There are some things I just wish I had a natural inclination towards. I wish I wanted carrots for a snack instead of a chocolate bar. I wish I preferred said carrots naked and raw instead of dipped into salad dressing. I wish I preferred wearing socks and closed-toe shoes instead of flip-flops year round. I wish I was a morning person instead of feeling like I finally wake up ready for the day at about 7pm.
I wish I was a minimum of a day ahead in my blogging. Oof.
My mom bought me a sign once. It simply read . . .
Say it ain't so, mama.
Alas, few truer words have ever been spoken.
Natural inclination or not, I'm forging new paths, that's for sure. One size-8.5-flip-flop-adorned step at a time. And one of the best things I've got going for me these days is a few new elements:
- a first-thing-in-the-morning routine
- an after-the-kids-get-home-from-school routine
- a before-I-go-to-bed routine
Now I'll certainly talk more in a later post about the other ways I am trying to organize and order the externals of my day, but these three little elements are hugely helpful in keeping me focused in at the right times and to the key things in my day where beginning or finishing strong might otherwise fall to the wayside.
The concept of these routines is absolutely not original to me. Most recently they have come back into my brainstorming via carved-out time I spend each Monday morning with my dearest friend Kaki. She and I are both trying to establish/re-establish some order in our everyday life. She pulled out an old copy of The Sidetracked Home Executive (SHE) as well as some FlyLady stuff and is working her way through re-familiarizing herself with it. It's some good, good stuff.**
**Alright, let me just stop right here. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to make a confession. It is definitely good stuff, but I once subscribed to FlyLady emails and thought I was going to scream or shoot my smartphone at the sheer number of emails that came in everyday. If trying to keep order and stave off chaos was the goal, the deluge of emails wasn't getting me any closer. Maybe I over-subscribed or something bizarre, but whatever the reason, I soon unsubscribed and never looked back. There now, I've confessed. Let's move on . . .
Routines are a big part of these approaches to pulling it all together. Actually, what I like about them is really it is a series of small routines strung together in a day to bring order. So I'm creating bite-sized chunks of routine and plugging them in, especially in critical places where we sometimes have "bleeds" in the schedule. It's a sort of triage for our day.
Here are the routines I've set up and I'm working on. Some things I'm finding a groove in, others not yet, but this is the goal. To keep it real, I've highlighted in red the ones that I'm not really doing yet, but am working towards:
first-thing-in-the-morning routine (5:30 to 8:00 am)
-shower/get dressed down to my shoes (including brushing teeth, fixing hair, and putting on whatever jewelry I'm going to wear . . . if I was a consistent makeup wearer it would include that application, but I'm not so I leave it off. Doh!)
-swish & swipe the toilet, sink, and countertop in my bathroom
-make the bed
-start laundry I loaded into washing machine the night before, then put in dryer
-spend time reading the Bible, journaling, and praying
-check the day's calendar
-empty the dishwasher
-15 minutes of decluttering
after-the-kids-get-home-from-school routine (2:20 to 5:45 pm)
When they first walk in the door, the kids need to:
-hang backpacks up
-empty lunchboxes and hang them where they goThis chunk of time and routine is definitely still a work in progress. The kids get picked up an hour apart from each other (at 2:20 and 3:30). So I have built in free time for them until 4:00, which makes the rest of this schedule really not kick in until about that time. I have designated the cutoff for all of the "work" of the day to be 5:45 so that we can enjoy dinner and an evening together freely as a family. Our oldest, who is 12 years old has to factor in time for her homework each day, as well. I am letting her work out her schedule (because she loves that kind of thing - read:firstborn) under a watchful eye so I can help her tweak it if it's not working for her.
For me, this is the time that I:
-finish the drill on the folding/hanging laundry
Between 4:00 and 5:45 all three children (ages 4, 6, and 12) need to:
-pack their lunch and fill their water bottles up for the next day
-take all of their stuff that has migrated downstairs back to their rooms
-do a 10-minute tidy of their rooms
-put away personal laundry
-do miscellaneous, individualized chores (like feeding pets, taking out trash, etc.)
-get a bath
before-I-go-to-bed routine (some time between 7:45 and 9:30 pm)
-load the dishwasher
-load laundry for the next morning
-2 minutes clearing a hot spot (a catch-all place that can become a problem area)
-wash face/brush teeth
-read 10 pages from a book of choice
there you have it, three routines I'm working to follow. I'm putting
forth my best effort, but not striving to the point of contortion. I'm
building on them each day. And if in a week or so I realize something
in the rundown of the routine just isn't going to work, I'll go from
Do you have routines for morning and night? How about any
other part of the day that needs some TLC in your world? I'd love you
to tell me about it in the comments!
P.S. This is NOT what me
and the mister look like working around the house, for the record. But it's a nice idea. Ridiculous, but nice. Look at both those fools polishing chrome. Yeesh.