“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” – Gretchen Rubin
Are you craving a little more stability and ease in your life? I know I’m always looking for ways to make my days run more smoothly, and I’ve found that sticking to a daily routine has created space for this in my life.
Routines can create consistency in our schedules, help with time management, and encourage us to build healthy habits in our lives. On the other hand, our routines can hinder us if we’re not being intentional or purposeful with them.
In this post, I’m sharing a step-by-step plan to help you map out an ideal daily routine that encourages you to be intentional with your time.
Why Your Routine Will Change Your Life
Once upon a time, I completely resisted the idea of routine. I thought that routines were boring, mundane, and rigid – three things I am not a fan of. I also had this firm belief that I couldn’t stick to routines because I could never get the motivation to follow through with my plan.
Fast forward to now and routine has given me stability in my life, helped me become more productive, take better care of myself, and create boundaries that prevent me from living on autopilot. Routine has also helped me to be more consistent – something I seriously struggle with.
When I do the habits and activities that make up my bigger routine, I feel a lot more stable in my life. Having a routine means I know which order to do things in and this reduces the number of decisions I have to make – which is especially important in the morning when I’m low on time.
Is there a downside to routine?
Of course, there are routines that we fall into because of habit. Coming home from work and vegging out on the couch becomes a routine if you do it every day.
While some argue that routine stunts our personal growth, I believe that an intentionally curated routine can bring us greater clarity, direction, and fulfillment in our lives. If we make a conscious effort to add activities into our routines that nourish our minds, bodies, and souls, we are less likely to get burnt out, bored, or stuck in negative patterns.
How To Create Your Ideal Routine
Have I convinced you that a daily routine is something you need in your life? Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff! I’ve put together a few steps that will help you map out your own routine, so let’s make it happen!
Step One: Choose The Routine Type
First, decide which type of routine you’re trying to create in your life. Is it morning, night, afternoon, etc.? Most people gravitate towards a morning routine because mornings can feel like such a struggle, but a night routine is also beneficial if you want to stop staying up too late.
Freebie Alert: Get a free night routine planner here. Get a free morning routine planner here.
Step Two: Find Your Motive
Think about why starting a routine is important to you. What’s your motive? Why are you trying to create a routine? Is it because everyone else says how important it is? Or maybe you want to stop rushing out the door in the morning or stop staying up so late. Get clear on your reason for starting a routine because this will give you more motivation to make it happen.
Step Three: Edit Your Current Routine
Think about your current routine and what you do on a daily basis. Is there anything that you could spend less time doing or remove completely? Maybe you want to stop snoozing your alarm or spend less time watching Netflix. You should also take into consideration the things you need to do daily, regardless of whether you like doing them or not. Maybe that’s eating breakfast before you leave for work, choosing what to wear, packing your bag, or taking the dog for a walk.
Step Four: Add Some Goodness
Think about what you’d love to add to your current routine. Is it practicing yoga in the morning? Making a smoothie? Reading before bed? Make a list of 8-10 things you’d LOVE to add. Then narrow that list to 3-5 things (because we gotta be realistic here, my friend).
Ideas for Your Routine
- Writing your to-do list
- Eating breakfast or dinner
- Taking a shower or bath
- Working out or taking a walk
- Listening to a podcast
- Taking the dog for a walk
- Doing your makeup/taking off makeup
P.S. If you love reading about other people’s routines, I’d recommend checking out the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. So freakin’ interesting.
Step Five: Map It Out
Write down what your ideal routine looks like with the things you need to do and the things you want to do. From there, put things into an order that makes sense. Think about how much time you’d like to dedicate to each activity or habit – and also keep in mind the amount of time you have to make it all happen. Consider if you’re trying to get to bed by 10 pm and you have a list of 5 things to do, how much time can you realistically spend on them? Try not to overcommit yourself because this will only make it harder to complete your routine.
Step Six: Make It Happen!
You’ve got it all planned out, so now it’s time to try it out. I’d recommend writing down your new routine and keeping it in an obvious spot where you’ll see it and be reminded of your intention (I forget 99% of things unless they’re written down in front of my face). Try out your brand new routine and see how it flows. Remember you can always come back and make tweaks. Don’t give up right away if it’s not sticking – you’ve got this!
What does your ideal routine look like?
Leave a comment down below with your answer! I hope this has given you some inspiration to create more intentional routines in your life. I encourage you to bring awareness to the routines you currently have, and I challenge you to make healthy tweaks to your routine as often as you can.
