What Routines Do You Need in Your Life?

Building routines into your daily life

In January, I got this amazing little journal called 52 Lists for Happiness (it’s apparently the follow-up to a book called The 52 Lists Project, which I’ve already decided I’m buying for myself next year).

The basic premise is that every week there is a double-spread with a some prompt and you write a list based on that prompt.

Building routines into your daily life

I am the world’s worst journal keeper, but a list? I’m a champion list maker. I’ve loved sitting down during the week if I have a quiet moment or on Sunday night when the girls are in bed and working on the week’s prompt (I started a few weeks into the year, so I’ve been slowly catching up).

I’ve also apparently reverted to my 13-year-old self by using a glitter gel pen.

Anyway, List 2’s prompt was “List the routines in your personal life and work.”

I started writing away and came up with some good routines that I’ve established over the last couple of years to keep my life running smoothly. For instance, I do all my laundry on Monday so that I only spend one day a week thinking at all about it, we have pizza and movie night every Friday night, we attend storytime at the same time every week, and Bart and I have been really great about reading for about 30 minutes before bed this year thus far.

But by the time I got to the second page, I’d kind of run out of routines and so instead I started a list of things I NEED a routine for.

Building routines into your daily life

This list was VERY easy to come up with.

For instance, grocery shopping and menu planning is killing me. When Ella was in public school last year, I had a good system down where I took the girls to story time, then went grocery shopping, and then picked up Ella from school on the day the school got out early each week. Now, I have no set day so I’m constantly feeling stressed about when I’m going to go, when we’re going to run out of staples, etc.

Even with grocery pick-up, I still have to plan ahead, so I need to choose one day a week where I ALWAYS sit down to make the menu and grocery list, and place my order to pick up the next day. But I haven’t figured out a good day for that yet.

Building routines into your daily life

I also don’t have a great work routine set. I work at the same time every day, during naps and quiet time, but I don’t necessarily have a good flow for getting my blog posts written, photos edited, planning, social media posting, freelance writing, etc all done. I’d love to work through the time I have each week and figure out when to do what so I can stay on top of things better.

I know how much easier routines make my life – I almost never think about laundry and I don’t have to convince myself to do it, because it just happens like clockwork every Monday. I don’t worry about dinner on Friday night. I don’t think about what I’ll have for breakfast each morning (yogurt and homemade granola with mini chocolate chips and cashews).

After close to two years in Arizona, I finally have a library routine that’s working for us.

If I could create similar routines for other parts of my life, I think it would simplify things substantially for me, freeing me up to do other things with what limited brain power I have left after a new baby.

I’d love to hear what routines are working well for you (and what areas you could really use a routine in)!

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  1. I recently (since January) started a nightly routine where I have a cup of tea or cocoa and get everything ready for the next day, including laying out my clothes, packing my lunch, and going through my schedule to make sure I’ll have everything I need. It sounds super simple, but it makes a huge difference when all I have to do is grab my bag on the way out the door in the morning!
    Your routines reminded me of your “Day in the Life” posts- will you do a 4-child edition at some point? Those are some of my favorite posts!

  2. I think my favorite routine is during my baby’s morning nap. After I put him down I read a couple books to my older kid(s) and get them situated, then I turn on an audio book and go clean the kitchen and so the dishes. I realized last month how much more I liked doing the dishes when I have a good audio book to listen to. What I really need a good routine for though, is cleaning other parts of the house.

  3. Every Sunday night, I’ll sit down with my weekly Bible study as well as my planner. I spend around 15-20 minutes just looking over the schedule to get a sense of the coming week, put together a quick meal plan/grocery list, and any special notes for the coming days. It’s amazing how such a simple and short routine transforms my week! I feel much more on top of things!

  4. I have a weekly reset on Sunday: I do the laundry between Saturday and Sunday, I take out the trash, clear our home’s clutter hotspots, and wash and pack fruits and snacks to take to work on Monday for the week and for the kids. I also wash towels and bedding that day. I feel wonderful on Monday morning. Every night, I do a quick pick up and sweep and mop our white 🙁 kitchen floors. I also prepare EVERYTHING for the next morning and line them up by the door, so we can grab and go.

