Routines, They’re Like the Snuggly Duvet Over Your Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about routines lately.  Kids need them, but why?  Some quick research tells me that routine gives kids a sense of “security” and “self discipline.”  I think it gives the same sense of security to adults…and to dogs.



My dog is an adorable wack-a-loon when it comes to her routine.  We live in a loft space with our bedroom upstairs.  If we forget to bring the dog’s bed down at around 8pm, she’ll take herself upstairs and put herself to bed.  It’s hilarious.  As she’s going up the stairs, her little doggie body seems to be saying, “Time for bed” or “I’ve had enough of you humans” or “I’d rather dream about chasing squirrels.”  Whatever it is, 8pm hits, and she’s outta there.


routines, kids, dogs, adults

“It’s bedtime, feckers.”


Back when I was more of a comic instead of a writer, I had very late hours.  Often it was common for me to come home between 1 and 2am.  I would wake up the next day around 10am.  Sometimes earlier if I had a lot of work, but almost always by 10am.  Now that I write more than do comedy, I’m up by 730am.  I start writing somewhere between 8am and 9, depending on what I have to do first.


I like this morning ritual a lot.  I’ll make coffee, sometimes drive Wifesy to work, and then I’ll sit at the computer and type, type, type.


When I first started this blog, my thought process was let’s do the blog post first thing.  I wanted to get it out of the way.  Currently, I’m writing twitter jokes first and scheduling them to publish throughout the day and then I write my blog post.  It’s not easy to make myself go back to the blog after all that, but go back I do.  With the blog and twitter done, it’s any other writing or promotion I have to do next.  Before I know it, Wifesy is home or it’s time to go pick her up.


I quite literally have no problem writing all day.  I’m not saying it’s all good.  I’m simply saying that writing for 8 hours a day is not a problem for me, as long as there’s a mental break or two in there to help me recharge.  My mental breaks usually consist of me making some lunch and throwing on, “House Hunter Renovations” or something similar.


Routine gives me a feeling of things moving forward.  It gives me this sense of a body of work growing and a craft being refined.  That’s why I’ve always found it amazing when other people have said to me, “Oh, I have to have a day-job in order to create at all.  If I have a (non-creative) day-job then I have structure and I can create in my off-time.”


In my off-time, I’m just off.


routine, schedules

“Everyday I push this weird, feckin’ pine cone and it’s paying off. I’m the best car-in-neutral pusher at the Convention for Weird Skills, year after year.”


I’m not saying one is better than the other and everyone has to do what’s right for them, but -for me- creating a working schedule that consists of me writing is the ONLY way that anything happens.  If I don’t have a certain amount of ACT (ass in chair time) then nothing improves or happens.  I guess you could say it gives me a sense of security over my work.  It’s why I like blogging so much and posting on a (close to) everyday basis.


There was a comic who I used to know that I’ll call, “4pm.”  I’m calling him 4pm because that’s what time he got up everyday, literally.  I could never function that way.  I know he thought it was cool.  He was a comic.  He had this great job that never circled around a 9 to 5.  However, for me, all I could think was, “WHEN IN THE FECK DOES HE GO TO THE POST OFFICE??!!”  I just couldn’t imagine running my life at the opposite of the 12 hour clock from everyone else.  Mainly because a reverse schedule means running errands would be ridiculously hard chore to get done.  Stupid reason, maybe, but for me routine makes me feel more in control…of life.  And more…writerly.


What about you?  What makes sense to you?  Routine or improvisation?



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Photo creds:

delish-bed, bulldog, pine-cone



24 thoughts on “Routines, They’re Like the Snuggly Duvet Over Your Life

    1. true. you have to leave room for that or you’ll go nuts. i f up my routine some days too. especially if wifesy’s off then it’s much harder. thanks for reading, miss. :0 sm

    1. that’s a routine, if you ask me. i like that you leave the house too. sometimes i think much better when i leave my environment. not always, but often. new stimuli and all that. 😉 sm

      1. The great thing is, I have this epic little corner seat, and my back is to the rest of the world. Headphones go on, Spotify is cranked, and I’m even more in my own little world than usual. If you come to Baltimore, I’ll show it to you. I think you’d like the place.

      2. i love coffeehouses. seriously. i look them up when i go to different places. and for sure i’m coming to see yours when i get to baltimore, which i like to think of as john waters land… xo, sm

  1. I definitely like my routine, but as a Sheldon, that probably doesn’t surprise you. And as much as it’s no fun getting up early, I’m glad to do it, because I get started on the day earlier. I would feel out of sorts if I slept till noon (not that I could, anyway; kids have to get to school; errands have to be done, etc.)

    That being said, I happily throw all routine out on vacation. During that time, I want nothing of my usual.

    1. david geffen used to get up at 4am in LA bc that’s when everyone was going to work in NY. i’ll never be that dedicated. but, i do like my writerly thing/ routine. and yes, sheldon, i knew you had a good routine, what with the treadmill tray and all. looool. xo, sm

  2. I’m a professional slacker. I get less done in one day than most people can ever hope to not accomplish in an entire lifetime of slacking.

