As we adjust to our new normal of social distancing and distance learning, I’ve seen all kinds of amazing schedules that my fellow parents have created for their sudden adventures in home schooling.
Seeing all of those schedules is equal parts inspiring and intimidating.
It almost makes me want to create one myself.
And then I start to break out in stress hives.
Years ago, when I was first studying Ayurveda and habit change, my teacher at the time suggested scheduling our days down to the minute. I actually tried it for awhile.
Then I realized how forced it felt to me.
I discovered that trying to schedule my entire day down to the minute felt both oppressive and unrealistic, not to mention a recipe for failure.
Over the years, as I’ve experimented with various methods of adopting new habits, I’ve realized that scheduled don’t work.
Aren’t they the same, is the question I’ll bet you’re asking?
Nope. Not really.
Let me explain.
Schedules tend to be regimented by time, while routines are more about the energy or the result.
This means that schedules have very clear time boundaries, which isn’t a bad thing, but can limit creativity or your actual needs. Routines, on the other hand, can be a little more flexible. Routines are more about the action you’re doing rather than a set time in which to complete it.
Schedules also tend to be a little more rigid, more about checking a box and getting things done, than listening to your needs.
Routines are more flexible and accommodating. Routines serve your needs, even if it requires doing something a little different.
Here’s another way of looking at it:
Routines require consistency but not sameness, while schedules are less about consistency and more about compliance.
When it comes to healthy habits we need consistency but not necessarily compliance.
Our habits have to be consistent so that we commit to ourselves, but open enough to allow for variation based on what we actually need day to day.
Incidentally, kids are the same way.
Kids like structure but not rigidity. My friend Melissa Droegenmueller wrote a brilliant post about this on her Facebook page in regards to routines vs schedules.
Instead of requiring absolute adherence, I’m giving myself a little more freedom.
That’s not to say I’m not doing my morning routines. Far from it.
As I’ve approached my own habits in the face of having my kids home all day everyday, maintaining my self-care routines, especially my morning routines, has become an act of self-preservation more than ever.
And it’s making me feel more grounded, energized, and focused as I head into a day full of “mommy school” plus running my business plus making sure my kids are fed.
If you want to learn more about how you can create a morning routine that energizes, grounds, and focuses you, I’m leading 2 free online workshops to help you out.