  5. I relate so much to this. I feel like I had great routines for everything, but then the twins came and I had no routines for anything. I’ve really been working this year on routines that streamline the way I run my household, get the chores done, and work smarter instead of harder. I’m still guessing on a lot of things, but I have great routines down for our daily schedule, getting out of the house every day, groceries, and my work schedule. Still working on laundry and a consistent, easy cleaning schedule.

    1. Please share your daily schedule, we moved to a new town and I am struggling with this so much! Any tips appreciated!

  6. I use the Swipes app to have all my weekly jobs recur as to-dos and then I get the satisfaction of swiping them away when they are done! The intent is just a little bit of house cleaning every day but I usually end up doing most of the week’s worth on Mondays. Do laundry every other Monday. I have kinda set schedules for what I do during quiet time each day (Wednesday: update photobooks, Thursdays: sew) but I could definitely be better about regulating my blog and computer work. It’s usually just whatever needs done the soonest! If you get a good system down, please post about it!

  7. I totally need a good work and laundry routine, but I feel like I’ve totally got grocery shopping down lately. I usually pick my recipes Sunday night, write down the ingredients that I need, and then after breakfast on Monday I go and shop for what we need. I’ve also let go of feeling like I need to do some crazy elaborate dinner every night and accepted that doing baked potatoes for dinner is ok, along with things like pasta, and oven pancakes and fresh berries, and rice and veggie bowls. Our grocery budget stays lower, and my kids want to eat the meals, so it’s been working out!

  8. I love easing into my work day by checking email, reading the headlines and advice columns while eating my daily breakfast muffin, checking my calendar, and then tackling the day’s projects. I just started using Trello to organize my work tasks and I’ve been so productive! I think I’d have more routines at home if I lived alone.

  9. How do you do all your laundry on Monday? With 6 of you in your household, you must have a ton of bedding and clothing, etc. to wash. I wish I could do all mine on one day, but there is no way. I am curious how many loads you end up doing on those Mondays.

    1. I do one load of adult whites, one load of adult colors, one load of children’s colors, one load of children’s whites (with their sheets thrown in every couple of weeks), one load of towels, and one load of adult bedding every other week.

  10. I think the hardest for me is that life is constantly changing and routines have to adapt. I do pretty good when school is in with the morning routine and the dinner/bed routine etc. I do laundry mondays and Thursdays. I usually grocery shop on Monday mornings. Etc etc. but then throw in a snow day (or week) or Christmas/spring break and I’m overwhelmed and everything falls apart haha. I need to figure out how to manage my life when all my kids are home all day. I honestly don’t know how you do it!! I’m actually a little terrified of this coming summer haha. I’m already trying to figure out what our routines will be.

  11. I have a pretty solid meal plan + grocery routine….but every time I try and explain it to someone they get this freaked out “woah, lady” face and then I get all self-conscious. But, I’m gonna try and hope you don’t judge me too much, lol.

    The basics: a legal pad magneted to the side of the fridge, top page is week 1 menu plan of meals and sides and events and date night, second page is running grocery list, third page is week 2 menu, which I fill out as I get inspired or have leftover meat to use again, or whatever. When week 1 is over, I rip it off and toss it, then tear off the half-finished grocery list (no running out of staples this way, either kitchen staples or important things like TP and shampoo) and finish the next week’s plan and necessary groceries. Take grocery list to store. Rinse. Repeat. (I also write down any prep stuff I have to do on the meal plan. So, Tuesday is taco salad, which means Monday’s “meal plan” has an asterisk note to take the turkey out of the freezer to thaw.)


    1. Love this, so smart!!!!! I swear when you get a routine that works it is the best. Don’t be self conscious, I got my laundry routine idea from a blog commenter and it has changed my life! Seriously!

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