decisions that end up making your routines more satisfying, effective, and stress free.

I recently found my “routine” being disrupted, because it was taking me forever to get out the door! I often switch my bags based on what I’m wearing or how I’m feeling that day, so when I’d instinctively grab it to head out the door, I’d realize I was missing my wallet, or I didn’t have my sunglasses, or my gloves (in winter) were in the bag I used two days ago!

Because I hadn’t thought more deeply about what I want to put in my bags when I change them out, I was creating incessant moments of need that disrupted my auto-pilot and forced me into urgent decisions that either left me stressed or unhappy with the result!

So… I was stressing myself out and raising my blood pressure over something as silly as what I put in my purse?? Why?? Because I had let myself stay on auto-pilot for too long.

A few weeks ago, I took a step back, thought through what I wanted and needed to have access to in order to make my routine more easy and gratifying, and it’s been a huge success so far! I keep simple things like gum, mints, lip balm, gloves, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, lotion, and even alternate wallets all in one of the drawers of our foyer credenza. That way, my moments of “I’m in a hurry” don’t become moments of “where is my wallet!?

And at the end of each day? You guessed it, I just empty my purse back into the drawer so I can get everything I need the next day.

It’s a simple change, but making a lot of simple changes to your routine and massively affect your anxiety and mood throughout the day! Maybe the purse drawer isn’t for you but getting some drawer organizers for your dresser would massively help with getting dressed in the morning. Whatever it is, take some time to think about what’s throwing off your “auto-pilot”, and give yourself the room to change it!

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  1. Heidi says:

    I have also taken up this habit after I saw you post on IG. It has been extremely helpful.

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