Friday, May 24, 2013

Using Routines to Create Consistency (Even When You Can't Keep a Schedule)

In a recent meeting with my mastermind group, we were discussing the challenge of being consistent.  The context of this was focused on blogging, of course, but we discussed consistency in other areas of our lives as well.  The consensus seemed to be that we were most consistent with the things we had to do (buy groceries, any number of things related to babies, work deadlines, etc.).

I have given it some more thought, though, and I realize that I have been successful at being consistent with optional things (like reading, making my bed, or going for walks) at different points in my life, even since I've had two little ones at home.  I've been pondering what has worked for me.  Why do some things stick and others don't?

We don't have a strict schedule around here.  I try to plan my day loosely around baby naps, but even meal times are different from day to day.  My husband's work schedule varies.  My work schedule varies.  Both my babies are very laid back, so we just go with the flow a lot (though afternoon naptime is more or less sacred).  So when there is no schedule and each day is a little different, how in the world do I maintain any sort of consistency?

Routines.

First of all, routines are good for babies.  Past that, though, I have had the most success being consistent with my own priorities when I work them into a routine around the times of day that happen without fail:  breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.

With that in mind, an ideal day looks like this:

After breakfast:
Make my bed
Get dressed & brush teeth
Hang up diapers to dry (we wash them overnight)
Put on load of laundry
Write blog post/write for an hour

After lunch:
Put Saul down for his nap
Spend 10 minutes in the kitchen loading breakfast/lunch dishes, etc.
Wash bottles
Transfer or hang up load of laundry
Work

After dinner:
Family walk
Put laundry away
Clean up toys
Baby baths & bedtimes

After babies are asleep:
Put diapers on to wash
Dinner dishes
Read
Go to sleep

Like I said, this is an ideal day.  Not all of these get done every day, and, of course, days like this get totally interrupted by grocery shopping, church events, dinner with friends, etc.  Having a basic plan, though, helps me be consistent with my time when it is available.

I guess, then, that if I want to be more consistent about something, I just need to ground it to one of these mini-routines throughout the day.  Daily routines seem to come easily to me, but if it needs to be done once a week? Forget it.  I am terrible at weekly routines.  Something to work on, I guess.

How do you encourage consistency in your life?  Do you have any life-saving routines to help you get it all done?
 


2 comments:

  1. Hope, that's interesting. I also have no problem with daily routines but doing something once a week- forget it. I can't seem to work it in and then even when I do, I forget about it the next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kerry! I'm so glad I'm not alone. I have tried a number of weekly cleaning schedules (Mondays: clean bathrooms), and none of them stick. Haha. Maybe we will figure it out someday. =)

      Delete