Yes you knew it was coming! Routines! Routines! Routines! Yes they are important! Yes they help you with your every day life and running your house. Bear with me though, I have a free printable to help you out.
I am sure you have heard how important routines are. Well I am here to tell you that I agree 🙂
There are three main times I have routines set up in my day.
If you set up a before bed routine, your mornings will be off to a much better start.
A couple of things to do before you go to bed are getting out your clothes ready for the morning, this will save you time standing, sleepy eyed in front of the wardrobe, wondering what you are going to wear. Another one that really helps the morning is to clean the kitchen. Even 15 minutes here can make a huge difference to your morning. If you have a dishwasher, load it up and wash it. If not, then spend 15 minutes washing the dishes by hand. If it doesn’t take 15 minutes, then use the rest of that time to dry and put the dishes away, otherwise do that in the morning. Wipe down the benches. Sweep the floor and take out the rubbish. Just 15 minutes in the kitchen after the evening meal, and your mornings will be off to a much better start.
Think of 3 to 5 things you can do before bed to lighten your load in the morning.
What do you get the most stressed about in the mornings?
Most people spend too much time choosing what they are going to wear, especially if they leave this to be decided in the morning. Think about the times you have slept in, then received a phone call, and the porridge burnt because you were on the phone so you had to start breakfast all over again. Then you went to choose what to wear and realised that you haven’t washed the clothes for a few days so you have nothing that matches. By now you are late out the door and feeling cranky. You snap at your children because they interrupted your outfit designing thoughts. Now wouldn’t it be so much easier to have your clothes laid out waiting for you to put them on?
A great suggestion that I learnt from Crystal Paine, is to think of three things that cause you the most stress in the mornings. What are they? What can you do the night before to change that? Is it a once off solution or something that needs to be completed as a part of your before bed routine? An example here for me, would be not having my washing ready to be hung out before we begin school for the day. This would be the same as for someone who worked outside the home, once we begin school for the day, if I lose my chance to hang out washing in the morning, I won’t get to do that until after school, which is a little late to expect my washing to dry. So I began putting a load of washing on at night as a part of my bedtime routine. That way, it is ready for me to hang it out in the morning.
I wake in the morning early,
And always the very first thing,
I poke out my head,
And I sit up in bed,
And I sing, and I sing and I sing.
I love this little poem. Imagine if this was true of us each morning? To wake up with a good enough attitude to be singing.
Okay so if you completed your five or so items before you went to bed, you will save time by not having to choose what to wear, and your kitchen will be ready for you to prepare and serve breakfast.
How you choose to spend the first hour or two of your day, can you set your whole day up for success. If you think in terms of getting certain areas of your life in order first thing, it can make your whole day run smoothly.
I would encourage you to rise before your family. Your day can go so much better if you are up and getting things accomplished before everyone else is up. I find that once everyone else is awake, the day begins. The day has started even if I am not ready. So I enjoy the quiet hour or two I have before everyone else is up. I use that time to enjoy things for me – now that probably sounds selfish, but realistically, if we are not taking care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? Now I am not talking about eating a block of chocolate in front of a soap opera. What I am referring to is the educating of our mind, and the exercising of our body, and the renewing of our Spirit by connecting with our Saviour, all while there are no interruptions. Its these things that will make a difference in our days, in how we react to the people around us. It’s the things that make a difference in our life in a year, five years or ten years from now.
For example, I first tend to my spirit – I have time with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer. Then I spend time writing, for my blog or just writing. Then my body – exercise, shower, dress, hair, make up. My house – tidy bathroom and put a load of washing on if needed, make my bed and tidy my bedroom, then move to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the family. By this time everyone else is awake and beginning their day.
I have two morning routines, one that begins and ends before everyone else is awake, which lasts from one to two hours depending on how early I woke up. And the other one begins when everyone else is up, usually around 6:30am and lasts until between 7:30 and 8am when we begin school.
Now this can be extremely difficult when you have a baby or toddler whom you are up with several times during the night. When my girls were babies, they were my alarm clock. I definitely didn’t wake before them! During those six years, my morning routine began when they woke me. And yes it often took 3-4 hours to feel like we were ready for the day. I remember 10am coming around and finally having everyone dressed and fed, the kitchen actually resembled a kitchen again, and it was time to hang out the washing. I must confess, I would hang out our washing and notice our elderly neighbour sitting on his verandah with a cuppa and something to eat, listening to the news and reading the paper and I remember thinking “If only I could have a sit down with a cuppa and something to eat, a consistent time each day that I know I am going to have a rest.” Well now, I have that, 10am every morning! Not the newspaper/radio part, but I have a break for twenty minutes or so every morning. The thing is, those busy baby/toddler days are only for such a short time. Even though you feel exhausted and need a rest, your change in season will come. Hold in there! Just do what you can.
Afternoon/ After Lunch/ After school/ Before Dinner
What you call this one, will depend on how your afternoons look. Are you home when your children arrive home from school? Do you finish homeschooling at lunch time? Do you arrive home from work at 5pm?
What we do here is, bring in the washing and put it away, tidy the house, have showers, prepare dinner. So ours is before dinner beginning at around 5:30pm.
When my children were little, this routine would begin at 4pm because it would take that long to do the same tasks. Now that my girls are older, they all pitch in to help so it only takes us half an hour to complete our afternoon routine. So if you have little ones, be encouraged, they do grow up! The time in your life where this part of your day takes hours, is only such a small portion of your whole life. Hang in there!
So to recap…
Pick a few things to do before you go to bed.
Then choose a few things to do each morning when you first get up. Aim to get up at least 15 minutes before your family.
Develop an afternoon routine that will lighten your before bed routine.
For more help with setting up your routines, go to Flylady and check out her suggestions. This is where I first learnt about routines, many years ago.
You can download my Daily Routine Template. There is one you can print and start using right away. Or you can use the blank template to write out your own routine.
Let me know how routines have helped you 🙂
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