Why You Need Routines In Your Life
Last week we talked about habits and how to create them. Our habits make up our routines. If you can establish different routines throughout your day, compiling your habits, you will be able to accomplish more in less time with less thought. This will free your brain power for your relationships and for learning new skills.
Today we will cover why routines are essential, when to do them, and what areas of your life can benefit from them.
Three reasons why routines are awesome
They are efficient
You save time
You are more productive
Okay, so that's really just one reason. Routines make your life more efficient. But, not everyone realizes what efficiency can do for you.
What if you created a morning routine and you got everything done in less than an hour? What would you do with the rest of your morning time? If you knew that you could do whatever you wanted from say, 9-11, what would you do with those two hours?
The thing is, when you have routines, you know exactly what needs to be done, and you just do it. It's a routine when you don't have to think about doing it. My morning routine is automatic. I wake my kids for school, I set the table for breakfast and I immediately start unloading the dishwasher. When they are done eating, I put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and start gathering the laundry. By the time they leave for school, the kitchen is cleaned and half of my morning tasks are done. All without consciously thinking about what I need to be doing.
You start with one task, and when that task is complete, you add in another task. Each time you do your tasks in the exact same order, your brain will start to know what to do next. It becomes easy. It builds momentum. You do more. The goal is to be so efficient that you don't have to think about what you need to be doing.
When you don't have to think about what you need to be doing, you free up your brain to think about something else. You can start a project, or plan something fun for the weekend. You can set a goal and start working on that business you always wanted to start. You finally have the time, and you will be able to focus on it because you will be caught up on everything else.
You need routines so you don’t have to think about what needs to be done because here’s the thing. You are a mom.
You are a mom and moms have millions of things to do and to think about. Seriously.
And when we have so much to do all the time, we get forgotten.
We don’t take care of ourselves.
And when we don’t take care of ourselves, we don’t feel like being mom.
It’s like the chicken and the egg and wondering which came first.
If we take care of ourselves, we show up as the best mom. If we really make the effort to serve our family and show up as our best self, we will want to take care of ourselves.
Routines give us the space to do that.
You need routines.
Four times in your day that need a routine
Really, just break your day into periods of time that are task related. In real life, my routines look more like this: morning, breakfast, household, morning work, lunch, afternoon work, recharge, after school, dinner, evening, night. That's a lot more than four. You have to do what works for you.
Think about what you already do in the morning, what you would like to be doing in the morning, and what needs to be done in the morning. When is your morning anyway? Maybe it doesn't start until 9. Maybe it starts at 5.
What about your afternoon? Do you have kids that nap? When the house is quiet, what do you want to be doing? Wouldn't it be nice to have an agenda, instead of thinking, I should do this, or I should do that, or I know if I start anything the baby will wake, so I'm just going to read. What do you really want to be doing?
And the same goes for the evening. What do you want to be doing in the evenings?
And what about night, after the kids are in bed? Do you want to be in bed at at the same time? Maybe you like to stay up late. What are you going to be doing?
Define your time periods for each area, and begin listing tasks for each time. When you are figuring out what to do in each routine, think about what would make your day flow easier. What could you do in the morning that would make the afternoon easier? What could you do in the afternoon that would make the evening easier?
If everyone is coming home from school starving, maybe it would make more sense to eat dinner at 4 or 4:30 and have a light snack later. This would eliminate a mess in the kitchen and the kids would eat better because you’re eating a meal when they are hungry. Look at your life and see what you can do as far as routines to make it easier.
Also note that you can have different routines for each day of the week.
Five life categories that need a routine
You can obviously create routines in every area of your life, but today, I am keeping it to these five.
Personal Development is so important. When are you going to spend time taking care of yourself? When are you going to learn something new? Personal Development can be your morning routine. Maybe it's what you do in the afternoon. You need to first define what Personal Development is to you, and then decide when you want to work on it.
Your Spouse Relationship is so important. When are you going to have your weekly dates? What is going to make you keep up on them? If you don't go on weekly dates, when are you going to connect with each other? I think it's important to connect daily on some level so that when the weekly date rolls around, you're not so disconnected that you have nothing to talk about.
Your Family Relationship is so important. Just like you need to connect with your spouse every day, you need to be present and connect with your family. What is your plan for this?
Money. We all have bills to pay. When are you going to pay yours? What is your system for doing this? If you make it routine, you can eliminate late payments. You should always know exactly how much money you have. Stop avoiding it. Know what you have and what you are doing with it.
Home. You have a home to clean. There are clothes to wash. There are meals to be made. Create routines for every area of your responsibility and your life will start to open up.
Stop feeling overwhelmed
If this is all overwhelming to you, you are missing the point. Routines aren't meant to make you feel like you have to live you life according to some rule book. Routines are meant to give you freedom, to give you time.
If it feels overwhelming to you, you need to remember to start small. Pick one routine and start building upon it. Even if it’s only one task a day. Commit to doing it, and do it. Seriously.
Pick one area or time of your life and create a routine. Write down how you want it to go. Hang it up. Read it everyday, and you will start doing the things in the order you decided. When your routine starts to feel automatic, you can start to create another routine. Focus on one at a time.
You got this.