Hello, Routine, how I have missed you!

One of my goals for this coming year is to make more of the benefits of routine.

Routine does not come naturally to me, and for most of my life I have preferred the adrenalin kick of a chaotic lifestyle. At least, that is what my internal systems have always believed. A girl can have too much chaos in her life at times however and I found myself last night actually feeling excited at the prospect of Mr L’s return to work today. It dawns on me that I do enjoy a  routine. Perhaps routine is too strong a word for it, maybe “a loose framework” is the concept that I am struggling to grasp here. You know… the simple separation between work days and non-work days. The eating of meals at relatively organised times. Fundamental housework tasks being effected and not totally neglected. Simple stuff.

Heck – who am I kidding? What I really like is that Mr L is safely tied to his desk, leaving my time free to do pretty much as I please — so long as lunch is ready for 1pm  or thereabouts. The bit that I truly dislike is the housework. The mundane routine of living. I escape from that as much as I can — and I end up doing stuff because it really cannot wait any longer and must be done right now.  I finish by resenting the work even more. Of course, in escaping the drudgery, I procrastinate (who mentioned Popcap?) The outcome is that I get very little done at all.

Now, I recognise that a proper routine will free up lots more time in which to do the things that I want to do. It has been said before. Many times. This time, I really want to achieve it. I am getting old. There isn’t much time left and there is so much to be achieved. I must make more time and space in my life. What I need to do is to work out why my goals in this respect are always doomed to failure.

Am I too strict?

Is there a part of my psyche that says that “routine” is necessarily boring, mundane, and inherently worthy – that in order to establish a “routine” I actually have to begin doing the things that I hate in order to earn the privilege of time to do the things that I want to do? No wonder that I fail!

Writing down on a sheet of paper: Monday – laundry, Tuesday – vaccuming, Wednesday…. etc. It is never going to work for me, is it? It just makes me ready to weep after the first four days.

What a challenge! I need to establish a routine that works for me — one that keeps me happy and productive, and one that I can stick to. It needs to free up time by directing my daily hours into production rather than avoidance.

One thing that I do know is that I have to meet this challenge now and not defer it until later, or it will not be done. Today is the day for finding my daily structure, not forgetting that today is always today and tomorrow never comes.

Writing it down like this is helping me to see that I need to apportion my time more loosely than I have attempted before. I can “gift” some hours to the house and garden but I do not need to timetable the activities. I can cast around each day for the most necessary and/or appealing tasks, and just get on with them for the allotted time, before settling down to my “me” time.

I think that it might work. It might even see the house in a more orderly state! To be honest, as long as it makes more time for me to continue to learn to spin and to weave — I don’t really care. I also want to factor in more exercise time, more time to consolidate the dogs and their training, and get back to doing some papercrafts and some writing. At the same time, I don’t want my knitting productivity to suffer but I really want to be less one-dimensional.

You know, there really is no time for washing up!


It is a tall order, but I do mean to whip this thing into submission. Hopefully I’ll get back to my blogging routine as an outcome of this process.

I said today was the start, so I’d better offer up a little WIP Wednesday detail…

The first of a pair of “ferry socks”, second one not yet cast on – Opal Surprise (from p2tog.com) and my tailored adapatation of the simple sock pattern that comes with Opal yarn. For Mr L.

My Mingus sock. Started in August 2008! Revived this week and I am going for the finish. Knitted in Bonny from The Yarn Yard. For me. Still on the first sock, put away after the first repeat. Now half of the seond leg repeat done.

Mostly my effort this week will be in the Bridgewater edging, with its 14 hours remaining…

EDIT: I forgot to add. One other thing that I have in progress is a quantity of frogging. I am being honest with my UFOs and dispensing with those I truly do not care about. First up is my Rhytidome triangle. It got off to a bad start and left me feeling averse to it. The awful rhubarb-and-custard yarn did not help. Why force myself to be disciplined about the project? I hate it! So it is currently in my desk, being rewound into a ball. I feel liberated. Anybody want to recycle some rhubarb-and-custard laceweight merino?

I should probably go to town tomorrow. That gives me some difficulty as my ferry socks needle has found its way into my Mingus project, but Mingus is just a little too attention-seeking for taking along to Kirkwall. If I go shopping, I shall need to find a small and easily portable simple project somewhere in my UFO pile. It would be good to take the Bridgewater but it’s a bit too unwieldy to knit on the boat and then carry around all day with my groceries!

Right – back to routine — there are cat trays awaiting my attention. Sigh.

PS – I do know how very lucky I am, and how selfish, to be able to say “s*d the housework” and just play. It is great, being old. 🙂


  1. January 5, 2011

    As a man of constant leisure I find that inertia prevents me from performing (un)necessary household tasks, but eventually the pressure of undone tasks will overcomes it. That and boredom. Every now and then I get a strong urge to clean, tidy, shop, repair etc. I try to lie down somewhere quiet until the feeling passes.

    and you’re not allowed to be old. Not now, not never, no way ever at all. Because if you get old then I will be old six months later and this can never be as I will always be Young.

    Right, time for this month’s bath.

    • January 6, 2011

      Oh, Nev, and I always thought you to be a man of constant /pleasure/ !

