People who are resistant to setting up routines often tell me that they don’t need them. They are afraid routines will tie them down and they are hesitant to commit to doing things the same way each week. I will fully admit that I was resistant to establishing routines myself for these reasons. Plus, setting up routines seemed like a lot of work.
Well, I am here to tell you that routines give you more freedom, not less! If you establish routines for your recurring tasks in the home or office, you will soon find that you do them without thinking. You will save time because you will no longer have to think about which tasks to work on and when. You will also have a clearer idea of how much time you really have to devote to other things.
Establishing a new routine is easy to do. If you have never used routines before, try setting small routines first. For example, a daily evening routine might consist of getting ready for bed at the same time every evening and setting out the next morning’s clothes before you go to bed. Since you set out your clothes the night before, you might decide to use the time you save in the morning to start a new routine that includes making the bed and loading the dishwasher before you leave. Simple, right?
Always schedule your routines!
To ensure that your new routines are successful, follow these guidelines:
Write out your routines. Include the steps involved in each routine and the order they should be done. Follow this list each time you do the routine until it becomes a habit.
Schedule routines in your calendar. Often, people fall behind on recurring tasks because they overschedule themselves. Scheduling your routines will allow you to see how much available time you really have in a day to schedule other activities and will ensure that you always make time to complete recurring tasks.
Make adjustments when needed. Summer is an especially disruptive time for schedules: kids are out of school, families are vacationing and summer events fill up the calendar. If the routine that works for you the rest of the year is not working now, consider scheduling your routines for a different time or changing them to accommodate the season.
Start one new routine at a time. Trying to start several new routines at once can be overwhelming. Tackle one at at time, and as each routine becomes a habit consider adding another.
Be a little flexible. It is okay to occasionally move routines if you have a schedule conflict. However, if you find that you are often missing your appointments with your routine, you should consider scheduling it for a different time.
Use someone else’s routine. For chores, nothing bests Motivated Moms. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly chores are planned out for you for an entire year! List lovers should also head over to List PlanIt. They have a premade list for almost anything and templates you can use to create custom routines.
Written by Shelly Collins. Shelly has since left Gateway Productivity to pursue her passion in ADHD coaching. You can find her here.
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