Has 2020 met your expectations?

Wait! Don’t toss something at the computer screen.

Of course, the answer is a resounding NO WAY!

There may have been a relatively small number of people who saw this coming, but I’m sure you and I weren’t among them.

It’s hard when a family member or friend doesn’t meet our expectations. It takes it to a whole new level when an entire year fails to meet them.

You’ve heard it countless times before: there’s no use trying to change what’s beyond our control.

Twenty-twenty has confirmed that there are far more things beyond our control than any of us realized.

Words and phrases like “shelter in place,” “stay at home orders,” “coronavirus,” “COVID-19”—and even “pivot”—weren’t previously part of our day-to-day vocabulary. And many of us wish they would all just go away.

We don’t, however, have to remain weighed down by these words and their meaning. There are things we can do to move forward. We can create new expectations, factoring in the vocabulary of 2020.

Routine may be another word that’s on your A Few of My Least Favourite Things list.

Sure, when I was working as a church administrator, I had a routine. However, my schedule had lots of flexibility and I loved that.

I announced my resignation early this year. The plan was for me to train my replacement over the summer and be out of the office mid-August. And that’s what happened.

But then new challenges presented themselves.

This is not a vacation, Stephanie.

What should I do to earn money consistently? (I knew I was going to write and edit, but running your own business rarely provides consistent income.)

Where can I cut costs?

How will I keep all the plates spinning, even though I’m not working at the church anymore?

And yes …

How will I create a routine that works for the long haul?

First, I tried to plan my days using a timesheet. This is so out of character, I suspected it wouldn’t work. I was right. (It also reaffirmed to me that there aren’t enough hours in the day.)

And then, I decided to put a plan in action that I’d been mulling over for some time.

I created a Focus of the Day schedule.

My new routine looks like this: Monday – intern work and business building; Tuesday & Wednesday – editing; Thursday – writing; Friday – doula recertification studies; Saturday – creating something beautiful; and Sunday – worshipping and recharging.

Of course, I have other things to accomplish each day, but as I use these tasks as my daily focus, I’m getting far more done.

So, maybe I’m not as opposed to routine as I thought.

And expectations?

Well, I still don’t know what’s going to happen regarding COVID-19, but I do know that I have a plan of attack.

As a believer in Jesus, I know I can trust Him to oversee everything—even when my routine has to change, even when my expectations look nothing like the reality surrounding me.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).

How about you? Do you have a routine established?
Does it help you deal with your expectations?
I’d love to hear what works for you.