I’m currently on an extended mental health leave from work – trying to get my shit together so I can focus on my job when I return. The big thing I’m working on during this time is finishing moving in, reorganizing all of my spaces for maximum efficiency, and developing routines that will help me accomplish my goals so I don’t end up going back to work and being consumed by my job and then desperately trying to set up my systems on weekends and during vacations.

It’s the routines that I crave more than anything. I still haven’t gained a rhythm of the seasons here, though I’m getting better! And my home isn’t functioning the way I need it to, so lots of reorganizing needs to happen, but also – since there are always so many things to do on a 10-acre homestead – there is ALWAYS a sense that I’m leaving something incomplete and therefore I struggle to enjoy the things I love to do…and because I’m not doing the things I love to do, I am unmotivated to do the things I HAVE to do, and those things start to pile up again and I’m back where I started.

That’s where routines come in for me. Routines are things I do by rote, and then they are done. They can provide a sense of satisfaction – that feeling of COMPLETION. And if you do them daily or weekly, it can be very gratifying. Also, if I know I have a routine that involves tidying or taking care of something I have to look at every day, I can leave things until later because I have it built in to my plan.

I already have a couple of routines that serve me well, but they are actually more forced relaxation routines. For example, Every morning, my goal is to wake up by 6 AM and feed the feral cats on the front porch while reading whatever book or zine or magazine I’m working on. I’m rewarded by the company of the sweet kitties, my body gets to acclimate to the weather, and I get to start the day with fresh air. Once the cats are done eating, I release the chickens and do a visual inspection of the flock. I gather whatever eggs are in the coops and either feed them to the cats or store them, depending on how filthy they are. I’ve also been trying to head out to the barn and do some tidying there to slowly lurch towards my goal of cleaning out the barn. On my way, I inspect the hazelnut seedlings I planted at the beginning of the year and check around the area. Lately, though, I haven’t had a reliable watering situation for the birds, so I am filling a gallon bucket with water from the hose at the back of the house and bringing it up front. (I really need to look into getting a hose line run to the front of the house! It would definitely make chicken chores and gardening so much easier.) Regardless, this simple morning routine allows me to keep track of any chicken issues, observe the fruits of my labor, relax on the porch, take care of pet chores, and occasionally move other goals forward.

My brain is currently trying to envision a weekend routine that will free me up for more adventuring. What I’m working on is a quick cleaning routine of the main spaces that need attention weekly: My bedroom, my office, the kitchen & living room, and outside chores – which my goal is mostly to plan out those indoor chores so I can spend the majority of my time in autumn outside. If I break it down, what I can do is tidy my office after work on Friday, tidy up my bedroom before I start the day Saturday, and tidy the kitchen and living room Saturday afternoon. That leaves all Sunday for outdoor and creative things (including cooking! So maybe one more cleaning routine of the kitchen Sunday night would be good.)

I started working the plan today, and my bedroom is currently tidy. It’s not spotless, but I have other cleaning tasks in my system for that. This routine is just to make things tidy so my headspace is clear and I’m not feeling like I need to be doing something else when I’m already doing a thing. I’m about to run my weekend errands, and then I’m going to tackle the kitchen and watch youtube videos of people cleaning their spaces while I clean the living room. 🙂 Wish me luck & let me know if you have any routines that help you stay motivated to do the things you DON’T love so you can enjoy the things you DO love to do.

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