Creating a routine around your work schedule makes sense for a lot of people, but it’s not always easy to do. If you have a job where your work schedule changes every week, making a routine around that can be a challenge. You can still have a good routine, though, by understanding what your priorities need to be and determining how to work them into your day at different times. Then you can still get them done around the schedule, even when it’s not the same. Here are some suggestions to get started.
1. Make Use of a Planner
When you use a digital or written planner, you can record the priorities and tasks you have to do each week. For example, if you want to exercise one hour a day, it probably doesn’t matter if you do it at 6am or 6pm. One week you might be able to go to the gym before work, and the next week you’ll have to go after work because your hours are different. You could also consider investing in a home gym, to add to your flexibility. By addressing each task and priority in that way, you can work around your work schedule more easily.
2. Block Out Your Calendar
Some things just can’t be changed. Your bank is only open during certain hours, for example, so if you need to complete a transaction at a bank branch, you’ll have to go during those hours. The same thing is true for the post office and a lot of other businesses. If you have things to take care of each week and they have to be done at certain times, consider blocking out those times or days and making sure your work schedule is created around them.
3. Speak Up for Yourself
Let your employer and coworkers know what’s going on in your life and what you’re juggling when it comes to work and your other obligations. You might have children you need to pick up from daycare by a certain time each day, or maybe you’re in graduate school. Maybe both of those things are going on in your life. No matter what’s happening, though, being up-front about it is important. Make sure you take some time for yourself, too. It’s not all about working and helping others.
4. Talk to Your Friends and Colleagues
It’s a possibility that other people in your life are going through similar things. If that’s the case, they might be able to help you. Maybe you and a friend can alternate who picks up your children each week, if your work schedules are different. There needs to be a give and take with one another, and you can help to create and encourage that by talking with people you trust about what you can do next to develop a better routine. When you reach out to and work with people, it’s often easier to accomplish more and have a higher level of security and peace of mind, too.
5. Try a New Routine, and Record What Works
Commit to a new routine for 30 days, and see how it works. Even if your work schedule changes each week, you can still make a 30-day plan. For example, you can decide to go to the gym before work if you have to be at work by a particular time or later. You can go after work if you get off work at a specific time or earlier. You can also decide to do things like banking and visiting the post office on a day when your work hours fall between pre-determined times. That might mean it’s a different day each week, but you’ll still have time to do it.
The more you plan things out and keep track of what works and what doesn’t, the better chance you’ll have of establishing routines that give you what you need to be successful and still get downtime, as well. You don’t have to be all things to all people, at work or at home. Give yourself some grace, and remember that you’re only human. Trial and error really will be a big part of your life until you find a routine that’s just right for your needs and your changing schedule. But don’t give up. The right routine is out there, and you’ll know it when you find it.