Welcome to Part 5 of the Home Management Series! Today, we are shifting gears from talking about decluttering, simplifying and cleaning our physical space to honing in on the routines and systems that help us maintain our physical space. Doing this work is important! It will free our minds from decision fatigue, focus our days and allow us to live the life we want. One of my favorite quotes by Lysa Terkeurst captures it perfectly:
“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul”
Let’s dive in!
What are Routines?
Routines are the backbone behind home management. Essentially they are habits followed one after the other, each one acting as a cue for the next which allows you to build momentum. When incorporated correctly into your life, they keep you from starting each day back at ground zero because things are running on autopilot. Eventually, these little daily steps lead to giant leaps in productivity and overall life satisfaction.
While some of you might be thinking that establishing routines will suffocate your creativity and make your days boring – I would argue that this has actually had the opposite effect in my life. Routines have given me the freedom to spend time doing things that are important to me. Perhaps, right now, you are like I was a few years ago. Are you struggling to find time to actually play with your kids? Do you wish you had more time to experiment in the kitchen? What about all those books sitting on your shelf waiting to be read? Whatever it is that you can’t seem to find the time for, establishing routines will give you that space for what matters. Your priorities will reappear in your life once again!
Where do I start?
So you want to start a routine in your life but you aren’t sure how to begin? The first thing I would urge you to do is clear your mind of any expectations, especially perfectionism. It will never be perfect AND there is no perfect place to start!
This was my problem a few years ago. Paralyzed. I was overwhelmed by raising twins, I couldn’t find a second of alone time for myself and forget about having dinner on the table each night. Grocery shopping was the last thing on my list. Maybe that is the position you find yourself in today.
For others, I would venture to say that the reason you haven’t gotten started with any routine is that you are afraid that it won’t make a difference. Why bother cleaning up when it will just get messy again tomorrow? My question back to you: Yes, it will get messy again tomorrow. But is it working for you now? Does your life look like what you imagined? I know my answer.
So with all of that said, your starting step is this:
- Do a personal inventory and identify your domino area by answering this question. What is the one area in your life that would cause the other things to start falling into place? For example, maybe you are too overwhelmed to start a cleaning routine because there are dirty clothes piling up everywhere around your house. Your Domino Area: Laundry Routine. Once the clothes are picked up, the cleaning routine will be a much easier task. I hope that makes sense.
Here are some common routines to consider:
- workout routine
- evening routine
- morning routine
- cleaning routine
- decluttering routine
- laundry routine
- meal planning routine
Maintaining Your Routines
I hate to the bearer of bad news but starting a new routine is the easy part. Maintaining this new routine is the hard part. This is all about consistency and commitment. It requires you to focus on the bigger picture. Do I want to wake up at 5 am every morning? Heck no! I do it because I have seen the benefits of getting alone time and a workout in before my kids wake up. Eventually, this routine has become so second nature that I don’t have to think about it. My alarm goes off and up I pop. Trust. The same thing will happen to you. But until it does, I want you to use this fact as motivation to keep going.: it is more draining when you don’t have a routine.
*Pro Tip: I want you to set reminders for your new routine in your phone, on your calendar, or around the house on post-it notes. Wherever you will actually see them and be triggered to keep going.
“That is where simplicity is found: in committing to what’s important and giving yourself permission to have margin in your life”
– Emily Ley in A Simplified Life
I want to end this post by briefly touching on the seasons of life. It’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind as you start to make changes to your days. What season of life are you in right now? For me personally, I am in a season of nurturing within the walls of my home. The routines I have created set me up to function at my best capacity as a mama and as a wife. My workout routine gives me energy. A morning routine centers me and brings me peace. The cleaning and laundry routine keep my house running smoothly so I have white space in my calendar. All of these routines were created for the sole purpose of committing to what’s important right here and now.
If you find yourself completely overwhelmed, remember what all of this is for. Use that as your fuel to get started. It won’t be easy. It takes work to make real changes in your life. But I promise small steps lead to big changes. And it will all be worth it. I’m always rooting for you!
I’ve written in the past about some of the routines I have set up in my life. You can read about them here:
Valerie McFarland Blog Post – Morning Routine
Valerie McFarland Blog Post – Daily Routine with Toddlers
Valerie McFarland Blog Post – Meal Planning Routine
Valerie McFarland Blog Post – Workout Routine
Valerie McFarland Blog Post – My Bedtime Routine
The Joy of Missing Out – a helpful book when you are ready to dive into this concept
Kendra Hennessey – Mother Like A Boss – for beginners, this is a great course to take to jumpstart your routines and home life!
Thanks for tuning in! See you back here next week as we take a break from regularly scheduled programming to bring you our recap on Hawaii. XO