    That dog is NOT a wack-a-loon. She just knows what she wants. 🙂

    1. i am just forever grateful that you used the word ‘wack-a-loon’ back to me. seriously. i loved it. i find it hard to believe that you’re a slacker. your blog is so goddermned prolific…

  3. I like the routine thing, that’s why I gave myself a schedule this year. I started out last year with a Post-a-day attitude and it almost killed me (almost got me fired from my day job too – but that’s for a different day) Then I decided to just write when I felt like it. No good thoughts meant no good post, so I would wait. The problem with that is all the good thoughts came at the same time and I wasn’t able to save them back, or space them out like I should have. Now I think I have a handle on it. Tonight I’m going to write my “Whatever Wednesday” post and feel great about it. Now…only if I had something to write about. See you later Sweet Moms.

    That puppy picture and text was the funniest thing I’ve seen for a while. I used to have a dog like that and can relate. (Farty much?)

  4. I believe that if you work at home, routine is a must. But right now, “routine” implies work and I’ll have none of that, thank you. Thank you very much.

  5. I have a routine when I’m working that night. It’s my only schedule/ritual and I feel a little out of whack when it doesn’t happen, no biggie just not as prepared and calm.
    Best way to get a scorching around here is to interrupt my getting ready schedule/ritual.
    Portia xx

  6. I am strange, that is all just strange. No matter when I go to bed my eyes open at 4:15am. I cannot stay in bed after my eyes open. Since I am an independent contractor, depending on who my clients are at the time and whether wake in a hotel or at home will somewhat direct my morning. I will either work on some writing, do some research, read the world news and catch up with what friends have to say as I sip my coffee for an hour or I will work. If I am not working with a client at the time my first three hours of the morning are the above, then it is whatever I have planned for the day, usually chasing new clients.

    Some mornings, if I couldn’t sleep and stayed up to late (1-2) then I will just sip coffee and read.

  7. I try to have a routine, but recently my work schedule has been all over the proverbial place. I find it really exhausting, not knowing the exact details of when I’m working/relaxing/writing/etc, particularly now that we’re into the busy season at work. Once I’m back in school for the semester and there’s a bit of consistency of “get up, go to class, have office hours, write, work,” I’ll probably be less stressed. I’ll be a LOT busier, but I’ll oddly be less stressed, because I’ll know what I have to get done and when.

  8. My one and only routine seems to be ‘get on the computer’ when I get home from work. I keep trying to make it a cleaning routine so it is out of the way first. Now my cats get upset if I don’t go to bed when they think I should. They also think that anytime I come in the front door means I should now feed them. Even if I just fed them and went back to my car to get something. They would also get very upset with me for coming home early when I’m supposed to be at work. It isn’t part of the normal pattern and they don’t like the disruption.

  9. I need routine and structure – otherwise I procrastinate. I have a recurring calendar event for brainstorming – it makes me set aside the time. I know a lot of creatives get pegged as disorganized – but without organization I would never get to the creative part.

    PS – my dogs LOVE routine – they eat in the same order, sleep at the same time – if I try to sleep in they won’t let me be.

  10. As you get older, your routine becomes your bucket list. You wake up in the morning, look around, yell “I’M ALIVE! I’M ALIVE!” And then I check “Waking Up” off my list. Number two on my list is, ironically enough, “Number two.”

  11. I love the idea of routines, but I’m more of a where-the-winds-take-me type.
    However, I bet I am more routine-driven than I realize: I just read “The Power of Habit,” and most of our behavior is basically a bunch of routines, habit loops of Cue-Routine-Reward.

  12. Usually I just sit down, STEAL an idea or two and just start typing. It’s like the words just FLOW through my hands. You are very funny by the way. Do you still DO stand-up?

    1. sooz, thank you for the kind words. your comment is also hilarious. i DO still do stand up. tho less than i used to way back when. i’ll probably never stop doing it to some degree. it’s like a second skin now. much love, sm

  13. im a routine kind of soul..not that i have any other option…everyday i spend 8-9 hours at work..come home and then im up till2 am ..which makes me a misery next day and it continues …i stay up late because i need to watch few episodes and then write the blog..if i dont do this im sad…
    Sweet Mom i look forward to weekends because thats when i do any kind of story writing… i have two stories that i keep working on…so i think i fall in a routine person category …if i dont watch my episodes, dont blog and dont write on weekend…i am a lost soul…

  14. I NEED a routine so that I can be spontaneous. Does that make sense…? If I don’t have a routine, I go crazy actually. I just sit around in my PJs all day like a fat feck and refuse to do anything. I like putting in a productive day and then I’ll feel the need to get all my creativity out via my blog when I get home. Like right now…me being up at this hour is because that damn hot green tea latter screwed me over.

    Also, I don’t mind rewarding myself when I have a good routine going, because I need to routinely reward myself with spontaneity otherwise I go crazy. Ya keeping up. So I need to be routinely spontaneous within my routine otherwise I LOSE IT.

    Hence my random bouts of travel that I’ll book one crazy night and end up going weekend after weekend to different parts of the US 😛

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