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Method to the Madness

The breaks can be a mid-day snooze or a workout regime, it can be a good movie hour or a reading escapade

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The ‘Staycation’ most of us are enjoying since mid-March with day trips to the local attractions (read: grocery store, market place, chemist) have refashioned our daily routine and our lives. Timings have been altered, and the fine line between work and personal space has somehow dwindled. There have been occasions in which waking up at noon and swallowing lunch post four o’clock seem very familiar. The disparity between what needs more importance, and what could be stalled for a later period is absent.

A routine which most of us abided by is in a way lost or highly neglected. And insights such as the ones made, only get highlighted when you read or listen about it and feel that eerie connection and realise that change is needed.

The article “How to Both Work and School From Home” by Katherine Cusumano in The New York Times acted as my alert. The section on “Stick to some kind of schedule” was a piece of needed advice and the points raised were not only relevant but highly do-able. Dividing the day into discrete blocks was the first suggestion and one which helps to plan your day ahead. It gives a clear idea of what the day shall look and how can one work with the agendas in hand. Taking breaks is termed as “essential” and is the second suggestion.

The breaks can be a mid-day snooze or a workout regime, it can be a good movie hour or reading escapade. The final and most valuable suggestion was “Tucking things out of sight”. Retiring for the day is essential, not just physically but mentally too, and hence shutting down the laptop, closing the files, snoozing the mail notifications are all critical to give the body and mind the signal of completion.

Trying to gather a little more insight into the importance of a routine in life, I contacted Sanjeevani Goswami, a Psychologist at MIND India and a good friend, who has beautifully summed the importance of routine in our daily life. She said, “Daily routine gives a structure.
As we know, the lockdown has been a difficult time as people are unsure of what to do and end up lazing around the whole day. The realisation at the end of the day is that of unproductivity, stress, and boredom. A daily routine helps in making people productive and doing things to feel worthwhile.

To schedule, a routine one can divide the entire day with tasks that may include their regular rituals as well as something new and unique, for example allotting time to learn something new, or to plant a tree or to paint a picture, etc. These activities help in relaxation as well as mood upliftment. Also, during times of despair, a daily routine would help to dedicatedly work towards a Plan B in a more organised manner. To feel more ready for the next day, one can relook into their routine and see the tasks they could complete on that day.

This small relook lifts the spirits, makes one feel productive, and will help boost oneself for the next day. Self- reflection plays a vital role in the daily routine schedule, wherein people need some time to reflect on their work and life. While one sets their daily goals, it is crucial to remember it needs to be SMART:


S: Specific
M: Measurable

A: Attainable
R: Realistic
T: Time-bound

There’s no point in making a time table that’s not actually achievable. Therefore, your table should reflect you. A day with a specific structure and positive tasks would help in stress relief and in being active. This would also lead to good appetite, sleep cycle, and overall resilience.”

Thus, to sum it up, “The smell of possibility in the morning is addictive. Try it!”

The writer is a PhD Scholar and a trainer from Guwahati (Assam)

The views expressed by the writer are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.