Routines rule the world.
It’s the underlying factor in all of those Rich & Successful People Do These 81,930 Things! articles. They all have a routine, and they rule the world.
Moms, on the other hand, are usually hanging on by a thread. Getting it all done feels impossible! And a lot of the time, it is. We’re constantly catching up on something only to be interrupted. When I needed to create a routine as a working mom, it was a challenge because…
The underlying factor for all of us is inconsistency. The most consistent part of motherhood is inconsistency.
Why moms NEED a routine
We need some structure guiding our days, plain and simple. That’s pretty obvious, but there’s more! (There always is…)
Whether you’re tracking it or not, you already have a routine. But is it productive? Is it covering everything that needs to be covered? Are you getting enough done everyday?
For a while, part of my routine was drinking a glass of wine once baby fell asleep. That was not planned, it was just a reaction from one crappy workday and it became habit. As much as I love my cab sav, it was unhealthy.
Planning to tackle the important things doesn’t just get stuff done, it redirects time that would otherwise be wasted or misused. I will admit that I should’ve spent my *wine time* reading or working on my blog lol
There are a handful of perks to having a routine, and moms could definitely benefit from them. My top 5 benefits are below.
1. It will save you so much time
Routines become habit after a short period. Suddenly what used to take you 10 minutes will only take you 5. Once you get your morning routine nailed down, you could start sleeping in an extra half hour. Yes, please!
2. It will allow you to focus harder on the less mundane tasks
When things become habit, you can do them on autopilot. And once they’re done, you won’t be distracted by the must-do items that should’ve been done by now. Freeing up brain power for something more… worthy.
When I was alone with my daughter for weeks at a time, I had to stick to a strict routine just to stay sane. I never would have gotten anything done otherwise. I could probably give my routine credit for my DIY deck, but you be the judge.
3. It will seriously reduce stress
Since so much gets done faster, and let’s face it… generally just gets DONE, stress will practically melt away. Sure, you spent time doing it, but it had to be done anyway and THIS WAY you didn’t have to think about it. (It’s all habit now.)
4. It builds confidence
Getting all that nonsense done like a boss feels goooood. Like Super Mom good. Within 1 week, you will amaze yourself with how much easier it gets (and how much more accomplished you feel every. damn. day.)
5. It will help you sleep better!
Holy Cow this alone is worth it. Since I started following a regular evening routine, I have never slept better! It’s like natural melatonin.
I used to struggle. I’m talking about laying in bed for an HOUR or more just… thinking. Thinking of all the stuff I didn’t get done, how much I WISH I had a better handle on things, and how overwhelmed I was with life. But now my body is just ready to drift off as soon as I’m done with my last evening task (moisturizing my hands).
We all feel too exhausted and stretched too thin to even imagine a little bit of consistency. But the benefits of a routine are hard to pass up. A chance at any of these is worth fighting for, don’t you think?
How to get started with a new routine
All righty, onto the process.
First. Write everything down.
Everything you have or will ever need to do regularly. And I’m talking everything.
Not all of these things will make it into your daily routine, but it’s a great exercise to just get it all out of your head. Plus I have more help for those other things, too. More on that later.
*Feel free to start with only your everyday items and keep following along.
I use a google sheet that lists EVERYTHING that needs to get done in or around my household. My list covers everything from “brush teeth” to “pull weeds”. If you’d like my template, let me know in the comments!
Anyway, get it all on paper (or spreadsheet) and keep it safe. I still come up with stuff that didn’t make the list the first time around so it’s nice to have the freedom to add to my list. yay…
Second. Determine the frequency of those tasks
Next to each item, write down how often it needs to be done. My items are either:
- 2x daily
- 2x weekly
- 2x monthly
- 2x annually
I don’t like to watch things fall through the cracks, so you get the idea.
Using google sheets, I can easily sort my tasks by frequency, but on paper I like to color code frequencies. So daily items get highlighted in pink, weekly items get green, etc.
Third. Pick 6 “daily” items.
Out of all of the “daily” items, pick the most important 6 things to do every day. Amongst those, decide which should be done in the morning and which at night. My spreadsheet has 10 rows for morning and evening routine tasks, so don’t be ashamed to throw “brush teeth” on their twice (I do!).
I say pick 6 and no more because biting off more than you can chew will only make a routine harder to get the hang of. We want it as easy as possible right out the gate. We’re going to get the hang of doing these every.single.day. before adding much more.
Feel free to do more things, but I wouldn’t worry about holding yourself accountable for those. Aim to get those 6 things done everyday, first.
Fourth. Start tonight!
Start your evening routine TONIGHT! And follow up with the morning routine tomorrow.
We always say “I’ll start tomorrow” and that is the first bad habit you gotta break. Instead, start tonight!
Maybe even time yourself and think about your schedule. How much time are you willing to spend on these tasks? How can you speed it up?
Fifth. Take notes as needed.
Notes! There is a notes section. This is where I write down things like “vacuum every OTHER day” just to alleviate my workload. But sometimes I’ll mention tasks I’d like to work into my routine, or mention changes to my daughter’s schedule.
Sixth. Slowly work in adjustments
Consistency is what makes a routine work so well and offer all those sweet benefits from above. Resist the urge to challenge yourself with more than 6 to-do items!
The power of pen and paper (or keystrokes and spreadsheets)
Making it real is the secret sauce for success. Success in ANYTHING. That’s why people create vision boards, and that’s why moms make to-do lists.
The best routine is put on paper. But that’s only day one. The next step is following up with yourself. Which is why I love the google drive option.
The last thing I do at night is mess with my phone. Now I just jump into my Drive and mark the things I did that evening. Then I do the same thing in the morning after my routine is complete. It’s kinda like an extra routine item, which is cool. Write that down too!
We aren’t just creating a working routine, we’re establishing good habits.
Accountability is key & bi-weekly check-ins fit even the craziest schedules
The hardest part of anything is getting started. Holding ourselves accountable is hard when were a) exhausted, b) overwhelmed, and c) riddled with inconsistency.
But that’s why we need a routine! My spreadsheet will make tracking your routine so much more practical and fun* (that’s up for debate, so let me know what you think)!
I designed the sheet with 14 blocks for marking your progress. So you’ll have two weeks to fill it in, and once it’s full it’s time to start adding in those notes.
I chose to go with two weeks instead of one (or a whole month!) because there is enough to do every weekend. This way, every OTHER weekend gets a 10 minute window for me to make a copy of the sheet, make the necessary adjustments, and reevaluate my routine.
So every two weeks is when I decide to add something in, take something out, or make any big changes to my daily routine. It’s easy to see which things didn’t work out, which things should be added, and how much time you want to spend on these morning and evening rituals.
Give yourself two weeks to be self-centered. Focus on making your daily tasks priority number one, and allowing yourself to get more done with less effort.
You’ve earned it.
Now, grab your copy & let me know which benefit you’re looking forward to most. My favorite is perk has to be sleep. Ha! It’s a game changer, for sure.