Take a minute to think about what your current routine looks like? Do you have a routine? What does it look like? Are you maximizing your hours in a day?
How do you know when it is time to establish a routine? It may be time to establish your routine if you are having difficulty managing your priorities, you feel like you are unable to catch up with tasks, there are not enough hours in the day to complete everything, and you often feel exhausted or depleted despite getting plenty of rest. You may already have a schedule or a routine, however, is it healthy? Do you feel rushed or do your days feel chaotic? Are you feeling accomplished at the end of the day rather than overwhelmed and constantly tired?
It is necessary to identify the advantages of a routine or schedule in order to understand why it is helpful. Routines keep you on track. It enables you to be efficient and make the most of your day. In addition, routines provide structure and discipline. Setting a routine can help organize your days. However, maintaining that routine is just as important. It does not help if you do not stick to a routine nor is it effective if you deviate or abandon your schedule frequently. Focus on being consistent.
Now that you understand why it is important to have a routine, the next step learning how to create a routine that works best for you. Consider the following questions to help you get started: What tasks do you tend to do daily or weekly? Is there something you do not do that you would like to start doing? What time of day do you have the most energy? What should your routine include? Might it include exercise, plans with your children, cleaning, healthy meals/meal prep, self-care activities such as reading, baths, doctor appointments, etc. Next consider efficient activities for your mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
Create a morning ritual that will help you get moving and be most efficient which may include making tea/coffee, vitamins, exercise, getting the kids ready for school, praying or meditation, reading, etc.
In the afternoons, include activities that might allow you to take a break and refocus. Taking breaks throughout the day can improve your concentration and focus. For example, get up and stretch if you typically spend long hours in one position, listen to music that motivates you, or go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air if you have the chance.
In the evenings, focus on yourself and/or your family. Incorporate activities that helps you prepare your body for bed. What helps you prepare for bed the best? Is it taking a bath, lighting a candle, writing your to-do list for the next day, or journaling?
The following is a list of tips for establishing a healthy routine:
o Test it then perfect it. Test your new routine for a period of time to see how it is working for you. Be flexible and don’t forget to modify what is not working.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by doing too much. Be realistic—do not expect to accomplish everything in order to be successful. A routine is meant to act as a guide for your days.
Having a routine isn’t about filling every hour of your day with tasks or errands. Sustain some spontaneity, add mental breaks or self-care activities to rejuvenate your energy, and find moments to be grateful for.
If tasks seem overwhelming, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks or goals to get your momentum going.
Establish and maintain healthy boundaries by having a limit to your routine or the number of tasks. Just as it is possible to be overwhelmed by a lack of schedule or routine, you could overwhelm yourself with too many tasks; find your perfect balance between the two.
You can use a daily planner, app on your phone, or notepad to keep track of tasks but figure out what works best for you.
Goals are a great way to monitor your progress whether your goal is to do three new self-care activities a week, organize your room, or to meal prep for the week. You can even create three larger goals to accomplish for each week that are your top priorities.
With time and consistency, healthy habits transition into healthy routines.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today. In other words . . . You are preparing for something.
John C. Maxwell
Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success
Alyssa Curry, MA, LPC
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