In a busy, fast-paced society, it’s easy to let time get ahead of us. We are inundated with choices of what to do, ranging between what we need to do and what we want to do. In the cloud of these choices, it’s difficult to make our time meaningful, to use our time serving and honoring God.
In my days of seminary, I remember studying how monks sanctified time by only choosing to do two things with their day—work and pray. They believed this was what all humanity was created to do, so they boiled everything down into this routine. In doing so, they were able to be in control of their time, ensuring that it was adding value to the world while also honoring God.
This is what routines do: they sanctify our time.
Routines capture our essential activities and make them into daily habits. They ensure we don’t waste our time being idle or doing something of no value.
We see Jesus Himself practice routine. In the mornings, He would typically retreat by Himself to go pray. And then when He would arrive in towns, He would teach and heal.
Routines make sure our time is meaningfully being used.
But if I’m being honest, it’s difficult for me to establish routine. I have a work schedule that is fluid. I never know when I am going to be called in. With this uncertainty, it’s hard for me to stick to a routine.
Maybe you’re in the same situation. Maybe your work schedule has you working so much that it’s hard to create a routine that adds value to your life.
In this time however, I have enacted a couple measures that allow me to get close to having a set routine. Here are some of the tips I’ve gathered on developing a routine:
1. Clarify what’s important
I don’t have a strict routine because it’s difficult with my work schedule, but I do have a set of activities that I do at the same time every day that I get a chance. The reason I do these activities is because I’ve deemed them as being the most important things I get done. These activities are my devotional and my writing. No matter what, I do these things every day because they are important.
Among all the things you do, clarify what’s important and commit to doing those activities each day.
2. Wake up at the same time
When we have a fluid schedule, it’s easy to set our alarm at different times according to when we have to go to work. But in desiring a routine, I no longer do this. I wake up at 5 each weekday morning, even when I don’t have to go into work. Doing so allows me to keep the consistency of doing my most important activities of a devotional and writing in the early morning.
3. Always keep a Sabbath
It’s good to not only establish a rhythm daily, but to zoom out a bit and set a weekly rhythm as well. Keeping a Sabbath adds rhythm to your week, and allows your routine to protect your most important asset—yourself.
4. Create themed days
When you have the option of choosing the work you get to do each day, you can add rhythm to that as well by creating themed days. For example, you can make Monday “Marketing Day” or Tuesday “Children’s Day.” Repeating themes each week can create a routine that protects what’s important to you.
5. Commit to your routine
Your routine will never become habit if you don’t take it seriously. Try your hardest to keep everything at the same time each day.
Also, you want to make sure that your routine is not something that is harmful to you and your relationship with God. Only make the activities which are consistent with your beliefs into a routine.
Routines may not seem like they’re making much of a difference in the small run, but over time, you’ll find your impact and your faith will benefit from a consistent routine.
Photography by Ondrej Supitar
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