May 10, 2020

Following a schedule during lockdown


A few days back, I had posted on Instagram about how my lockdown days are progressing. I had mentioned about following a routine - sleep by 10:30PM and wake up by 6:30AM, having a fixed time for sweeping/mopping the house etc. One of the DMs I received related to this post - "Aren't schedules boring? Life becomes so predictable and monotonous." 

It was an interesting question and I had been thinking about why I follow a schedule.

Firstly, I follow a schedule/routine during weekdays. I don't follow a similar schedule during weekends. For eg, today being a Saturday, I woke up only at 7:45AM, had breakfast at 11AM, ate lunch at 2:30PM etc. No exercise/Yoga. I spent the afternoon watching Mr. Family Man standup comedy and had a hearty laugh.

Now, coming to the question of why do I follow a schedule. This is my personal opinion. Yours might be completely different and it is perfectly okay. 
A schedule is required for anyone who has a responsibility - responsibility towards oneself, responsibility towards others in the family, responsibility towards professional work commitments etc.

The schedule sets a rhythm in our daily life. When we prioritize a few key aspects of our life and allocate a fixed time towards them, they are automatically taken care of, without much thought. During weekdays, I finish cooking breakfast and lunch by 9:30AM. This way, food is available and I don't need to step into the kitchen until evening. I can focus on my work without thinking about the dreaded question "what to cook for lunch?"

Having a schedule also sets the right expectations among the people whom we interact with - our family members and our office colleagues. For eg, my daughter knows that I do my Yoga practice between 7:30AM and 8:15AM. She wouldn't ask me to play with her during this time.

Scheduling a fixed time, also called as time-boxing is a sure-shot way of avoiding distractions. Most distractions of these days - be it social media, Netflix, watching the news, youtube videos etc can start off as a 2-min activity and can easily consume many hours if we are not mindful. So it is better to allocate fixed time for important work and necessary chores. If I don't fix a time for sweeping/mopping, I might just while away my time in the late afternoon and procrastinate the task at hand.

Having said that, it doesn't mean I schedule every minute of my waking hour. There are multiple unplanned time slots during the day where I watch a movie (20-30 min max), play with my daughter, browse or watch youtube or take a short afternoon nap.

Ironically, as I was writing this post, I came across this tweet
"This is a pandemic, not a productivity contest"

I totally agree with this point. I need a schedule just to get through my daily responsibilities. I seriously wonder how to make time for other "productive" activities like building a skill, reading books, taking online courses, trying new recipes etc, amidst the added responsibilities that the lockdown has brought down upon me. 

Let's not take additional pressure from our social media feeds that are filled with new recipes, interesting activities to engage kids, new hobbies etc. Each of our lives and situations is unique. We are doing our best we can, given the circumstances.

My only suggestion is not to expect too much from yourself or from others during these critical times.

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