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As I look back on my ~18 months on program, a few things that I’ve learned stand out – how to work well inside the giant that is GE, project management across multiple teams, the value of networking, patience and the importance of having routines. The CLP program gives you the opportunity to move out of your hometown and to temporarily move your entire life is an amazing experience. But no matter who you are, moving brings stress, anxiety and challenges your comfort levels. With so much to organise to actually do the move, just enough time to settle into your role and then to prepare for another move, you find 6 months flies by pretty quickly. Throw in some extra work trips between the moves and you quickly lose that stability that we love.

Human beings love routine, we’re wired to enjoyed them because our brains like being efficient. Routines can help you beat stress and many successful people routinely do a number of things before their work day begins. Routines bring comfort and security because we know what to expect. Successfully executing a routine also feels like a small victory each time. We become experts at our routines and that can prevent making mistakes.

When you arrive at your new role on program, you need to spend time learning new faces, making connections and working on the goals that have been set. Now, throw in apartment hunting, finding a new gym, trips to the embassy for a visa, endless administrative paperwork, multiple tax filings, and no longer knowing where the best grocery stores are, and your routine can quickly go out the window. You start to have a few sleepless nights, probably get a little grouchy and don’t quite feel yourself. It’s at this point when you must make sure you have some go-to routines to help you relax through the craziness that is moving.

My favourite and most consistent is taking a morning walk/jog. There are very few places you can’t execute this routine. It wakes you up, gives you a chance to see your area and makes you feel great for the rest of the day. The familiarity of this will quickly ease any anxiety you might have and support you in your new location. Other popular routines are as simple as reading the morning news, having a tea/coffee at a certain time each day, watching a TV show at a certain time, going out for dinner on a particular day of the week or routinely phoning home.

So if you’re about to move or have moved and you’re wondering why you’re not enjoying it, develop a routine that isn’t bound by location. It could be the difference between loving your travel experience or feeling completely overwhelmed by it. Feel free to share any routines you have that have worked for you!

Written by: Andrew Polasek (Oil & Gas/Johannesburg, ZA) 

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