Routines: A How-To

So routines are good for us, right? And they make our homes run more smoothly, right? Then why can’t so many of us make them work better?!

Unfortunately, getting on a routine is not as easy as taking someone else’s plan and plugging ourselves into it. It takes some serious thought to get it started, then it requires tweaking, and because it requires tweaking, it takes commitment to keep it going.

However, I find that when I’m in a routine, everything really truly does run better at our house, so I’ve established a few that have made a big difference for us! Here’s how I got started.

DETERMINE YOUR PRIORITIES

– What do you do regularly?
– From that list, is there anything you could combine, delegate, or drop?
– From that list, what would cause utter chaos if you didn’t do? These are your “musts.” If nothing else makes it into the routine, these need to.

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

With priorities in mind, and keeping the combine/delegate/drop thought nearby, I thought about how I could streamline my time. What things are you doing that are eating into your time? Are you spending valuable hours paying bills each month, or are you signed up for automatic bill payment services? Do you take time every single night to prep snacks to take/send to work the next day, or do you do that once a week? Do you comb through cookbooks and Pinterest each week trying to come up with a meal plan, or do you have a list of favorites you can pull from? What takes the most of your time, and how can you cut down on that?

SET YOUR GOALS

This is your “why.” This is what will keep you going when you feel brain-stumped while planning your routine, or when your commitment to the routine falls off the rails, or when an hour of extra dozing in bed sounds better than anything else possibly could.
– What do you want to accomplish?
– What would make your life less stressful?
Here are mine:
1. Have the house be generally less cluttery and more pleasant.
2. Be ready for guests pretty quickly.
3. Make time for myself to work on habits/goals.

COMMIT

You have your “why” already, but here are some tools to help keep you on track with this new routine.

  • Outsmart yourself.
    Do you realise how much harder it is to get back into bed if your bed is already made? Make it as soon as you get out of it. Or how much easier it is to actually go through with your workout if you’re already prepped and ready to go for it? Change into your workout clothes before you have a chance to change your mind.
  • Make your stuff work with you.
    I’ve found that keeping things where I use them is hugely helpful in making a routine that’s quick and nearly mindless to execute. So, for example, I keep my bathroom cleaning stuff in the bathroom (locked up, of course, so kids can’t get anything out…don’t call CPS…) to wipe up the counter every morning, and my vitamins, Bible/books, and phone/charger in the dining room, where I use them first thing (perks to not keeping a phone in your bedroom here). I also keep a stash of tea lights in the kitchen, where I use them in the mornings to replace the ones on my sill.
  • Create routines that feed off of each other.
    It’d be harder to follow through with my morning routine if I also had to get my workout clothes out, put ALL of the dishes away, or even do something as simple as fill up the kettle. And it’d be more of a pain to go through with my evening routine if I had to also replace the tea lights or put dishes away from beside the sink. So I worked those kinds of prep things into each routine, and it makes my life a lot easier.
  • Figure out what works for you.
    My routines took SO long to put together! That’s why I wrote a freaking blog post that’s basically a “how-to” on setting up a routine…because life happens and I’m going to need a tutorial later. Honestly, finding what works for me during any given month can be a challenge. This is what seems to work well right now and it has for a while, but things and needs change. Roll with it! Don’t throw out the entire concept just because it will take some tweaking from time to time.

What are your routines like? Do you find it hard to stick to them? Share below!

 

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