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I Followed A Militaristic Routine For A Week (Well, I Tried)

You wake up late on a weekend, spend hours under the oven-like covers, become clammier with every passing minute, scroll through social media, until you look at the clock and realise half the day has passed. It’s a gut wrenching moment. We’ve all been there.

My routine is haphazard, orderless, chaotic, unsystematic (yes, I did Google synonyms). Not having a fixed routine can easily be romanticised as having freedom. But, actually, a lack of organisation has shackled me to a life of stress and a swamp of assignments that are yet to be started and due sooner than I would like. Some people don’t have to follow a fixed routine to remain self-disciplined and to get things done. But I realised that whatever I was doing, I wasn’t doing it right and it definitely wasn’t working for me.

Usually, I set my alarm early every morning, knowing I’m going to snooze it anyways. I write a to-do list, knowing I won’t complete half of it by the time I told myself I would. And every day I tell myself, “Tomorrow will be the day I wake up early. Tomorrow will be the day I complete that assignment I’ve been dreading.” Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.



Well, tomorrow has finally arrived. (but not today, because it’s a Sunday, and starting a new routine would be perfect for a Monday.) But, on a serious note, it’s time I pull myself together. My exam timetable was created by the devil himself, and I’m hoping I write the last exams of my life on a good note.

Initially, I wanted to devise a rigid routine with activities planned in hourly blocks, but I realise that some flexibility is necessary to make my routine work in my everyday life. I hope my routine will be conducive towards studying during consolidation week. I have set the following goals for the upcoming week:

  1. Wake up at 04:45 and be at my desk by 05:30.
  2. Limit phone use to fifteen minutes at night.
  3. Devise a meal plan and stick to it.
  4. Study a lot. I’m not specifying an amount of hours; thorough studying is often achieved when you don’t exert yourself too much (this is what I tell myself lol).

My meal plan isn’t gourmet, but it’s healthy, quick and easy, which is perfect for this time of the year. Dinner will be the following:

  • Monday: salad with roasted sweet potato fries
  • Tuesday: burger
  • Wednesday: stir fry (green beans, chickpeas, baby tomatoes, peppers) in a wrap
  • Thursday: Lentil curry
  • Friday: Stir fry
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Sandwich (with cucumber and tomatoes, so it passes the health test)




  • I’ve disappointed myself by not waking up at 04:45. It seems like a ridiculous expectation, actually. I was also not at my desk by 05:30 but on the bright side, I attended a class, which deserves some praise.
  • I checked my phone occasionally throughout the day, definitely lingering for more than 15 minutes at some points.
  • I did stick to my meal plan though. I am not a hopeless case after all.
  • I barely studied at all, maybe an hour at most.


  • Again, I stare disappointment in the face because I did not wake up at 04:45. I woke up at 06:45. Naturally, I was not at my desk by 05:30.
  • At 18:30 I checked my phone for the first time and I limited my usage to 15 minutes, but if I was on my phone for a bit longer than 15 minutes, it was for work purposes only.
  • I stuck to my meal plan.
  • I studied for approximately 6 and a half hour today.


  • You guessed it. I did not wake up at 04:45. I was up by 07:00, though.
  • I checked my phone a few times in the evening and afternoon, again mostly to communicate about work. But I’ll admit that I was on my phone for more than 15 minutes.
  • I did not make stir fry. Currently, as I’m writing this at 21:00, I’m still at the library.
  • I studied for 8 hours today.


  • I went to bed 01:00, so I was not able to wake up at 04:45. I woke up at 06:15.
  • I checked my phone only in the evening.
  • I made lentil curry, which, as nice as it was, took a few hours from my study time.
  • I studied for 6 hours today.


  • I woke up at 07:00.
  • I was on my phone for about 45 minutes, the accumulation of frequent WhatsApp visits throughout the night.
  • I made stir fry (garlic, mushrooms, butter beans, baby tomatoes, peppers).
  • It was an unproductive day and I was in bed before 23:00.




  • I dragged myself out of bed at 07:45.
  • It’s still morning but I’ve already checked my phone a few times.
  • Leftovers.
  • I did everything except study – I cleaned my room and did my laundry.


  • I woke up at 07:00.
  • I checked my phone for the first time around 17:00, and more frequently as it got later at night.
  • I made a sandwich.
  • I studied for seven and a half hours.


On a difficulty scale of 1 to 5, some aspects were a grueling 5 – the ultimate test of self-discipline (in which I failed), while other things were easier, like making food or not being on my phone as much. I noticed that as the day bled into night, I became less productive and less able to resist temptations (my bed and my phone). My most conducive study sessions were in the library, when I left my phone at home. I have learnt about myself that it’s easier for me to combat temptations if I remove myself from its snares completely. On the whole, my militaristic routine was not-so-militaristic after all.

Third-year Media and Writing and English Literature student. Aspiring writer and philanthropist.
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