  2. January 5, 2011

    For a second, I thought I wrote this post until I got to the point of your projects and realized I’m not that good of a knitter. I, too struggle with scheduling my days. I find that I want to quickly check something on the internet before I get down to writing (my “day” job) and several hours later was sucked into the void and got nothing accomplished. Then I scrambled to at least clean up the house a little before my husband comes home from work. I think there is a time and a place for strict schedules, but if you don’t have to have one, don’t stress yourself out. As long as everything is getting completed, that’s all that matters.

    • January 6, 2011

      Alas, I have no Day Job, and the old man works at home.

      As long as everything is getting completed, that’s all that matters.

      Ah, this is my point. Nothing ever gets completed around here, apart from knitting projects and very occasional spinning ones.

  3. January 5, 2011

    Quite a few years ago I tried Flylady and while it worked, it was too structured for me. I’ve modified the program quite a bit and find that a couple small routines help the house run smoothly and I have more time for all the other stuff I want to do. Sometimes its hard, but whenever I get stuck I look at my routines and adapt them to the new reality.

    Good for you on the frogging! That was one of my tasks at the end of 2010. I got rid of the chaff and only have a handful of yummy projects..

    • January 6, 2011

      I’m afraid that I see Flylady as being for people who like housework or care about their houshold standards at least. I am in neither of those camps and would run a mile from such a regime. I’d be in the loony farm before the week was out if I even attempted Flylady.

      The frogging felt good. It is silly to stick to some ill-guided notion of discipline and work at something that is just never going to please me in any form at all. <— encapsulates my attitude to housework, actually

  4. January 5, 2011

    ooh i love the colour of you wip sock too cute

    • January 6, 2011

      Hi, Rachel – welcome to the blog. I found you in the Spam bucket and dug you back out. How’s Leeds? (My home in the years before I ran away to Scotland)

  5. Susan aka paintermom
    January 5, 2011

    Oh boy, Beth, I could SO have written this post! In my case, it is compounded by my ADD. Even when I have the energy to be productive, there is the risk that while doing task A, I will see task B and start part of that, etc. The end result is too often a day of partially-finished things with nothing ready to be crossed off the list.

    I must say I do love lists, though — especially the feeling of crossing things off when finished!

    Even when I give myself permission to do the things I love to do, I often procrastinate getting to those. What’s that about anyway?

    Happy New Year!


    • January 6, 2011

      Yes, I make lists from time to time but I am aware that I populate them in such a way as to guarantee success… and that is cheating. I never put the hard things on the list.

      Even when I give myself permission to do the things I love to do, I often procrastinate getting to those. What’s that about anyway?

      That’s usually depression, for me at least.

      When I was a young stay at home mum, I lived in a teeny flat that was very easily run. Still under the iron grip of my mother at that time, I dutifully cleaned and polished – but I always left at least one task unfinished each day, quite deliberately. I found that I felt very uncomfortable, knowing that everything was done and nothing was waiting for my attention. This I know is weird, most folk get satisfaction from ticking the while list off — I just felt very insecure. I would sit and read a book a day, every afternoon, happily knowing there was work to be done… somewhere.

  6. January 6, 2011

    I used to be one of those people who had a daily chore schedule and kept to it for about 6 months. Then I realized that I wasn’t enjoying my immaculately clean house or organized linen closet. It just wasn’t worth the aggravation. A house is for living and playing in, not a showroom. I’m much happier now that I’ve found a balance that works for me. Hope you find yours. Love your Mingus socks, gorgeous colors!

    • January 6, 2011

      Thank you!

      I just want to find more and more time to be Me, and Me is not somebody who cleans house. I need to be rich and employ somebody 🙂

      I think it’s a crisis of some kind. After spending most of my life being all things to all people, I find myself hurtling towards the grave without ever finding out who it is that I really am. A voice inside me keeps telling me that the work I have done in this respect (I have done a lot since quitting work in 2003) is not yet finished and there is much more to be discovered about me and my abilities… if I can find the time.

      There’s a sense of frustration niggling at me and I just cannot rid myself of it.

  7. January 6, 2011

    I used to have a routine when the kids lived at home and I worked. Since they grew up and I injured my back over a decade ago, all routine has been thrown out the window.

    I love that Opal sock. Very pretty.

    • January 6, 2011

      I never truly achieved a routine, even when working full time, commuting 120 miles a day, studying for a part time OU degree (then a part time Masters), and raising a family all at the same time. I got through it all in some kind of way, but never with planning or structure. I just muddled through

      I have to be honest. I know that I need to establish one, now that the structure of work is gone, but routine is simply an alien concept to me and I am really going to have to work at the discipline if I am to achieve it. Without it, I am simply wasting the time that I have left to me.

      I love the Opal sock too. Wish it was mine! I have a very fortunate husband 🙂

  8. January 6, 2011

    Lol I am one of those weirdos that loves and needs to have routines.

  9. January 7, 2011

    That’s not weirdo. I think it’s as normal as I am. There is clearly a spectrum from the totally-rubber-gloved OCD to the not-been-mucked-out-in-a-month-may-I-blame-ADD type.

    makes the world go around 🙂
    (and I envy you, just a little – it must make life easier and more efficient if one enjoys routine)

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