Every farm girl – especially dairy farm girls – knows the importance of a routine. Lord knows the cows do. You get up at the same ungodly hour every morning come rain or shine or blizzard (or, in one extremely unusual case, come tornado). You run through the same set of chores every day. The cows depend on it, you depend on it. The day you don’t follow that routine is inevitably a bad day indeed.
It’s ironic how much I had been reading up on the importance of routines in work-life just prior to all hell breaking loose with this pandemic. Of course, all the advice was stuff was pretty common sense, but it is somehow reassuring to read articles from university researchers and leadership management experts about the benefits (higher productivity! lower stress! better sleep!). I was also validating the case of I have been building to convince coworkers that, for the sake of the business, of my morning ritual time is absolutely sacred and therefore cannot be scheduled over by some sadist who thinks their meeting is way more important than my morning workout. (Success has been limited so far.)
Today, as we face a new reality under shelter-in-place and social distancing rules, routines aren’t just a productivity tool – they’re a matter of survival.
When working from home, it would be so easy to adopt whatever your weekend routine is, which for some might include sleeping in until late morning then proceeding to stay in your pajamas and binge watch Netflix for the rest of the day. (I never kicked the farm girl hours, so personally I wouldn’t know. And, frankly, that sounds downright boring to me. But, hey, to each his own.)
Don’t succumb to the temptation. Lesson 1 from the Farm Girl’s Survival Guide: stick to your pre-pandemic routine.
Slippers and sweats are not proper pandemic attire. Farm Girl Survival Guide Lesson #1: Maintain a routine.
Get up at the normal work-morning hour, exercise, shower and get dressed in work-appropriate attire, even throw some makeup on, ladies. Then get down to business on time, maybe even a bit early. The commute time has significantly improved now, after all.
Why should you not take advantage of the situation more? After all, no one is really going to know if you’re lounging around in your sweats all day, or you haven’t increased your heart rate beyond what it takes to get up out of your chair and walk over to the fridge for food, right?
Ah, but you’ll know. And right now, this is all about mental fortitude. It’s about staying on your game and keeping sharp, strong, sane, in control. Once you let that go, well, it’s like you’re leaving the barn door open.
For god’s sake, we cannot give the cows, dogs, or whatever animals are roaming your neighborhood a fighting chance at moving in on our species.
They might look innocent, but let your guard down and you’re inviting a hostile takeover.
Take it from a former farm girl, they are not to be trusted.