P.S. Need help sticking to your routine? Read this post next.
Victor Hugo took a public ice bath on his roof every morning as part of his daily routine. Maya Angelou got up at 5:30, had coffee, then went to a hotel room to write. Anna Wintour arrives at New York’s Midtown Tennis Club at 5:45 to play one hour of tennis every morning.
Morning routines are a fascinating topic, and I’m always intrigued to hear how others structure the early hours of their days. However, what I’m the most curious about is how people manage to actually stick to their routines. How did Victor Hugo find the motivation to take an ICE BATH *cringe* every single morning?
Since I shared my tips for starting a routine last week, let’s talk about how to actually stick to a morning routine once you’ve created one. After all, a morning routine can be great for your well-being, but it can feel like such a struggle to implement.
In this post, you’ll find five tips to help you stick to a morning routine so you can make part of your daily life instead of a well-thought-out plan.
Overcoming My Struggle With Routine
I’m the kind of person who used to love planning out an ideal morning routine, but following through with it was a totally different story. Because of this, I always told myself that I suck at sticking to routines.
I would try to wake up at 6, but every day I’d turn my alarm off and feel completely exhausted. I’d go back to sleep, forget about my planned-out morning routine, and later wake up at 7:30 feeling completely guilty about it. I always blamed it on my inability to stick to routines.
Shifting My Mindset
Eventually, I took a look at my daily schedule and saw that I had routines without even realizing it. I went for a daily walk, always ate breakfast before work, and watched YouTube while doing my makeup. I’m sure if you look closely, you’ll realize that you have a few daily routines of your own.
I also figured out what I need to keep myself accountable to my routine. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, I now understand my preference for starting and sticking to habits. I learned that I’m a Questioner, which means I need a solid reason to do something before making a commitment. If I’m going to stick to a routine or start a new habit, I need to know why. You can take Rubin’s quiz here to find out what your habit style is.
Finding My Motivation
So what’s my motivation? My morning routine keeps me sane. Even if the rest of my day goes to crap, I can feel good knowing I did a few things in the morning to take care of myself.
By identifying my motivation and habit style, I realized that it was possible for me to stick to a routine. I just had to find the right balance.
How To Stick To A Morning Routine
Though I’m not perfect in any way when it comes to my morning routine, I’ve learned what I need to do to stay on track with it. After finding a few strategies that have worked for me, here are some ideas for making your morning routine stick too!
- Shift your mindset
If you think you suck at sticking to routines, I encourage you to look at what you’ve done in the past. In college, I was SO good at sticking to my morning routine because it had to fit around my class schedule. Once I remembered that little fact, I realized that routine was a possibility for me. I just had to figure out how to make it work again.
You most likely have routines in your life now that you aren’t aware of. If you come home from work every day, make dinner, and watch Netflix, that’s a routine. It may not be the one you dream of, but it’s still proof that you can stick to something.
Have the self-confidence that you can stick to routines in your life. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again. Once you get over this mindset block, sticking to a routine becomes a lot easier.
- Be patient with yourself
If your plan is to wake up at 5:45 to start your morning routine but you wake up at 8 right now, you might want to slow your roll for a second. I know it’s easy to get excited about trying new things, but making a lifestyle change takes time and patience.
Changing the time we wake up can be one of the HARDEST changes of all, so you have to be realistic about your timing. Take it one step at a time so that you’re not frustrating yourself when your perfect morning routine isn’t happening as planned. If you want to wake up earlier, try doing it in 15-minute increments. Gradually work your way backwards until you can wake up at a time that feels reasonable without skimping on sleep.
- Keep a habit tracker
Lately, I’ve been using a habit tracker to keep a record of my morning routine. There’s something so satisfying about checking off boxes when you’ve completed a task. Plus, I’m more motivated to keep up with my morning habits if I see a row of checked-off boxes. I love to keep a streak going!
- Remember your motivation
In order to stick to something, you need a clear PURPOSE for doing it. If you’re only starting a morning routine because you see other people doing it, you’re unlikely to make it stick.
Instead, figure out what’s important about a morning routine to you. Is it to reduce stress in your life? To fit activities you enjoy into your schedule? To start your day with more energy? Whatever it is, write it down on a post-it or notepad and put it on your bedside table so you’ll see it when you wake up.
- Try again…and again and again
Travel, meetings, calls, events, and late nights can throw us off from our morning routine. If you have days where you lack the time or energy to follow your morning routine, try again the next day. If there’s a day where I have to skip my morning routine, I try to get back into the swing of it as soon as possible. Trust me, it’s worth the effort to get your momentum back as soon as you can.
