Do your days feel disorganized and stressful? Are you always running out of time, unable to accomplish stuff that you really need to or want to do?
Well, here’s the solution - a well thought out daily routine! Having a daily routine will help you feel in control, bring order to your days and eliminate stress.
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Most people shy away from a routine because it sounds mechanical and boring. But the truth is, when you have a daily routine in place, things happen quickly and you aren’t constantly thinking of what to do next, because you have everything planned out. This frees your mind and you feel less stressed out, more confident and cheerful. You will even find that you have sufficient time to incorporate some fun activities into your days.
Now, before you get all starry-eyed, let me clear something - There will be days when your routine goes totally haywire. And that’s fine. Don’t let one off day, discourage you. Just pick yourself up and get back on track. Never.give.up.
If you have never created a routine before, now is the best time to start. Believe me, you won’t regret it. You will wonder why you didn’t start earlier!
Don’t know how to go about creating your daily routine? It’s really simple and I am going to show you how! So no more excuses; Let's get started.
Here’s how to create a productive daily routine that works for you
1. Observe your current daily routine
Pick any day, preferably tomorrow, and make a note of all the things that you do and at what time. Make a note of everything. What time you wake up, have breakfast, cook, clean…put in whatever you think is relevant. Make it as detailed as you want it to be. TIP: Carry a notebook and pen with you and make notes throughout the day.
Now, think of all the things that you want to achieve in any given day. Again, be as detailed as possible for now. You can edit stuff out later.
If you aren’t sure what to include here, ask yourself this question - What are the things in my life that I want to prioritize right now? For example: Blogging, cleaning, cooking real meals
Most of the activities you need to do daily will fall into one of the following categories.
- Things that have to be done at specific times every day, like going to work, dropping off kids to school etc.
- Things that you need to do but not at a specific time. These include shopping, cleaning, cooking etc.
- Activities that you want to do or enjoy doing, like hobbies, entertainment etc.
3. Order your activities
Next, decide in what order you need to do your activities. While making your routine, keep the following points in mind
- What time of the day do you feel most energetic? Reserve this time to do the tasks that demand more physical activity.
- What time of the day are you at your creative best? Most writers prefer writing for at least ½ - 1 hour every morning. But, I know of many – including me – that write better at night, once the day is over and the household is asleep! Go with what works for you.
- Mornings are generally hurried and focused on either getting to work on time and/or getting the kids to school. So, all activities that help you achieve this goal should form part of your morning routine.
For example, my typical morning routine looks like this: Wake up – pray - get ready for the day – start a load of laundry – put away dry dishes - make the breakfast - prep for lunch – breakfast - make the beds – dry the laundry - school drop
If you would love to get into a morning routine that can help streamline your mornings and your entire day, you should check out this 14-day Make Over Your Mornings course by Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com
- Afternoons are usually lazy and energy starts to decline. This is a good time for uninteresting, not-so-critical tasks that don’t need much attention to detail. I prefer this time for hobbies like reading, television, checking my email, net surfing, getting outdoors etc.
- Evenings are ideal for getting prepared for the next day. This is the time to set out clothes for the next day, pack school bags, prep for breakfast etc.
For example, my typical evening routine includes: LO’s dinner, bath, prayers and bed for LO – Dinner with husband - clean up (wipe down kitchen and dining surfaces, wash up dishes, tidy the living area)– prep and plan for the next day - prayers - bed
- Also, remember to be flexible. There will be days where things don’t go as planned and you will need to readjust your schedule on those days.
4. Make your Final Schedule
Finally, decide at what time you will perform each activity. Evaluate your current schedule (from step 1) and see what needs to be changed so that you can make your day more productive. Fit in your activities in a way that works best for you and your family. Think of the best time to perform each task and focus first, on the things in your life that you want to prioritize right now.
Start with the activities that have to be done at a specific time every day (waking, bedtime, office/school, meals, naps etc.). Remember to pick realistic times and allow flexibility for days when things don’t go as planned. For example, if you currently wake up at 8:00 and wish to get up earlier, setting up a new wake-up time of 5:00 is only going to set you up for failure!
Next, put in the activities that you have to perform at fixed times every day. For example: going to work, dropping off kids to school etc.
Lastly, work in the things that you need to do but not at a specific time. These include shopping, cleaning, cooking etc. and other activities such as hobbies, entertainment etc.
5. Implementation and Evaluation
Put your new routine into action and adjust anything that isn’t working. After a couple of weeks evaluate your progress. Is your daily routine working fine? Do you feel more productive then before? Do you need to readjust the schedule?
6. Stick to the Schedule
Always remind yourself of the benefits you will reap by following a routine and use that as motivation to stick to your routine. Be aware of the consequences of not adhering to your schedule and of the rewards that you will reap if you do stick to it! You could even use positive affirmations to keep yourself motivated.
To make this process easier for you, I’ve created a Daily Routine Worksheet that you can use to get started. I’m making this really easy for you! So, no excuses! Download the worksheet and get started.
Your routine needs to be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. This is about you and what works for you.
The most important thing to remember while creating your routine is to be realistic. Don’t expect to be able to fit hundreds of tasks in 24 hours and don’t forget that you need at least 7 hours of sleep! Basically, just KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Although kissing your spouse and/or kids while you are at it, wouldn’t hurt ;)
I do hope I have given you the confidence to create a daily routine for yourself. Go ahead and give it a shot. It really is simple and makes life so much easier and helps you be more productive and stress free.
Do you already have a routine in place? Do share it with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your experiences and see some great routines.
P.S. We use comment luv because we love comments ;)