Routine Examination

After a crazy, busy couple of months, I have been finding myself longing for routine--not something I often do. 

Because of this, I wanted to republish the below article I wrote in November of 2011, during a difficult family time--a time made easier by routines: 

MY LIFE LATELY--Anything But Routine

(November 23, 2011)

It has been a long time since I have life has been anything but routine. An important part of owning your own business is setting goals and keeping deadlines...BUT another thing that has been important to me as a business owner is the ability to take time off when needed, as I have just done for the past month when my grandmother was placed in hospice care. I was able to be by her side as she went through the last weeks of her earthly life, and finally went on home.

My grandmother was a creature of habit, a master of routines. As her creative, right-brained granddaughter, it made me a little nuts at times, especially as a teenager. But as I grew up and had a family of my own, and especially over the past few weeks as our family dealt with the stress and sadness of her passing, I noticed that I had a whole new appreciation for simple daily routines.

In our day to day lives, when is life ever really routine?? However, if life doesn't give it to you, here are a few gifts you can give yourself each day (yes, they really are gifts...just disguised as routines):

1. Make Your Bed Each Morning-- This simple habit has actually been shown to increase your happiness. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project has written about it, and pulling up the sheets and comforter as soon as your feet hit the floor takes less than 5 minutes.

2. Give a Focused Fifteen Minutes to Manage Frustration--Is there a room in your house that seems to fall apart every time you turn around? For me (and many others, I am sure), it is my kitchen.

Each Morning, right after everyone is off to school and work (and the room looks like a box full of gremlins were let loose), I set a timer and quickly straighten and put away breakfast dishes, lunch making items and and anything else that is out of place. Most days I even have time to empty the dishwasher and wipe down the counter and table before the buzzer goes off. Getting this done before I settle into my work day helps me immensely.

What room and what time of day make sense for you and your house? This little bit of time each day can make a world of difference.

3. A Load a Day Keeps the Crazies Away--Does this sound familiar? On the floor is the heaping pile of clothes that needs to be washed, on the bed is the pile that has been washed and is waiting to be folded, and on the dresser is the basket with folded items that need to be put away. UGH--how overwhelming.

So much of our daily mess stems form this task that never really can be completed (someone is ALWAYS making more to wash!). Trying to get all laundry loads done at one time, or doing laundry ALL the time, catch as catch can, will wear you out like a pair of old underwear with a spent elastic band.

Completing one load from start to finish every day can give you a sense of mastery, accomplishment, and peace. Simply don't start a new load before the last is put away, and do the process all the way through (wash, dry, put away) once a day. You will be amazed at how easy it is, how little time it takes, how there isn't stuff just laying around in transition, and how good it feels to not have a  mountain of smelly socks staring you down on Sunday afternoon. I first started doing the laundry this way after reading about it via the Flylady...and each time I have strayed away from the method, I feel bogged down again by the task & I wonder why I ever try any other way.

Pick one of the routines I have listed above, commit to it for the next week, and see how it changes things for the better.  Simple routines can make stressful times (such as the holidays) more manageable, and give you more time and peace.

I wish you and those you love a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Giving thanks is another routine we should all practice daily. Amen!