What we do every day matters more than what we do once in awhile. ~Gretchen Rubin.
That quote makes so much sense! Exercising for three hours once a month isn’t going to have as good of an effect as exercising for 20 minutes every day.
It’s the “everyday” that makes the biggest difference over time. This is why it’s so helpful to work at creating routines that simplify and improve your life.
How to Create Routines that Simplify Your Life
Good routines are helpful for 4 big reasons:
1. Reduce Anxiety & Stress
The “unknown” is a big cause for anxiety and stress.
As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is magnified even more in my life. Having routines for different parts of the day helps me to know what to expect.
I’m never unsure about when I’ll be able to get the laundry done because it’s a part of my cleaning routine. I’m don’t stress as much about a messy living room because I know it will get picked up before bed.
There is less unknown in each day if you incorporate good routines into your life, which means less stress and less anxiety.
2. More Productivity & Less Procrastination
Routines can lead to greater productivity and less procrastination because certain tasks are a planned part of each day.
I don’t have to think twice about if or when I’ll work out because it’s part of my daily routine. This means that I hardly ever put it off.
I stick to a basic routine for my blogging work which helps me be more productive. I don’t have to spend time thinking hard or planning what needs to be done. I can dive right in because my routine has already been set.
3. You Can Break Bad Habits
Bad habits can be broken more easily if you create a healthy routine to replace it. If you create routines that incorporate good habits, there is less room in your life for those pesky bad habits.
An exercise routine may help you quit smoking or stop eating that bedtime dessert.
A work routine can keep you from wasting time on your phone at work.
4. More Sleep
An evening routine can be a huge help in getting you more sleep. Your body will get used to your evening routine which will help you fall asleep faster.
Plus, when you have routines in place that make you more productive and procrastinate less, you’ll find that you’re not staying up late rushing to get something done when you should be in bed. (source)
Do I have you convinced yet?
Automating parts of your life through routines is a huge help. Creating basic routines for fitness, keeping house, work, and morning and evening are some of the most effective places to start.
Routines to Start
My morning routine is so important to me. I think it’s really hard to recover from a bad morning (you know, when you feel rushed, stressed, and completely frazzled?).
It’s most important for me to make sure to eat something healthy, get some coffee, and get dressed. I feel gross if I stay in my PJs for too long.
After that, I make a point of getting anything done that I’m dreading. I’ll procrastinate and stress all day long about something stupid if I don’t just knock it out first thing.
My morning routine is really simple but it’s runs like clockwork. A good start to the day gives me the energy for the rest of it.
Mornings we’re a huge struggle for me until I went through the Make Over Your Mornings course. I realized that by not having a morning routine, I was wasting an important part of the day and it was making me less productive and energetic all day long. The course is written for everyone, whether you’re a SAHM, you work from home, or you work 50 hours a week in an office.
Part of having a good morning routine is actually having a good evening routine. There are things that I get done each evening that set up the next day.
Here’s what my current evening routine looks like:
- 8pm: Exercise and shower
- Clean kitchen while Austin makes his lunch for the next day
- Pick up living room
- Get ready for bed
- 9:30pm: bed time
- 10pm: lights out
Our evening routine means that I can wake up to a relatively clean house and we get enough sleep.
I’m am not the best housekeeper.
I keep everything picked up and clutter-free but cleaning is not one of my strengths. Generally, cleaning the bathroom gets done when guests come over. #keepingitreal.
I do have helpful routines for other kinds of housework. I have a laundry routine for getting all of our washing done once a week. I also have a meal planning and grocery shopping routine that saves me time and money.
My unofficial kitchen routine is to do the dishes at least once a day and wipe the counters down when I’m done to keep things from getting out of hand.
Even a routine that isn’t very strict at all still helps me get more done. I know to take advantage of a free moment in the day to do the dishes since they have to get done at some point each day.
Any kind of fitness routine is so helpful. It’s easy for exercise to be one of the activities that gets pushed out of your day because of more urgent things. By creating an exercise routine, you cement the habit of exercise into your everyday life, which makes it easier to achieve.
I break the rules and almost always work out at night. It works for me and is such an established part of my evening routine that I hardly think about it.
At 8pm I get up, put my headphones on and do my simple workout routine. This routine is so important to me that even on off days, I still get up at 8pm and spend some time stretching to “preserve the routine”.
In my head, doing some kind of movement every night at 8 keeps that block of time scheduled. Basically, the habit of the habit is more important that the habit itself.
A work routine has always helped my productivity, no matter what job I was at.
When I worked in an office, I had a basic routine of the order I would do certain tasks in. The first thing I did each day was work through the pile of paperwork that was most important. If nothing else got done in a day, I had to get through that pile, so I did it first. After that I would move on to other activities based on their importance.
Now that I work from home as a blogger, I find it helpful to have a routine where I work on different tasks each day. Mondays and Tuesdays I outline and rough draft posts. Fridays, I create images to go with new posts and schedule them.
I work on things in batches instead of one by one. To have a day assigned to each task helps me know what I need to get done when. It also helps me know when I’m done with my daily work so that I can move my focus to extra projects for the rest of the day.
By creating good routines, you can gain all kinds of benefits, including lowered stress, increased productivity, and better health. By automating parts of every day with a routine, we know what to expect and can gradually improve our lives.
It’s what we do each and every day that has the most most potential to change our lives, so it’s important to pay attention to our daily routines and make sure that they are the best they can be.