The Power of Routines

Everyone knows that we need to establish routines for new babies and small children, but what about for adults?  Can routines help us too?

A routine is a habit of doing something in a particular order. Establishing routines can help you corral those necessary, but “not so interesting” daily, weekly or monthly tasks into their own time slots so that the remaining time can be used for things that are a bit more enjoyable! Routines

Here are a few areas where it might make sense to establish routines:exercise, shopping and cooking, doing laundry, paying bills, cleaning (both routine and seasonal), maintaining your car and yard, or cleaning out your closet.  I’m sure you can think of many more!

Likewise, routines can help you find time for the things you want to do, but can never seem to get around to. For example, you can establish routines to make sure you have time for reading, sewing, scrapbooking, or going out with friends.

So how do we establish routines and habits?  Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a habit. My recommendation is to play it safe and give yourself 30 days for good measure!Here are a few tips to get started:

  • First, be clear about what your intentions are and why. What are the benefits?
  • Remind yourself of the routines you want to establish by writing them down in your planner or calendar, or put post-its on your fridge or other visible place.
  • Keep it simple and realistic. Don’t try to establish too many new habits or routines at the same time.
  • If the situation calls for it, get a buddy. It can be really motivating when someone else is counting on you!
  • Stay flexible and be open to changes in your plans, and don’t over schedule yourself. Just because you have a routine, doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. Get back on track as soon as you can.
  • Keep it personal and do what’s right for you! Don’t try to follow someone else’s routine (it may not work for you or your family), and avoid anyone who is negative about your plans.
  • Keep track of your progress, and make the process more rewarding by celebrating your accomplishments!

Here are a couple of examples of how routines have worked for me. One that I’ve stuck to for many years is to exercise first thing after the kids go to school. Sometimes (especially in the summer) this routine has to change, but most of the time it works fairly well. Another thing I’ve done is find time to scrapbook regularly. I do this with “buddies” and we have an established place, day and time. I also have routines for laundry, house-cleaning, and paperwork… but haven’t been so successful in finding time for other things like reading and gardening. It takes persistence to develop routines that work, but in the end it’s worth it!