Do you ever find yourself racing around in the morning trying to get everything ready and everybody out the door in some sort of fashionable order?!
Are you drowning in the chaos of everyday life such as incoming mail, mountains of laundry and you can’t remember if you turned off the coffee pot this morning?
The only way I have found to control the chaos in my everyday life (and the never-ending to-do list) is to create routines. I just never really realized early on that having a set routine, or way of doing things, each and every day would be so beneficial.
My creative self really pushed against the apparent constraints of a strict order. However, what I learned is that routines do not constrict me but rather free me to have fun and enjoy the random, spontaneous trip to the park as I know that things are mostly in order at home.
Are they perfect? Of course not! Is my home picture perfect for Pinterest? No way, but I am further along than I was ten years ago, and isn’t that our bigger goal in this journey called life?!?
How routines changed my life
I know I talk about Flylady a lot, but seriously her daily emails changed my life. Dramatic, much? Maybe. But still true nonetheless.
One of her key takeaways is to create daily routines that become a habit. These habits allow you so much more time throughout your day and week to be able to have fun and be creative.
Daily routines give you so much more flexibility. Originally I thought that being “forced” to do something every single day was like torture. And my inner child was fighting like hell to not “have” to do my chores.
What I learned is that by keeping my surroundings clean and clutter free was not punishing me but rather blessing me.
How can routines bless you? When you no longer have to think about whether or not you will have clean clothes for your big presentation tomorrow. Or whether or not your child’s soccer uniform is ready for the big games this weekend. Then you bless yourself by getting rid of the anxiety that comes with disorganization.
The basics of routines
So just what are routines? And how can you implement them in your everyday life? My favorite way to think about routines is to think of them like dance steps; you know when you are at Zumba class and the instructor just teaches you the first 8 beats, then she makes you do them over and over until you have them down?
The same idea applies to creating routines, you start with your first three dance steps.
So in the morning, your beginning morning routine will look something like: 1. brush teeth, 2. Wash face, 3. Moisturize.
And in the evenings your routine might look something like: 1. Check your calendar for tomorrow, 2. Layout outfit, 3. Set up the coffee pot. See how your evening routine actually sets you up for success in your morning routine?
When you double check your schedule for the next day you can see if it is casual Friday at the office or if you have a major presentation and need to look your Sunday best. Then you get out exactly what you are going to wear the next day so you don’t have to make any decisions when you are still groggy in the morning. Lastly, of course, the most important step is to prepare the java, can’t start a morning without it!
Once you have mastered these two simple routines in the morning and evenings then you can move on to the next 8 beats – just like your Zumba teacher.
There might be some of you out there who are reading this and thinking: this is too simplistic, and is this person a complete moron for needing to tell myself to brush my teeth? No, I am not a moron, just a slow learner. Yes, I needed a nice lady on a blog from North Carolina to spell out for me exactly what to do. (And encourage me to use post-it notes which have become my obsession!)
Having these simple routines in place free my brain to be able to tackle the bigger projects.
For other people out there, this will be all new information. If you are looking for more in-depth information on this topic you can find it here. In the meantime, get out some post-it notes and write out three things you do each morning on one sticky. And then three things you do each evening on another. Post them in your bathroom and practice doing them every day for the next 21 days.
This will lay the foundation for creating peace and calm in your life. And it will eliminate the unnecessary chaos and anxiety weighing you down. If you like to track things you can use my 21-day habit tracker. Track the days you do each of your morning and evening routines and see how you feel after.
Taking it to the next level
On the days I am home, I have also incorporated a mid-morning routine. This is usually done after the little one and I get home from taking big brother to school.
It doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen often enough that the main living spaces are generally picked up. I will go through the bedrooms and make the beds real quick. Then pick up the floors of any laundry and go start a load.
Again, I usually only do this on days I will be home and know that I will be able to finish that load all the way to the end…no more stinky wet clothes in the washer for me these days!
I will finish my mid-morning routine by picking up the floor in the living room so we can actually use that room without worries of stepping on a Lego…you know what I mean?!?
Any rogue dirty dishes I find get taken into the kitchen and I *try* to keep the never-ending process of dishes going! If the dishwasher is clean, I empty it; if it’s dirty I add what is in the sink and get it going. My goal/dream is to have this run every evening before bed and my kitchen sink clean and shiny…but some nights this just does not happen.
And that’s ok!
Having a routine for the daily items frees up my to-do list for the special one-time projects. Keeping on top of the never-ending dishes and laundry is one way that my daily routines help keep my sanity on those really busy days when nothing seems to go right. And it is all thanks to FlyLady!
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