This is the first post in a new “How To” series. I plan to add more posts each month so stay tuned!
I began implementing a morning routine several years ago. Largely pregnant with my first child, I realized that I needed to have a routine in place in order to get things done after baby arrived. Aaaaand I think it lasted maybe one day after I got home from the hospital.
But I floundered along — sometimes getting things done and sometimes not. Hey, it’s hard to stay on schedule when you have a newborn! And I used that excuse until we moved and I got pregnant with my second child.
I was sick every day all day (who named it “morning sickness” anyway?) and had a two year old to look after all day as well. Plus the laundry, cooking, cleaning… unfortunately all of that stuff has to get done no matter how bad mama feels. We had this nice, new house and I enjoyed how it looked when it was clean. I just didn’t know how to keep it that way.
And so in desperation (and with the help of Flylady) I built another morning routine.
But this time I did it differently. I didn’t just make a huge list of things I wanted to get done each morning. I didn’t overwhelm myself by scheduling a new task every five minutes. I spent a few days to see what I normally did each morning and went from there.
So if you’re floundering, unhappy with your current “routine” — or maybe you don’t have a routine at all — here are six easy ways to help you build a morning routine that sticks:
- Give yourself time. Don’t just go in half cocked trying to change your world. Give it a little time to figure out what you want and need to get done in the mornings and build from there. Also, give your new routine a few weeks before you give up and try something new. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to get in the groove, so to speak.
- Keep it simple, sweetie! If you have an hour to spend on your morning routine, you can’t try and squeeze three hours worth of work in there and expect to stick with it. You’ll get frustrated and give up. So save yourself the stress and guilt and:
- Start slowly. Pick three to five things that you want to implement and do those for a few weeks. When you feel like you have the hang of it, start adding a few tasks.
- Write it down. Put it on sticky notes and hang them on your bathroom mirror. Add a page to your homemaking binder. Use index cards, a dry erase board or a plain old piece of paper. It doesn’t matter what you write it on as long as you look at it. You’ll find that as time goes on you’ll probably need to look at it less and less as your routine becomes a habit.
- Don’t compare. Just because Suzy Homemaker mops all of her floors every morning doesn’t mean you have to as well. Don’t try and be like someone else — YOU are the only person that has your life. You need to do the things that are applicable to YOU, not someone else. (I could write a whole other blog post on this subject, but for now I’m stepping down from my soapbox!)
- Revisions are okay too. Life has a habit of changing on us — new jobs, additions to the family, added responsibility, etc. — and you can’t keep trying to use a routine that doesn’t work anymore. It’s okay. Routines are not set in stone. If you find yourself in this situation, just start over with #1 on this list and make a new routine!
If there is one more thing I can add it is this: don’t forget to give yourself grace as well. There will be days that just don’t go according to plan. You all know the kind of day that I’m talking about. When the toilet backs up and floods the bathroom. Or your baby is sick and you just need to give some extra cuddles.
Those things happen. Regularly, it seems. Do what you can and pick back up tomorrow. It’ll still be there. :)
And while I firmly believe that each person should have their own routine, I know when I was first starting out I was looking for someone to give me a guideline — some sort of base to start from so I could see how “everyone else” was doing it. You know, the “normal” people. (As if there even is such a thing. :))
So here is my morning routine. I have found that I do better if I do everything in threes. It just works for me and I remember it easier.
1. Wake up, make bed, get dressed.
2. Drink water, read Bible, make coffee.
3. Empty dishwasher, make breakfast, wake up kids (if they aren’t already awake).
4. Eat breakfast, morning chores with C, my morning chores.
5. Reading (or play) time, J nap, C homeschool time.
Your routine may look nothing like this. That’s okay! Do what works for you!
All I know is this: my life runs so much smoother if I have routines in place. I’m more productive, better organized, and happier. I don’t run around in circles flitting from one job to the next — never accomplishing anything — and I don’t waste time wondering what I need to be doing. It’s all written down in my homemaking binder waiting for me to check it off and go to the next thing!
You know what routines give me? Peace and stability. And I can always use some peace and stability. :)