There have been many stages in my short time as a keeper of a home–The Newly-wed: Everything is new and lovely; The Valley: I’m coasting, but I may or may not be lost; The Game Face: Something’s got to change; The First Home-Owner: Everything is going to be perfect now; (repeat The Valley and The Game Face).
Somewhere in my second phase of “something’s got to change” I read Ruth Soukup’s post about having a morning routine. My problem, however, seemed to be more a “mid-day crisis.” I would find myself wondering from room to room, overwhelmed, not knowing what to do first. The laundry needs to go in the washer, but I want to make my bed first, but shouldn’t I get the dishes washed before my husband gets home, and, oh my, what am I going to cook for supper?
Sometimes it helped to find a quiet, dark corner of the house, curl up, and let the house fairies do their work. I wish.
As I prayed about the stress and feelings of failure, God began guiding me. I remember the first day I created a full daily routine. I felt so lighthearted! I had my day planned out for me, and I no longer had to stress about what to do first or if I had enough time.
And it actually worked!
Then I became pregnant.
Enter “The Fatigued: Nothing else matters but sleep” phase in my house keeping. I felt good about my day if I made supper. Sometimes, however, I was too tired afterwards to enjoy it with my husband, and the couch looked so much better than the food I had just fixed.
When the summer slowed down a little, and I entered my second trimester with a little more energy, I knew it was time to go back to a routine. Why do I benefit so much from having a daily routine?
First of all, my personality plays a huge part. I always functioned better with structure such as high-school and college. When my time was up to me, I didn’t do as well. I’m laid back, I guess, and don’t have near the natural concept of time that my better half does. Creating a routine with a built in time structure was the best thing I could do for myself.
A routine was great for helping me create habits such as reading daily or exercising regularly. If I had a time set aside for it, it was harder to ignore or make the old “no time” excuse.
The sense of accomplishment when I follow my routine is something that keeps me going. It’s so much different than before when I may feel like I worked all day and didn’t get anything done. That feeling comes from not getting the important things done. When those are out of the way, I have time to focus on other things that gives me even a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, such as cleaning out a closet or making a batch of homemade bread.
One point Ruth made when talking about a morning routine is that creating habits free up brain power for other decisions. For me, if I don’t have to think about when I’m going to put a load of laundry in the washer, I can think about other things like if I have time to sew this afternoon before my husband gets home. The consistency just makes everything go smoother.
As I mentioned earlier, it was very stressful for me to try to force my laid back brain to focus on time and get everything done and in a timely manner. Yes, I still have dishes pile up if I choose to procrastinate, but even then, I have a plan and a way to get back on track. Even if I go through a period of stress (which I do) it’s much better than the constant stress of knowing I have a problem and not knowing how to fix it.
Creating a successful routine
- List the important things: I wrote down everything I needed to do every single day.
- Create a variety: My routine does not only consist of housework, but also personal goals and hobbies.
- Identify your most productive time: I knew if I tried to do too much early in the morning or after my husband got home from work, I would never get it done.
- Know your limitation: Don’t overcrowd your day and set yourself up for failure. Give yourself cushion for emergencies and other activities.
And here is a free printable if you think a daily routine may be for you, too.