Oh my, how good it feels to be putting pen to paper again…well, I guess more like fingers to keyboard, but you get the idea.
Let’s talk about establishing routines…Some would say routine is bad because it makes you complacent. While that can be true if you don’t give yourself flexibility & grace, it can also be a productive, positive thing for your life. With the holidays rolling up on us faster than the speed of light this is super important for you, your family, & your sanity. If you go ahead & establish (& stick to) a functioning routine now, it will work even better after the holidays, too!
Since I began my new job last summer & started my 4-on/4-off schedule last Fall, I have seriously struggled with time management & my own routines. I am very much a type-A personality, so not having a good, established routine that worked was like nails on a chalkboard for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I wasn’t trying, in fact, I feel like I tried just about everything. I tried “just make a to-do list & get it all done” but then I would work myself to death with no time left for me. I tried scheduling all my chores for my 4-off days but then things would pile up during my on days so all I did was chores during my off days. I tried scheduling things weekly & monthly, but that didn’t work since my schedule constantly shifts by a day each week.
Finally, I came up with a plan that has worked for me- & that’s really what establishing a routine is all about- does it work & does it work FOR YOU? There are SO many ideas & strategies out there & that can be overwhelming. Sometimes the strategies end up taking more time to create than actually doing the things on the list, so you really just have to find something that will fit your life. I’m not saying those strategies are wrong, but sometimes it’s better to pick & choose from multiple strategies & outlets to create a working smorgasbord-system for yourself than to try to conform yourself & your life to a cookie-cutter system.
My routine is established in increments of 8 & it starts on the first day I go to work. I established a daily routine for each of the 4 days I have to work. The layout for those first 4 days is the exact same. For those days, I gave myself a general schedule of what I need & want to do in the morings before work, during my lunch hour, & after work while I’m at home. I didn’t lock these items in to be done at certain times so as to give myself some flexibility. There are also things listed every day that I may not even have to do, but is just there as a reminder, a way to jog my memory if I do need to do it. I also make sure to give myself grace when I don’t get everything done.
For my days off, I have them individually planned. Each day has some common & some different chores. Ex: I start my day with my Bible study, then, EVERY DAY I rinse & load the dishwasher, fold a basket of laundry, etc. The variable chores are things like sweeping, dusting, etc that I may not really need to do EVERY DAY, but still need to plan to do every week. I also scheduled “themes” each day I’m off for my different businesses (Grace Ballroom, this blog, Mary & Martha), as well as to give myself some me-time. There is also regular time scheduled to work on the bigger, less-common, household chores such as washing baseboards or cleaning inside the cabinets. I found a great pin (see the pic to the right) that has a monthly checklist for less common, but still important, chores for around the house. I typically pick 2 to do each rotation from the current month’s list. That way, I do some each week so they don’t get neglected over time but it’s not so overwhelming since I’m not doing it all at once.
Ultimately, my days generally start the same, the middle has some variety but is always chore & business related, & the afternoon & evening are set aside for other things I want or need to do such as projects around the house, hanging out with friends, or reading a book. This gives me stability but also the flexibility to make time for what matters most: time with God, & time with family & friends. Plus, since the days are sectioned out in “chunks” if something comes up that I have to do in the morning, I can flip my days around easily.
Overall, routine isn’t bad. It creates a sense of stability that helps you use your time wisely & be more productive. Routine becomes a BAD thing when it becomes too restricting, you become negative toward yourself for not getting it all done, or you don’t allow time for yourself, family, & friends.
Give yourself a system to improve your health, productivity, & life…but also give yourself some grace when you don’t get it all done how you planned.
If you’re trying to establish a routine that works for you & you’d like to see mine as an example, you can check it out here: 8-Day Routine.
What kind of routine has worked for you? Let me hear from you in the comments.
Be blessed, friends!