How To Create A Routine
Life gets super busy and most of the time it is difficult to fit everything that needs to be taken care of into everyday life. I get it, and if you aren’t a type A personality or schedule-driven person then it can be even harder to find a way to make the most of your time each day. If you are finding that life keeps getting on top of you or that your to-do lists seem never-ending, then I am here to show you that efficiently managing life is possible, YOU can create a routine that works for you.
Having a routine helps each day run smoothly and a smooth day creates a sense of peace and calm. If your life is chaotic and you’re surrounded by clutter, your mental state will also likely be chaotic and cluttered. I am going to give you some ideas and tips for creating a routine that works for you, whether you stay at home or work outside of the home.
I have been a working mom and know firsthand that making the most of your time is super important when you have such little time at home. You want to manage your time wisely for several reasons. First, to make sure you are spending quality time with your family and not just trying to get things done during your off time. Second, you must keep up with things like laundry, dinners, homework, baths, and keeping the house at least semi-clean. Third, spending time with yourself and on yourself is vital as a wife and mother.
You spend most of your time taking care of everyone around you and that leaves little time for you to remember that you are your own person. You are more than Mommy, Babe, Hunny, or Sweetheart. You are a unique individual and if you aren’t spending at least a small amount of time each day doing things you enjoy, you’ll wake up in thirty years when your children are long gone with the sad realization that you have no idea who are you anymore.
When I was a working mom I was out of the house from 730 AM until 615 PM Monday through Friday. I had two children, one in elementary school and the other in daycare. I am a strong Type A personality and really must have everything around me perfect all the time so I had a long list of things I wanted to have done on a daily basis.
The first step in creating a routine that works for you as a working mom is to make a list of all the you need to have done every week. This means anything you like to have cleaned on a weekly basis (bathrooms, vacuum, laundry), any errands that need to be taken care of weekly, or household management duties (budget, pay bills, meal plan).
After you have made your list you’ll want to break those items down into small jobs that can be done daily. Not everything on your list will be able to fit in the tiny amount of time you have available during the work week, you still need to anticipate spending some time during your weekend on your list. The easiest way to break this down is to figure out which items on your list can be completed in twenty minutes or less. Depending on the amount of time you have after work each day you will likely not want to spend more than sixty minutes on your weekly “chores.”
I had such a small amount of time that I only did one twenty-minute chore from my list every day and did the rest on Saturday mornings. You can go ahead and write down the days you will do these specific chores and whatever is left you can get completed at the weekend.
After you have your daily chores written down on the days you want to complete those specific tasks you will need to fill in everything you do daily. For me that was baths, dinner, homework with my daughter, and some quality time with the kids before bed. Go ahead write that into your daily routine in whatever order works best for you. If you have a tiny amount of time to get homework, dinner, and baths done then obviously that needs to be first. Just make sure you are blocking enough time for each activity. If it takes you an hour to make dinner and eat for instance, then you need to take that into consideration when creating your routine.
You don’t want to create the entire routine and go to put it into practice and realize that you’ve tried to cram WAY too much into your allotted off time because then you will still not have much time with the kids or your husband in the evenings. If you find that you “don’t have time” for anything in the evenings then it is time to sit down and look at what exactly you are doing when you get home.
Are you trying to do things in between looking at social media or maybe you just do things very slowly instead of trying to get through your to-do list quickly? If social media is the problem then I strongly suggest plugging your phone in when you get home and not touching it until you’re done with everything and have spent time with your family. If moving too slowly is the issue, then you just need to push yourself to get through the routine each day as quickly as you can. Doing this for about a month should be ample time to create a habit and there will no longer be a need to push yourself to get through it each day.
The last thing to add in and consider for your weekday routine is any extracurricular activities your children are in. Make sure on the days you have those activities that you are multi-tasking. So, if you take one the ballet, then have the others doing homework while you’re there. On those days try to have dinner in the slow cooker so that you don’t have to worry about dinner that night.
Multi-tasking will be your best friend when it comes to an after-work routine. I remember cooking dinner, listening to my daughter read or studying spelling words, and folding laundry all at the same time some nights. It is all about getting as much done as you can so that you have more time to relax, see family, and destress from the day.
Another huge thing to save time and as a bonus you will also save money, is to meal plan and grocery shop once during the week. Life is stressful and busy enough without having to figure out what to eat for dinner daily. And if you’re running to the store everyday then you are more likely to buy things you don’t necessarily need, so going once a week is a big money-saver.
Saturday morning was reserved for any deep cleaning or cleaning I didn’t have time for throughout the week. I would then go do my grocery shopping and be completely done until Monday. Using this method to create a routine really frees up a lot of time on the weekend. You will have almost your entire weekend free to spend time with family or doing what you love.
This is what my routine looked like when I worked (I added times just so you could see how long I spent on each activity, but everyday was different and it was not a set schedule, just a general routine):
615 PM Kara starts homework, give Paxton quick bath (5 minutes)
625 Help Kara with any homework (spelling words, listen to her reading, etc.), start dinner
635 Kara shower, fold laundry from the morning (I threw a load in right when I woke up and put it in dryer before leaving so I could keep up with laundry throughout the week)
645 My shower
7 Eat dinner, clean up
720 Quick clean (M vacuum), T (downstairs bath), W (upstairs bath), Th (dusting), F (meal Plan/grocery list))
740 Hang out with kids until bed time
8 Stories and bed time
815 Time with hubby or myself if he was working
I know that it can be difficult to find what works for you, but it is honestly just trial and error. Your routine will change over time as your life grows and changes, but having a routine as a working mom is so important.
