Planning your day

Managing your daily routine

30 Mar 2020
Caroline O'Mahony

Jessie Barr is a Performance Psychologist at the Sport Ireland Institute working with a number of sports including Cycling Ireland, the Irish Sailing Association and Swim Ireland.  Jessie is currently working with High Performance athletes and helping them to navigate their way through the current situation. The advice below outlines some key things you can do to help your mental health and anxiety in uncertain times. 

Many of us are creatures of habit. We are used to having a plan and a routine to create structure in our days. Unfortunately our routines have been thrown out the window at the moment, and in it's place is uncertainty and unpredictability, which can make us feel stressed and anxious. While we can't remove uncertainty from our lives at the moment, we can learn to adapt to the change and accept the "new normal". Within that new comes new routines! 

A routine is defined as "a sequence of actions that you do repeatedly". Having a daily routine provides us with the sense of stability that we may otherwise be lacking. They can help us feel more at ease by giving us back some control over our lives.

Many of us probably think of routines and planning as boring and rigid. However, in these challenging times when so much is different, they can help create a sense of comfort and familiarity. 

For most of us our usual daily routine revolved around work and training. Even though this routine has changes, we can still provide some structure to our day. Below are some of our tips for planning your new daily routine to help you feel a little bit more productive, or at the very least stop the days from all merging into one!

  1. Your sleep-wake cycle is the first controllable variable. That is going to bed and waking up at similar times each day. This provides a foundation for your overall well-being and is the starting point of a good routine.
  2. Figure out when you are most productive during the day. Are you a night owl or a lark? This can help you plan your day accordingly.
  3. Write out a list of your daily tasks that you need to / would like to achieve. 
  4. Prioritise these tasks accordingly. 
  5. Plan your day in advance (ideally the night before). You will be more likely to execute your plan, and it removes uncertainty about what your day is going to look like. 
  6. Do your research. There are lots of regular online exercise classes, and interactive activities being provided at the moment. Could these be added to / benefit your routine?
  7. Make yourself accountable - you will be more likely to stick to a plan if you write it down or tell someone else about your intentions.
  8. And finally, embrace the opportunities this time is providing you, rather than focusing on what it has taken away from you. 


"To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities" 

Bruce Lee
Jessie Barr