I often get asked "How do you fit everything in?" "You must be so busy" My reply is always the same "routine, routine,routine" For as long as I can remember I have had daily routines, blame it on my Mum. She had us in routines right from day one, and well I did the same with my kiddies, maybe that's why they started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, both of them. Anyway back to the point, routines can have some real benefits, like giving you more precious time to do what you love to do, achieving your goals and you feel good because you are getting things done!
It`s probably fair to say that everyone has some type of routine in their life. Most of us just see a routine as a function or a need, like brushing your teeth, having a shower or doing #2's at the same time everyday!!!!! however not everyone uses routines as a way to save time and achieve your goals. Initially, that's how I saw routines too, however over the years I have noticed some benefits of my routines and worked on making a more conscious effort to develop really effective routines.
When the kids were little and we were in that morning madness phase of getting everyone out the door, that was when I really kicked routine into top gear. Having routines meant that we all knew what we had to do and everything was sorted and ready to go, no running around madly trying to find things and do last minute homework or assignments in the car, or dashing into the shop for lunches. The biggest benefit for everyone was that day always started pretty calm and on time. Ok we were human and sometimes things did go to the dogs!! but not that often.
So now as a midlifer and emptynester my routines are different and the same. I still have to get up and get ready and still have to clean the house!!! However I have more me time so I have been able to add some self care and development routines into my life that is really paying off and certainly helping me to achieve my goals and "fit everything in".
Achieving your goals is actually done by taking small steps regularly, action this, done , on to the next action. A good example is a goal to get fit and lose weight, achieved by taking small actions everyday , like 30 minute exercise and a morning smoothie. So in reality, to achieve your goals you need to "master your day", well that's what I think. By mastering your day everyday you achieve your goals! And that's where the routines come in. Developing useful and effective routines in the morning and evening can help you to achieve these goals. The best way to illustrate this is for me to take you through my morning and evening routines.
My Morning Routine
Alarm goes off at 5am, weekdays and 7am in the weekends. This is an hour earlier than I need to be up because I use this time to focus my mind, exercise and learn. Some of you may be familiar with the book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod . I follow a very similar approach, so my first 60 minutes of the day looks like this;
- Meditation - 10 mins
- Affirmations and visualisation - 20 mins
- Exercise (yoga) - 10 mins
- Readings and journal - 20 mins
I use a couple of really good apps that have free programmes plus paid subscriber programmes. I just access the free ones which are just perfect for me at this stage. Calm is a great meditation app and has got great reviews and awards. There is a really good 7 day course for free that introduces you to meditation, totally recommend you doing it. I now just us the "timed meditation", 10 mins and it always ends with a lovely quote to get your day started.
Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I ran for a number of years, however being a long lanky thing I am not really designed for it and after a number of calf muscle blow outs, had to stop. Mrs B (awesome yoga guru) put me onto Yoga and I have not looked back, now incorporating it into my daily routine, both morning and evening. I use Asana Rebel app again as with Calm I use the free programmes which I find great. I did pay for a subscription which gives you the ability to build your own exercise programme and even gives you a coach. If you need help with motivation, I would recommend getting the paid subscription, it's a nominal monthly fee. The other point of note is that I actually took a 10 week Yoga beginners course which I again would strongly recommend. I think that without knowledge of Yoga poses you may not get the full benefit.
So by 5:40am, I am warmed up and energised with a clear and calm mind and good focus for the day. I then go and make myself a cup of tea and do my readings and journal which actually is my learning time. I listen to podcasts of Webinars that are relevant to what I want to learn more about. Spotify has great podcasts, currently listening to Simple Pin Media which has fantastic tips and information for bloggers on how to use Pinterest to grow your blog business. I also have the Library app called Libby where I loan audio books from our local Auckland library, Getting Things Done by David Allen is on my playlist at present. (Totally buy the book, there is a reason it's a top seller). I always get some gems of learnings and actions to take from my "readings" in the morning which I follow through on and ensure that I action.
At 6am I'm good to go and start to get ready for the day and at 7am am out the door with Smoothie in hand and jump on the bus.
