Good morning! The format of today’s post will be a little different than what you’re used to, and I hope it’s effective, for a variety of reasons. In this week’s blog, I want to walk you through an example of my stringent daily routine— but before we get to the actual walkthrough, let me talk a little bit about why routine is so important to me.
I’ve always needed to have a solid schedule— I’m the kind of person who thrives when I’m busy, not even in the sense of constantly running around (although I do do that) but just setting a list of tasks for myself. I wrote about executive dysfunction a few months back on this blog, but to give you a refresher, it’s one of my biggest arch-nemeses. Executive dysfunction is common in autistic and ADHD people, as well as those struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Basically, it’s when your free time escapes you and you accomplish barely anything if nothing at all. It’s the name for when you accidentally spend the whole afternoon scrolling social media, or procrastinating on homework, or any number of other “unproductive” distractions.
For me, executive dysfunction is the biggest obstacle standing between me and what I consider a productive day. I have a number of strategies to keep executive dysfunction in check, the most important of which is my daily to-do list. The tasks vary based on the day, and some days’ to-do lists are longer than others, but it’s always there, and it’s immensely satisfying to reach the end of the day and realize I’ve crossed everything off.
A close second to the to-do list is another factor, which feels like a given but is still really important. My daily routine is crucial. I’d like to do a post on this blog in the future about what happens when expected routine is interrupted, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Instead, I want to walk you through a typical Monday, as it stands in my college life. Every day of the week is a little bit different, but they also repeat themselves— at least in slightly related versions— so Monday is like Wednesday, and Tuesday is like Thursday.
Anyway. Let’s dive in.
5:34 AM: My alarm. Rise and shine. I tried this thing last year— my first year living alone— where I set multiple alarms, but that resulted in way too many instances of me accidentally turning them all off because my half-asleep brain thought there’d always be another one, so… one alarm this year. Much better.
6:00 AM: Morning prayer at my college’s abbey. This is a new thing I’ve started doing this year. It’s a good way to start the day for me.
6:45 AM: Out to run. If I don’t exercise on weekdays, it throws my whole physiological routine off.
7:15 AM: I get back to the dorm. This is followed by a little more exercise in my room (or, if I’m lucky, the gym, but the gym at my college has very senseless and stupid morning hours).
7:45 AM: By now I should be getting ready to shower. This part of the morning is generally the slowest of my day— waking up early means I can take my time getting ready.
8:00 AM: I’m done with my shower by now, and a variety of tasks ensue: packing my backpack, making tea, calling my mom.
8:45 AM: I use the time between now and the start of class to either finish work I haven’t gotten to yet, or start on my to-do list for the day. I usually don’t leave my room during this time.
9:30 AM: My first Monday-Wednesday-Friday class— intermediate Greek.
10:30 AM: My second class for the day— a 1968-present US history class.
11:20 AM: Believe it or not, this is the end of classes three days out of the week. From the building both those classes are in, I normally walk right to the mail room and check my box, and then to the dining hall to pick up fruit and whatever other food I feel like putting in my fridge.
12:00 PM: By now I’m back in my room again, and the next hour consists of probably doing my Greek homework or something else that needs to get done. A lot of the free time is dedicated to situational stuff that varies based on what’s going on in my classes or my remote internship.
12:30 PM: Over to the dining hall for lunch.
1:00 PM: I clock in at work. I have two on-campus jobs this semester, one of which is brand-new, but this is my job from last year, in the dining hall bakery. It’s the highest paying department on campus, plus you get a discount on your meal card. All to scoop cookie dough. It’s a good deal.
5:00 PM: Work is done for the day. On my way back to the dorm, I pick up something for dinner and put it in my fridge. In my room, I make more family phone calls and unload my backpack.
6:00 PM: Choir rehearsal. My choir practices on Mondays and Wednesdays, and performs weekly at Sunday night mass.
7:00 PM: More rehearsal— but this time for my other mass-related music activity, the music ministry for Wednesday night student masses. We usually pick music and test keys on Mondays.
8:00 PM: From here, my schedule diverges based on whether it’s Monday or Wednesday— but since this is Monday, it means I head back to my room. I finally get around to eating dinner pretty quickly after those rehearsals are over, and I’m in for the night.
8:30 PM: After I eat, it’s probably writing or reading time. I don’t do a ton of homework in the evenings— I prefer to get it done during the awkward hours between classes and obligations.
10:00 PM: I’m in bed and done for the day.
This is a very typical example of a daily schedule that helps me keep my routine in check. I thrive on this schedule— it keeps me in line, and I always feel productive at the end of a good day. I’m not making this blog post to show you that I’m busy, because honestly, Mondays and Wednesdays are my busy days, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are much less on the move. As for weekends… they’re anyone’s guess.
That’s all for right now! Here’s where else to find me.
Next Time: Feeling weird.