Create Routines That Work (No Matter How Non-Routine Your Life Is!)
As a mom, it’s likely that your days and weeks aren’t always the same. For some women, this can lead you to believe that your life just isn’t conducive to routines. But this simply isn’t the case!
Every single one of us can create routines that are going to help us maximize efficiencies, reduce churn, and minimize time being wasted — regardless of how unpredictable or fluid your life may be.
You do not have to have a routine life in order to create routines that are going to bring you tremendous benefits.
When I talk about routines, I simply mean a series of tasks that are always done together in one group.
An easy example could be the routine you follow to get ready each morning. You may take a shower, brush your teeth, put on your clothes, and put on your socks and shoes.
A routine does NOT have to be followed at the exact same time every day or every week in order to be a routine. In fact, the idea that routines have to look identical day to day is where many women start to believe that routines aren’t possible for them and their lives.
Having a routine does not mean it has to be executed at the exact same time or on the exact same day every single week.
A Look at My Daily Routines
If you’ve been in my space for long, you know I have a morning routine that I love. However, I don’t always do this morning routine at the same time each day. It varies from the week to the weekend and from the school year to school breaks.
I also have several other routines that I leverage throughout the course of my week that are not always done at the same time or even on the same day from week to week.
Here’s another example of one of my routines...
Between my work and personal life, I have 8 email accounts, and I know if I were jumping from inbox to inbox all day, it would take up a huge amount of time and energy. Instead, I have a set routine where I check my email 3 times each day. Occasionally, I do it more depending on what is going on, but most days, I only go into my inboxes 3 times.
This saves me a tremendous amount of time daily because it allows me to focus on my emails when it’s that time. Plus, I'm not distracted or being pulled away from my other tasks every five minutes because I’m always jumping back into my inboxes.
Creating Routines That Work For You
How do you go about identifying where you can leverage routines in your life?
Use this simple exercise.
- Get out a piece of paper and a pen.
- Quickly brainstorm the activities that you do every single day (packing lunches, cooking meals, answering email, checking social media, etc.).
- Take a break and step away from your list for a bit.
- Come back and, with a fresh mind, look at your list and ask yourself, “Where can I be more efficient if I group certain tasks together?”
- Look at your plan for the week and identify when each day you’re going to do these new groups of tasks (or routines). This does NOT have to be the same time every day!
- Test out your new routines.
This last step is so important because a routine may look great on paper, but not actually work well for you in execution — and that’s okay!
Here’s an example of that from my own business:
I produce a certain amount of content every week between my podcast, blog posts, social media posts, emails, newsletters, etc.
While I already had a weekly checklist of the content pieces that I needed to create each week, I decided to test out a routine where I would sit down and do all of my content tasks at one time.
I created the plan and carved out 75 minutes in my week to try and write all of my pieces of content at once.
Then, I did it for two weeks in a row. I discovered that I hated this routine! For me to focus on writing for that long felt very hard, and I didn't enjoy it.
So I gave myself the flexibility to change my routine when it wasn’t working well for me.
Now, I've broken my content creation time into two different chunks each week, and it’s flexible as to where they go in my weekly plans. This gives me all the benefits of having an efficient routine without the stress of doing it at the same time each week or following a routine that didn’t work for my creative process.
Just because you have a fluid, ever-changing life does not mean that you can't harness the power of identifying where you can group daily or weekly tasks that happen repeatedly and create routines to make your life more efficient.
For even more tips and exercises on all things time management, organization, and productivity, check out more blogs or podcast episodes.