Now I really need to be honest here, I was never one that thought a lot about meditation, affirmations etc, in fact always thought it was a bit tree huggish!. However after doing some research into personal development I started to look into this more and I have been absolutely blown away by what a difference this has made for me. So for me the big benefits are the ability for me to be really focused on what I need and want to achieve, the commitment level and motivation I need to achieve it, the energy and passion and how important looking after myself is in order to achieve my goals. I do also feel a lot calmer and focused on what I have to do today, my mind is not a muddle of "to do's". I certainly feel fresh and alive in the mornings than being half asleep!
My evening routine
Unlike my morning routine, my evening one is spread out over the evening and some have time frames and others are more tasks/actions that I need to do every night. Here is my evening routine;
- Yoga - 30 mins
- Tea together at the table
- Tidying with Tania work - 1-2hours
- Zone Cleaning - 15 mins
- Kitchen cleaning - 15 mins
- Lunch preparation
- Clothes out for morning
- Reflection and planning
The first thing I do when I get home...well after me and Pete have our wee hello hug and kiss, I get my yoga gear on and do a 30 min session. It is normally a pretty sweat inducing session and really gives me great energy to get going again at the end of the day.
Pete and I also always sit down at the table and have tea together and catch on the day and ourselves and family. That's probably one the most important routines that we have always done, before we have kids, while the kids were at home and again now they are gone.
My cleaning routine is easy as I have a regular one that I use which is based on zone cleaning. I am just modifying it as the completed renovations have changed what I need to be cleaning. If you want to get an idea of my cleaning routine check it out here . I would also recommend that you check out my Home Cleaning Pinterest board which has lots of great information on home made cleaners and cleaning routines.
My kitchen cleaning just means that the last thing I do at night is clean down the counter tops and make sure everything is cleared away. I also give the floor a quick once over with the microfibre cloth. As I do this every night it means I do not need to big weekly clean of the kitchen as it is always clean. I also like to put my essential oil diffusers on, one in the kitchen to get rid of the cooking smells and one in the lounge.....Pete calls them "stink pots" yep he is a Southern man, so does not always appreciate the way of lovely smells from essential oils.
Making my lunch and getting my clothes out the night before just takes away the rush and hassle of making decisions in the morning. You need to do this, it makes such a difference to the morning.
Once in bed I review my day, checking what I have achieved and plan out my actions for the next day, and just like the start of the day, I do this with a cup of tea....ohhh bliss. then my head hits the pillow and I`m out for the count.
Reflecting on achievements, no matter how small are motivational, for me any way, even if it's that huge pile of washing that's been sitting on the couch forever! Sometimes things occur during the day and you don't get everything done so it's a good time to plan and work out realistically when you can do it. By just taking a few minutes to do this makes a huge difference to the mind and how rested it feels. I find it does really help me in getting a good sleep.
Making it a Habit
My routines are now habits so I don't really think of them as anything other than a part of my day. However I do know that it's because I have these routines that I can achieve so much in my day. So like the saying goes...I am what I repeatedly do.
So how do you get into a habit of doing your routine everyday, morning and night? Well I think it just comes down to commitment. How committed do you want to be? What do you really want to achieve or change?
Something that I do find helpful and it might seem a bit silly, but it does work, is a habit tracker. I use these when I am adding or changing routines. The research says that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so tracking the routine everyday for at least 21 day gives you a good chance at turning your routine into a habit.
To help you with tracking your morning and evening routines I have created a habit tracker. Yep no excuses now. Just pop your details below and the Free Habit tracker printable will be winging it's way to you.
Free Habit Tracker
A simple and easy to use tracker to help you turn your routines into habits
Master my day
So by simply doing my routines every day I am actually achieving my goals, because every day I take another action and another step closer to my goals. This makes me the Master of my day and not the day being the master of me!
I'd love to hear from you, are you trying to achieve some goals, or simple wanting a less chaotic day. Think about trying a routine, even a few small actions, list them in the habit tracker and give it a go, remember it only takes 21 days!
Happy habit making everyone
Follow me on social media for more tips, ideas and talk from Tania, just click the links below