Time management is something that many people struggle with right now, as many of us have had changes in our regular schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us have had to adjust to working and going to school online, or maybe not having these same obligations during the summer.
I know for me, the summer usually means getting stuck in a cycle of binging TV shows most of the day, eating at random times, and sleeping irregular hours. While having a break and relaxing can be nice for a while, it may not be the best for our mental health to get stuck in a cycle where we aren’t being productive or active. It also makes it harder to adjust to starting work or school again in the fall. One way to avoid this is by building and following your own daily routine.
Helpful things to include in a daily routine can be sleep schedule, planning times
for meals throughout the day, time dedicated to work or school, and exercise. These are some of the basic things to include to keep up with our physical health and responsibilities. We can ensure we are getting enough sleep, eating enough and getting enough exercise throughout the day. You can also include times to work on any hobbies, chores, or times to talk to friends and family. It can be comforting to know that there is time in our day dedicated to each of the things we want or need to do. Something I like to include in my daily routine is a little block of time at the end of the day to practice self-care. Self-care is an important practice for taking care of our mental and physical health. Adding this to our routine can reinforce its importance and we are more likely to practice it. For me this can be journaling, venting, or just getting something done that I had been procrastinating on. It may help if you write everything down when you are first building your daily routine.
Planners can be really helpful to keep track of any appointments and what you need to do each day. It may take some trial and error. You may try out a routine that looks ideal on paper, but you realize that you’re more productive in the afternoon rather than in the morning, or that you don’t get hungry for lunch until an hour later than you planned. When I was making my schedule, I realized that I get really sleepy after lunch time. Because of this, I changed my schedule around so that I would get all my work and errands done in the morning, so after lunch I have more time to relax, go for a walk, and work on some hobbies.
Having a routine is not only a great way to manage our time, but it can give us peace of mind knowing what to expect each day, and we can even schedule time for ourselves to take care of our mental health. If you find yourself struggling to get into a routine, consider using a planner, scheduling time for certain activities, and practicing self-care as a start!