I find comfort in the routines of the day. The reality is we all deal with parts of our day that have to be taken care of on a daily basis. This applies whether you are single, married, with or without children.
Having routines set in your day can make the whole day run smoothly, and those routines tend to become habits over time. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so you can see how emptying the dishwasher can be done without having to think about it. What about developing time in the Word? Drinking enough water during the day? Exercise?
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Our next post in the Homemaking 101 Series deals with how we handle those routines of the day, but we're also going to take a look at other areas we would like to have a bit more discipline.
I am such an advocate of having a morning and evening routine because it has worked for me for over 20 years now. Starting your day with focus and structure does help you to maintain some order and not have a day of complete chaos. Even if the rest of the day turns to chaos, you have already accomplished a lot in that first hour or two of the morning.
I shared posts with a bit more detail about my morning and evening routine so instead of boring you all over again I'm just giving you the cliff notes version. I'm also tackling the daily to-do list in the abbreviated form. These three happen every day for me: Morning Routine, Evening Routine & To Do List.
Take a few minutes and think about all the regular parts of your morning that have to take place. Items like getting dressed, feeding pets, feeding your family, washing dishes, etc. Then write down some other things you hope to accomplish in the morning. Time with the Lord, exercise or pondering what's for dinner.
If I've lost you here and you are saying you don't like lists or planning, then I'm going to ask you how are your mornings going? Are they productive? Does your day start with chaos or no focus? You do not have to use this system, but I encourage you to set up some morning routine even if it is just mental. Most of the tasks on the list only take a few minutes or less. My time in the Word, getting dressed and breakfast are the most extended items on the list. I like to write things down, and checklists help me stay on task.
(Examples are always a help so here is my current morning routine – it changes with different seasons of life):
–Time with the Lord
-Exercise (sometimes this is just stretching in the morning – most mornings this one doesn't happen. I did start using a pedometer – affiliate link – and that has helped in getting me moving).
-Shower and clean bathroom -(Confession: I do not shower every day)
-Water for the day started (I try to drink 64 ounces a day – I come close most days. I'm a terrible water drinker so I need to keep working on this one. Helps me not to get headaches if I'm hydrated)
– What's for Dinner? (If there are things I can get started in the morning, I do it here – crock pot or defrosting)
-Tidy my kitchen desk (usually I try to do this at night but not always)
-Check email and schedule Facebook posts for the day (yes I cheat – I do all my Facebook posts either before bed or in the morning for the day. I do pop in again a couple of times a day to check comments)
Daily To-Do List
The next part of our daily routine I want you to think about adapting into your day is to write a list somewhere. On the fridge, a note card, in a planner or a piece of scratch paper and just list items you would like to accomplish during the day.
Maybe you need to return a phone call or email. Are there household tasks you would like to try to get to or a card you need to send. Unless it is an utter necessity, I always remind myself what gets done, gets done. The Lord ordains our days, and sometimes we need to be flexible and able to have our plans interrupted for the ones He has already appointed for us. What doesn't get done carries over to the next day. At over 50 years of age, I realize what needs to be taken care of always gets taken care of :).
The purpose of the to-do list is to keep you focused on items you would like to accomplish instead of being distracted and moving through your day with no purpose. We are all pretty good time wasters, and I can think of plenty of ways I waste time so having a list keeps me on task. Our tasks shouldn't be looked at as a burden – all our work is done as unto to the Lord as believers so we should take delight and give thanks for the work He has set before us. Your attitude in how you view your work will carry over to your children.
This part of the day is to help you unwind and get ready for bed with the hope of a good nights sleep. Many times we head to bed with much on our mind and tasks left unfinished, and we don't sleep well, or we have trouble falling asleep. Sometimes we go to bed after just walking away from the glare of the computer or TV screen, and that can be a bit stimulating and lead to difficulty falling asleep.
My best nights sleep are when I take the time to spend a few minutes preparing for a good nights rest. My evening routine helps my morning to get off to a good start. Your list will look different because I don't have littles at home so yours may include bedtime stories, baths and cleaning up toys (it is interesting how most of us set up evening routines for our children without thinking about it – I don't think we outgrow this one).
Here's my list:
-Finish all the dishes and run the dishwasher/clean the sink (I don't scrub it every night but make sure it is rinsed out and give it a wash with a bit of dish soap. I don't enjoy waking up to dirty dishes in the sink, so I'd prefer to take the time in the evening to get the kitchen cleaned up.)
-Check Calendar for tomorrow
-Write out tomorrows to do list (Helps me sleep because those thoughts aren't racing through my mind as I'm laying there).
-Pets took care of for the night
-Get ready for bed & face washed (I cheat and use face wipes – the link is an affiliate link and is so you can see what I use, but I buy them at Walmart)
-Prayer time with hubby
What to do with all these lists?
There are several ways you can keep your lists. Before all this modern technology I just used index cards. I had my morning and evening routines taped to a kitchen cabinet door and wrote my to-do list on an index card every day. If you're techy, the HomeRoutines App is a great way to keep them handy on your phone.
Set up a morning and evening routine and make a daily to-do list. If you already have routines in place be diligent in keeping them as best as your day allows and see if they make a difference in your day.
Share with us how you go about your routines. Do you have a system you use? Do you not have a system and that works for you? Please share it with us in the comments. Links to posts about morning and evening routines and to do lists would be a great help to all of us so we can see if there is a system we like better.