Despite all the books I've read about time-management and organization (Organized Simplicity, One Bite at a Time and Tell Your Time, to name a few), I haven't actually followed through and been organized enough to have a daily routine.
Routines come and go in my home, mostly because in the last 6 years, I've moved twice, had three children and have been learning the ins and outs of being a new pastor's wife.
As these years have gone by, my life has gotten so much more complicated. I realized a few days ago that I can't stay on top of things like I used to without a tool to organize my day. So I finally decided to buckle down and use all this knowledge I've gleaned to make a daily routine!
I already had a bedtime ritual (wash face, brush teeth, devotions, sleep) so I realized that the term "routine" doesn't have to be something intimidating: it just has to be some general events l that I put into practice enough times to make it a habit.
There are lots of details that you can incorporate into creating a routine, but for me at this stage of life, it boils down to four simple things that I hope you will find helpful for creating your own routine:
Make it Flexible
If you're a mom reading this, I'm sure you realize that every day is different. Kids get sick, you need to run an unexpected errand or you're otherwise sidetracked. Instead of devoting every minute (or even every 20 minutes!) to one activity, parcel your time out in chunks.
For instance, our children's morning routine starts at 7:00 am and runs for one hour and 15 minutes before we have to leave for school. It includes very simple tasks: eating breakfast, doing family devotions, brushing teeth and getting dressed. By allowing ourselves this amount of time, the occasional hiccup in our plans doesn't have to leave us in a tizzy.
On the days my daughter doesn't go to preschool, we give ourselves an hour for a craft in the morning, an hour for reading and free play and an hour to prep and eat lunch. You can create a routine like this for each day of the week on separate pieces of paper so that week by week things can remain somewhat consistent.
In the past I created schedules that were broken down into 15 minute increments. They always failed. I'm learning to preserve my sanity by not expecting too much out of my day (note the word learning).
With three kids six and under, there are days when things just do. not. happen. And I'm finally figuring out that that's okay. After all, the dishes will always be there. My kids won't. Take a blank notebook and a pen and write down three things you want to accomplish that day. That's it, just three.
These are things aside from what is normally required of your day. They can be small, such as "make a dentist appointment" or "wipe the kitchen cabinet knobs", but I guarantee that when you don't overwhelm yourself with too many tasks to be accomplished that your stress level will plummet. At least mine has these past few days! Do these things during a time of day when another chunk of your routine is taking place. Call the dentist during naptime and wipe the cabinet knobs when your kids are coloring a picture. Then you can turn your attention back to your children or to other daily tasks.
Make Time for Fun
I can sometimes be a drill-sergent mom when it comes to getting chores done with my kids. I want everything to be accomplished efficiently and quickly, but it seems my children don't share the same desire. It's important to keep a relatively clean home and to declutter or organize once in a while, but we type-A personalities can also make a purposeful effort to just let loose and have fun! At the end of the day while we're waiting for daddy to come home, we play games, sing silly songs or just relax and read books. Usually everybody gets stir-crazy and needs to just go outside or goof around by that time of day anyway.
Find a Home Management System You Love
There are many different home management systems out there, some of which can be printed for free. Everyone functions differently and you may find that one system suits you better than another. Or it could be that a simple notepad and pen where you write out a general plan for each day.
Here are a few systems I've enjoyed tinkering with in the past:
- Finding Hope Home Management Printables - I did a review of this system some time ago and I still use it! It's very simple and streamlined and you can pick and choose which printables you really need.
- Simple Mom Daily Docket - This is a free download, a simple printable tool that really has helped me get through my day. It can help you manage your household on a small level and is also useful as a basic to-do list.
- Motherhood on a Dime Home Management Binder - Stacie offers these printables free to subscribers. They're pretty and functional and provide you with a way to keep everything in one place, including home responsibilities, kids information, blogging schedules, recipes and calendars.
Do you have any tips for creating a successful daily routine?