Have you have noticed that it gets harder to make decisions toward the end of the day? Evening rolls around and you’re too tired to figure out what to have for dinner or where you are in the kids’ bedtime storybook. We’ve all been there, right?
Knowing and understanding that helps us plan and prioritize our days. We can cut out a lot of decision-making by implementing habits and routines. That way we save our more involved thinking for the important stuff – like what we want to read once the kids go to bed. It also frees brain space for more creative and productive thinking. Routines are a great tool that simplifies our lives and can very easily cut out a lot of our daily stress.
Seriously. There’s no need to wonder where something is if you’ve put it where it belongs (habit).
No reason to stand around wondering what to do next when you have a prioritized plan (routine).
The Benefits of Routine and Habit Filled Days
Chances are you already have a morning routine. You get up, get your coffee, start breakfast, get somewhat dressed (I tend to get dressed enough that my husband wouldn’t be embarrassed if a friend knocked on the door, but still comfortable to lounge on the couch with the kids reading all afternoon), make sure schoolwork is ready for the day . . . you know what I’m saying.
Let’s expand on that for just a moment. If you create a “uniform” for yourself, you don’t even have to think about what to wear. You just grab a pair of pants and a shirt, or a skirt, tights, and sweater and you’re ready to (comfortably) face the day.
Implement some routines into your day wherever possible. Meal planning helps you figure out what meals to prep ahead of time or pull from the freezer. A cleaning schedule makes sure you stay on track with your household chores without you having to spend any valuable decision-making skills in the process.
Wrap your day up with a bedtime routine that not only helps when you’re too tired to make smart choices, it also helps you fall asleep more easily. What works for your toddler works for you as well.
Start your bedtime routine by doing a few chores that make the next morning easier– set clothes out, make sure the coffee maker is set, be sure everyone can find BOTH shoes if you plan to go somewhere. Making sure the kitchen and all the downstairs rooms are decluttered and swept are musts for me. I cannot stand to wake up to a dirty house.
Another helpful idea is to come up with a few calming things that help you slow down and get ready for sleep. Read a book, listen to some music or wind down with a cup of herbal tea. I’m a huge fan of SleepyTime Tea, but if you just want to add to your regular teas, add a little Valerian Root.
And last, but certainly not least, sit down with a pen and notebook and do a quick brain dump. That way your mind won’t be racing while you’re trying to sleep. What are your must-dos tomorrow? Have any deadlines or meetings? Write it all down so you’ll have a reminder first thing in the morning.
Think about what parts of your day and week you can turn into routines. Write them down and create daily to-do lists for yourself until you’ve established these new habits and routines. My entire week is routined (yes, I know that’s not a word, but you know what I mean). Using my Daily Routine Worksheet, I’m able to keep track of what needs to be done and effectively foresee any potential problems and therefore have solutions readily available.
Spending a little bit of time creating routines and habits will make your day run a lot smoother. I’m sure you’ll find yourself less stressed and get more done during your productive hours. I know I have!
To help you get started, here’s my Bad Habits/Good Habits worksheet. This process has helped me leaps and bounds when it came to reinventing my life from somewhat productive to streamlined.
Looking for more encouragement about intentionally cultivating habits? Check out 3 Steps to Create New Habits