We all know the benefits of having a routine. They give our days structure. Routine allows us to focus time and energy on the task at hand knowing that there is time ahead for those other tasks of the day. Without a routine, I’m certain my dishes would NEVER get done. I’d end up buying paper and plastic kitchenware and filling up my trash 4 times a day.
Now that we recognize the awesomeness that comes from having a routine, how do you create one? I have no idea.
I have tried and tried to schedule a routine into my life, and it always drops me into the lap of failure. A big part of that is setting an unreasonable set of expectations for myself and my time.
What has worked is letting a routine find me. Life happens. We have babies, we have school bell schedules, we have spouses work schedules, and we have our own work schedules and obligations in any given week. This all means that routines have to be flexible and adjustable.
When my babies were babies, my routine filled the gaps between feedings, naps, and diapering. Morning nap was my time to shower and decide what was for dinner. Afternoon naps were for dishes and dinner prep. Baby bedtime was time for me to connect with my husband, or enjoy a movie, or get some extra rest before our midnight feeding.
When my babies were toddlers, there was no routine. At least with Toddler #1. She was always by my side “helping” and enjoying all the new things toddlers discover. Toddler #2 put us in a strict routine as soon as he was diagnosed with Autism. But that is a whole different story.
When I worked outside the home, my routine was a lot tighter, and I had to make efficient use of all those minutes outside of work. Weekday lunch hours were for errands, and evenings were for homework help, chores, and reading with the kids. We tried to make sure weekends were fun and got us out of the house. Sometime we succeeded, and sometimes we stayed home and cleaned everything.
Now that I am working from home and my kids are in school full-time every day, my routine melds around their bell schedules. After dropping off, I come home and tidy up before I grab breakfast. I spend the chunk of my day hours while the kids are at school working on work. I’ll make a plan for dinner, and get some chores done before I have to make the rounds to pick up kids in the afternoon. After that we tackle homework, kid chores, dinner, bathes, reading, family time, and bedtime. In the quiet of the evenings I’ll write, read, watch Netflix, or cruise Pinterest.
Now, that is a fairly loose routine. This is partly due to the fact that my days can change based on volunteering, workload, hubby home on a weekday, or sick kids. By having a loose structure, I can make easy adjustments when a client wants to schedule a call outside my normal “working” schedule, or when my sister calls and invites me for a walk thru the wetlands.
How have you found your routine? How has it changed over the years of life events? Do you strictly schedule your time, or is there no rhythm to your days?