What Day Is It Again???

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

So far, through all this hunkering down and sheltering in place, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping track of which day it is. Monday through Saturday, that is. But somehow, Sundays have become a bit of an aberration. Sunday feels like it should be Saturday. Probably because I went into the weekend with a list of things to do and didn’t get started until Sunday afternoon.

My sister was a bit shocked to find out I get dressed for work every day. Yes, I work in my basement. Yes, video meetings are pretty much a headshot. I could be sitting here in my underwear with a regular shirt and nobody would know the difference. But invariably, I’d forget and step outside to check the mail. The neighbors have asked me not to do that anymore.

I’ve read things where they say you perform better if you comb your hair and dress the part. I’m no expert, but they did always appreciate pants when I was going to the office. I even wore a tie for about six months because my manager said it made me look professional and I was bucking for a promotion and … you know.

When it comes to clothing, people always have an opinion. “Dress for success!” “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” And my personal favorite: “Everyone looks good in a suit – even losers.”

I don’t mind dressing up. I’ve always believed that style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. And that’s good, because when some people speak, their clothes just vanish. Not from sight, but from prominence. It doesn’t matter how well-dressed you are if you’re a jerk.

But I think how we’re dressed does affect how we feel, and how we feel has some bearing on how we act. Put on a tie in the morning and you automatically feel like today is an important day, and you’ll be an important part of it. And people treat you better because of it. Put on a crumpled tee shirt and all of a sudden people are asking you to take out the trash.

Whether you’re working from home or waiting for the chance to go back to work, there’s something to be said for going through your morning routine and coming out on the other end looking presentable. It’s not about appearance as much as a sense of normality. It’s about reminding yourself that you’re worthy. It’s about being able to answer the door without putting on a robe.

I saw a welcome mat the other day that I would love to buy. It said, “Be patient – we’re probably not wearing pants.” Bet that’d send a few people away in a hurry. Like coughing in the grocery store. Some people need a reminder about this whole six-foot separation thing, and that one pretty well does the trick.

But to the extent that we can maintain some sense of normalcy right now, we’re that much better suited to come out smiling on the other end. And part of that means passing up the Ramen noodles for something a little more healthy. It’s especially important right now that we take care of our health … both physical and emotional. This is no time to get sick.

Home is a place where we should all be able to feel comfortable. But when home our place of work, the rules change just a little. And even if you’re not working right now, don’t fall victim to the habits of the terminally unemployed. The first two weeks are a vacation. After that, we need to at least pretend things are getting back to normal.

Habits are easy to form and hard to break. Sleeping late is nice for a day or two, but after a while it starts to wear you down. I love shorts and flip-flops, but they’ve never really made me feel like I was about to do something important. And I love a good cheeseburger as much as anybody, but when this is all over, I have to be able to actually fit into those work clothes again.

Go through the motions, whether anybody will notice or not. Get up and get dressed. Eat healthy. Keep your mind active. Keep the kids active. Set a routine and stick to it. Take your vitamins. Get some fresh air. Build your immunity. Everything in life may have changed, but the most important part hasn’t – you.

The first step in getting back to normal is simply acting normal. It may not make this all go away, but it’ll sure have a positive impact in how we get through it. And it’ll have a huge impact in how we move forward once it’s all over.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Want to Change the Outcome, Change the Routine

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

As you go through your morning routine each day, does it ever occur to you just how much of a routine that is? With very minor exceptions, most of us do pretty much the same thing every day from the moment we get up until we get to work or begin whatever activities normally consume our day. I suspect even retired people have a routine. I’m not there yet, but I’ll find out soon enough.

My dog makes sure at least part of that routine goes uninterrupted. He’s patient while I get a shower and get dressed. But about the time he thinks I should be done, he’s patiently tapping his paws on the floor, waiting for me to sit in the recliner, give him his morning hug, and then let him out while I fill his food bowl. Then he comes in and starts the vitamin dance. He gets two. And he can count.

Dogs are such creatures of habit. And we are, too. When you get up tomorrow morning, try changing up your routine. If you normally brush your teeth first, do something else. Go to the kitchen and get a glass of water. Then brush your hair. Yes, before you get in the shower. Who cares if you’ll have to do it again? The fun part of this exercise is to see just how much it throws off your routine.

You may want to make a checklist the night before, because odds are you’ll forget something. You’ll get halfway to work and realize your computer is still sitting by the front door. Believe me, I’ve done that one without even trying. When we skip any step in our routine, intentionally or not, we’re like that confused dog, trying to find our place so we can get back to normal.

It’s all a matter of habit – habits so deeply ingrained in our very being that we do them without even thinking. Like wiping your mouth after a sip of water or closing a pen before you put it in your pocket. Oh, we miss from time to time. Something distracts us and we forget to do something. And then you get home and see a big blob of ink on your shirt pocket and realize what you forgot. Oops!

I guess I’m showing my age, because most shirts don’t have pockets anymore. Somehow, pockets have gone out of style. At least that’s what my wife keeps telling me. And that’s for women, because you carry a purse that’s big enough to hold the contents of six dozen pockets. If I need someplace to put a ballpoint pen, I’ve only got a couple of choices.

 And just like our morning routines, we have tastes in clothing, food, décor, and a bunch of other things that we’re reluctant to change. Are blue shirts a habit with me? Not really. But I do like blue shirts – with pockets. But, just like my favorite Halloween candy (peanut butter kisses), they’re getting harder and harder to find. So, I have to adapt. Reluctantly, I’ll admit. But I don’t have much choice.

We all like to think we’re spontaneous, but we’re creatures of habit more than we think. And if we want to change the direction of our lives, we have to change some of those habits. Because, just like a model train, the track always leads to the same destination unless we do something to change it. The train can’t make any turns on its own – it simply follows the track. Real trains do that, too.

It’s fun to watch a train run around in circles, but after a while it gets a little boring. The same thing happens when we put ourselves on a circular track where the scenery never changes. We get up every day at the same time, do the same things, follow the same routines, and then wonder why life never changes. It’s pretty simple. If you want to move ahead, you have to get on another track.

And that means shaking things up a bit. You have to break the routine and change some of those long-held habits. You might even have to try a different kind of candy or find someplace else to put your pen. But it’s the only way to move from where you are now to where you want to be.

Change is difficult, but you’ve done it before. All you have to do is decide on a new direction and break the routine enough to follow that path. The change may be so subtle, you barely even notice. But like a ship at sea, the smallest change can lead you to an entirely new destination. Set yourself on a new course and follow it to the end. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved