It is isn’t it? Routines seem to run in circles. Each day or each week we perform the same tasks year-round, trying to stay caught up or in sync with what is expected or necessary for us to function at our best.
Summertime gives us an ever so slight excuse to take a break from routines and so we do, as often as possible. We go on vacation away from the routines just to take a break and a deep breath. But, alas, laundry still needs doing, dishes still need washing, groceries still need fetching and then, before you know it, school and back to work routines begin again. And here we are, ready to talk about routines for the new school/work year and all the craziness the end of year activities will bring. Staying caught up once again becomes a priority. So how do we keep it fresh and something not to hate? The kids get new backpacks, notebooks, writing implements, lunchboxes, clothes, etc. but what about moms and dads?
How can we keep it fresh and exciting for the whole family?
Here are some tips that might spark ideas or have you jumping right on board with how to look forward to that something new in the something old of the roundly routines.
First up, CREATE TRIGGERS:
Triggers are those things that while doing one thing you suddenly remember that you need to do the other thing when you are done. Triggers can actually be good for staying organized and they help create habits that, once embedded in a schedule, become time saving and freeing for more creative pursuits.
Washing dinner dishes = prepare morning coffee by setting up coffee maker and setting the timer. It may only save a few minutes in the morning but those few minutes can buy you time for whatever is on your agenda for the day. Every second counts.
Cleaning up from dinner = making lunch for the next day. While putting away the leftovers, put some aside for the next day’s lunch. If the kids need lunch for the next day, now is the time to do it while everything is still out. More time saved in the morning. Don’t forget to label the bags for each person. Have some fun with it by throwing in a few jokes, using stickers as decorations, a special dessert, etc.
Bath Time = Laying out clothes for the next day. Think about this one for a minute. Think about all the strife and fuss and time saved by preparing the night before with an outfit. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast one last time to help you be as prepared as possible. And don’t forget your outfit.
Sports Practice = 30-60 minutes of exercise for you. While the kids are at practice, instead of just sitting there barely watching, take a friend by the hand and walk for the time it takes for practice to be done. It might be the only exercise your body gets but you will be doing yourself a great deal of good by getting up and moving around. You’ll sleep better too.
Clock in the bathroom = remaining present and aware of the morning habits you create. Some days are just harder than other days and getting ready in the morning needs all the attention you can give it. With all the time saved so far this morning by setting the coffee maker, laying out your clothes, pre-making lunch, where might you be able to use or shave a few minutes in the bathroom while getting ready? If you need to add time to this routine, even for a little while, you have it if you need it and can adjust accordingly by keeping tabs on the time.
Limit breakfast food choices = better diet, time saved cooking and cleaning up. Limit your breakfast options for everyone to only 2 choices. Easy to prepare and serve, easy to clean up, easy out the door.
Strategically placed Sticky Notes = staying NOW focused and limiting the possibility of forgetting something. Put a sticky note on everything from clothes, to food, to shoes, to bags, to doorknob, etc. Small, helpful reminders placed in odd places can be a Godsend when there is just too much going on at one time. Designate colors for different notes, collect each note as you go to see how well you did in getting everyone out and where they needed to be.
Back of car seat Organizer = Corralled and de-cluttered car items for easy use and location. Not just for kids’ stuff. Adults supplies can be successfully stored in this organizer so that you can lessen the number of items that need to keep transferring from car to home and back again.
As Isaac Newton said: “An object in motion stays in motion.” Except when interrupted by summer break and vacations. Then all bets are off. So, if getting back in motion is on your to-do list now that we are at the half way mark of summer then I hope these tips will help you get going and motivated to make this one of the best roundly routine starts ever:
WILL: Not just willpower but the power of your will. Keep reminding yourself, “I WILL” continue to exercise even though my schedule will change. “I WILL” continue to eat healthy even though the foods will change with the seasons. “I WILL” watch how I spend my money so that I can make sure to have what I need when I need it. “I WILL” be more organized with all the new paperwork coming into the house so that I don’t lose track of anything important. “I WILL” keep a detailed calendar for everyone’s schedules. You get the idea.
Build a Week: The concept of Build-a-Bear is to keep adding to the bear while creating the kind of bear you want to share life with. Your week is no less important or life changing. Build your week as the days go on. Monday do one task completely and take on more if you can. On Tuesday do two tasks completely and add more if you can. On Wednesday do three tasks, etc. Start with something small and keep adding small tasks throughout the week. Keep track as you go so you can see how much you accomplished without feeling overwhelmed.
Create what doesn’t yet exist: If you don’t normally prepare your coffee pot to brew automatically for you in the morning, why not give it a try. Waking up to freshly brewed coffee might be all the inspiration you need to get up and get going. Create a habit you have been wanting to create. Designate a certain day for certain routines if that will help. Take your time, be good to yourself if you forget. It takes time to create new routines inside old routines.
Hate it, then get on it: It’s okay if you don’t want to do something today. Just try not to give in to it too often. Your day needs you to be as on point as possible so that you can be ready for whatever you can’t count on. If you get backed up and today just isn’t going to work itself out, let it go. Forgive yourself and count on tomorrow being a brand-new start. Tomorrow’s are great like that.
What are you looking forward to about the summer ending and routines starting up again? Do you have plans to make this round of routines special?
What is the hardest part of getting back into a routine?
What changes have you made to streamline your time and feel more organized?
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