What helps you stick to your morning routine?
There you have five tips to help you stick to a morning routine! The most important things to remember are: know your motivation, take it slow, and keep trying. It may not always be fun or glamorous, but it’s worth it! Leave a comment below and share any morning routine struggles or wins you have!
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a control freak trying to navigate the concept of “letting things be.”
Though I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of acceptance and patience, I will admit that I like things to go according to plan.
Who doesn’t, right?
When I don’t feel in control of my life (which is 99 percent of the time), I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
Of course I’ll never feel in control of everything, but I’ve found that it’s possible to feel like I have things (mostly) together with the help of a few tools and routines.
Though it takes effort to keep life organized, it’s worth it because it reduces my tendency to overthink and overanalyze things.
Since we all overwork our brains, the last thing I need is disorganization to clutter up my head more. When my work- and homelife feel organized, my mind can feel a little more at peace.
In this post, I’m sharing five tips and tools that help me keep my life and thoughts organized so I can worry and stress less.
How I Keep My Life Organized
- Google Calendar & Asana
Lately, Google Calendar and Asana have been my saviors when it comes to staying on top of my workload. Though I absolutely love stationery and will always convince myself to buy a planner each year, I simply can’t keep track of my life with a physical planner.
I simply won’t use it consistently. Since so much of my time is spent at a computer, it makes the most sense for me to use digital tools to plan my life.
These days, I use Google Calendar to keep track of appointments and plan out my schedule.
Since I usually have my phone on hand, it’s easy to see if I’m busy right away rather than having to whip out a planner from my bag or risk leaving a planner at home.
For my daily to-do list and project planning, I use Asana. I watched this tutorial on how to manage daily tasks with Asana and I’ve since worked out how to have it automatically compile my daily, weekly, and monthly tasks so I never forget them (let me know if you’d like a detailed plan of how I do this!).
- A Cleaning Schedule
Since moving to a new apartment in August, I’ve been trying to stay on top of chores and making sure the place stays clean.
I’m naturally good at keeping things organized, but I am not the kind of person who likes to clean, lucky for me my husband is.
One thing we’ve done is created an evening habit of cleaning the kitchen before going to bed. I’ll wipe down the countertops and stove top, and he’ll put any dishes into the dishwasher, and put away any clean dishes.
Walking into a dirty kitchen in the morning is not my favorite thing, so this habit helps us feel like our life is somewhat together.
I’ve also been setting certain days of the week to do laundry – usually on Tuesday or Thursday. Having designated days for laundry means I don’t let anything slide for too long, and I don’t have to worry about not having clean clothes because I’ve forgotten to wash them.
You know what I am talking about.
- The Cloud
I mentioned this in a blog post, but I store all of my digital files in the cloud. I use Google Drive, and I try to keep everything organized in different folders.
This has helped me so much when I need to access files on my phone or on another computer if I don’t have my laptop with me. I’ve destroyed too many computers in my life (RIP my MacBook that I spilled water all over after three months of owning it), so I try not to save anything directly to my computer.
This gives me peace of mind and saves me time.
- Meal Planning
I love meal planning!
Nothing makes me feel more put togetehr than shopping once a week and knowing for sure I have verything I’ll need.
I’m good at cooking, but figuring out what to make takes time and energy I just dint have anymore.
An app that’s been saving my butt lately is MealBoard. You can import recipes from websites and blogs straight into the app, and it’ll generate a shopping list for you based on the recipe.
What is more amazing than that!
You can also create a meal plan and decide what you’re going to eat for each meal, and you can track your grocery inventory so you know what you need whenever you’re in the grocery store.
I have no words, seriously this app is amazing go check it out!
- Brain Dumps
I would not be half as organized as I am if I didn’t regularly get my thoughts out of my head on to paper.
Often we think things are way more hectic than they really are because we let our to-dos float around in our heads for too long.
By simply making it a habit to get my thoughts out on to paper in the morning or before bed, I’m able to a) organize them into to-do list items or b) recognize that they are issues I probably don’t need to worry about.
After dumping out my thoughts, I can put certain tasks into Asana for a later date and forget about them until I actually need to think about them.
Thoughts become less overwhelming when you actually force them out of your head.
How Do You Keep Your Life Organized?
Do you use any tools or have any tricks for keeping your life together? Share them in a comment so the rest of us can stay organized too!