Stay At Home Moms
I have also been a stay at home mom and know that you can quickly fall into a habit of wasting days away doing nothing, but lounging around. That is perfectly fine occasionally, but do you really want to spend every day doing absolutely nothing!? It is very important as a stay at home mom to have some sort of routine for yourself and any children you have at home with you.
The main reason is the same as a working mom, you need to make sure you are spending quality time with your family and you won’t achieve that if you are getting sucked into all day movie binges or getting lost in Facebook for five hours. Also, since you are home all day you won’t have the same motivation to get things done because you will have hours to do everything and no boss to get you moving. As a stay at home mom you have to have the willpower to get up and get everything done every day because putting it off will typically lead to not doing it at all. Being a stay at home mom has its advantages, but your kids will have no rhythm or be actively engaged with something other than tv unless you incorporate it into their lives with a routine.
The first thing you need to figure out is what motivates you? Maybe you can’t get moving until you’ve had your coffee, or had some devotional time with the Lord, or maybe you need to get a workout in to get your body and mind going. Play with some different strategies to see what gets you motivated and moving in the morning. I tried all three suggestions and have found that working out gets me hyped up and helps me get through my day quickly.
Do not get caught in the social media trap. You know what I am talking about, you wake up and start looking at Instagram with every intention of spending five minutes on there and next thing you know an hour has gone by. So, figure out what works best for you to get you super pumped up in the morning and ready to tackle the day.
Since you are home every day it is good to have some type of household chore to do daily rather than weekly. This is because it helps you stay productive and as I said earlier prevents you from being stuck on social media for hours on end. So, instead of doing once a week major clean do something daily.
You can either do this by assigning a chore to each day or by assigning an area of the house to each day. I personally use the area of the house method. Also, if you have enough of it, doing laundry throughout the week helps a lot. Rather than spending one or two days with a ton of laundry, you get it done during the week.
If you pick up or drop off the kids at school make sure that is figured into your day. It makes afternoons a lot easier if you have all your stuff taken care before the kids come home from school. It also helps because you can focus on after school stuff in the evening, rather than your own list of things to do.
Any extracurricular activities need to be placed into the routine so that you don’t get tripped up when those days come. For instance, I know my daughter has gymnastics on Monday 6-7 PM so I usually cook dinner at 5 PM everyday so that I am already used to starting dinner around that time and nothing is thrown off on Mondays. Just like with working moms, if you have a ton of extracurricular activities then multitask on those days and have a crock pot meal so that you don’t have to stress about getting dinner done.
Speaking of dinner, spending a little time each week to meal plan is such a time and money saver. Pick a day to meal plan and write out your list so that you only go shopping one time and don’t have to run errands every single day. You won’t be tempted to by random things and you will not have to spend any time during your week figuring out what to eat.
If you have a child at home you need to plan anything you want to incorporate into their day. Some ideas would be going outside to play, reading stories, playing with educational toys, some type of tot school on the iPad, playdates, or if they are in preschool for a few hours a few times a week make sure to include that in your routine.
Currently I have two children in elementary school, and a two-year-old and three-month-old at home with me. My routine currently looks like this:
630 A Wake, feed animals, brush teeth and get on workout clothes
645 A Nurse Alex get him dressed for the day
7 A Other three kids get dressed and ready for the day
715 A Feed kids, empty dishwasher, eat my breakfast
750 A Take kids to school
810 A Alex down for nap, I workout
840 A Shower, get ready for the day
9 A Eat snack, drink coffee, and have bible time while Tom plays in the backyard
940 A Nurse Alex
10 A Start laundry, do daily cleaning or errands on Friday
1040 A Flip laundry, Alex usually goes down for nap around this time, Tom and I hang out
1130 A Tom eats lunch then goes down for nap
12 Lunch for me
1230 Nurse Alex, work on blog
2 P Tom is up, I fold laundry
235 P Go get kids from school, Alex naps in the car
310 P Kids do homework, chores, and snack
330 P Nurse Alex (I do cook dinner at this time if my husband is working night shift that day)
4 P Outside with the kids
445 P Alex naps
5 P Pax shower, Tom bath, I start dinner, Kara cleans room
515 P Kara showers, Pax cleans room
545 P Eat and clean up
6 P Alex nurses and gets a bath, then I relax with family
645 P Alex story and rocking time, then to bed
745 P Tom and Pax bible story, bed time
8 P Kara goes to bed and Zach and I usually hang out or I read if he is working
I listed out the times because I do have to do some things at specific times, but aside from those things everything falls generally around the same time every day. I pick up and drop off my children at the same time everyday so I do stick to the morning times because I have to fit in so much between 630-745 AM when we leave. Also, I do have a three-month-old that eats around the times I listed each day. When my husband is home during the day we will usually do things or watch shows and my routine doesn’t happen at exact times, but it runs pretty much the same. So even if I don’t flip laundry at 1130, it always happens when I get Tom ready for lunch.
The good thing about a routine as opposed to a schedule is that it doesn’t have to be exact. If something comes up in the middle of your day you can work around that while still accomplishing everything you wanted to because you have a general routine of things you do during the day, not at specific times.
Also, keep in mind that it takes about thirty days for something to become habit so don’t work out your routine, do it for a few days and give up. When I redid my routine after Alex was born it was NOT easy working around baby who needed to eat every 2 hours, but after a few weeks it became habit and flows so smoothly now.
You can do this, you can create a calm, peaceful, chaos free lifestyle for yourself and your family. Be patient and forgiving of yourself and find what works for you. What works for someone else is not always what will work for you, so you need to take the time to sit down and figure out what works best for you.
What tips do you have about creating a routine? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to get the tools you need to create your own routine!