Change of seasons means a change in our routines. Some of the changes are really big. For those with children, the entire routine of the day and evening changes to school and fall sports schedules, and overlapping plans. Some of us even change homes and look forward to spending the colder months in a warmer climate.
But routines change in smaller ways, too, that aren’t quite so obvious. We change our diets – the cold salads that got us through summer change to pots of stew and soup that warm the kitchen. Clothes change. Beauty routines change as we come in from the humidity and sun to a drier home. Cleaning and tidying changes – we are putting away the outdoor furniture and moving indoors, and the opening of school means keeping up with the clutter that schoolwork and projects bring in.
So we are going to Routines and Things expert, Ashley Brown, for some basic advice on how to set a routine and stick to it. Ashley Brown is an educator, mom of two, holds an M.S. in Nursing, and is an entrepreneur! As a busy woman herself, she’s on a mission to help other women start and maintain routines that help them improve their lives. Ashley strongly believes that “routines are a form of wellness and can be a beautiful springboard to improve your home, yourself, and your life.
We turn it over to Ashley to talk about breaking tasks into steps, keeping the overwhelming feeling away, and adding fun to your tasks.
ASHLEY BROWN: TIPS FOR SETTING A ROUTINE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Setting a routine can help you manage the busyness of Fall. With kids returning to school, many returning back to work, and the holiday season approaching, having a routine to keep you organized and grounded can prove extremely beneficial. Below are three tips for setting any routine and making it stick.
CHOOSE ONE ROUTINE
First, decide which routine you want to start. There are plenty of routines you can choose to build aside from the well-known morning and evening routines.
To provide you with options and to make this decision less overwhelming, start with these five routine buckets: cooking, cleaning, children, self-care, and planning. Think about whether you are lacking structure in any of these areas and decide to start with the category you need the most help in.
Once you choose the category, you then need to narrow your focus and get more specific. For example, if you decide you need the most help in the cleaning bucket, specify the type of cleaning routine you need. For example, you could start a laundry routine, tidy routine, kitchen routine, or weekly cleaning routine.
Choosing only one routine to start will increase your chances of having success with the routine.
MAKE IT YOURS
Now it’s time to create the routine. When creating your routine there are four components to consider to make it your own so that it fits the unique needs of your life. The four components include simplicity, realistic expectations, flexibility, and fun. Keep your routine simple. Only choose a small amount of steps. It’s best if your routine resembles an outline rather than a script.
Next, it’s important to have realistic expectations. For example, if right now your life can’t handle a morning routine that starts at 5am because your bedtime is at 11pm, that’s okay. Set yourself up for success by keeping a realistic lens. In addition, creating a flexible routine provides space for spontaneity.
Think about making your actions broad instead of super specific. For example, instead of meditation every night, replace this with mindfulness activity. This small adjustment allows you to change your mind while still maintaining your routine.
Lastly, be sure to make your routine fun. The routine itself may not have you jumping for joy but you can pair your routine with things that make you smile like listening to music, aromatherapy, talking to your bestie on the phone or watching your favorite tv show.
KEEP IT GOING
To continue to reap the benefits of your routine, you must remain consistent. Reminders, rewards, and recognition will help you stay motivated and keep momentum. Visual reminders such as calendar notifications, sticky notes around your home, or keeping items within eyesight can be really strong cues to keep your new routine going.
Rewards are also extremely helpful. This can be a tangible reward, such as buying yourself something after a month of doing your routine or praising yourself after each time you complete your routine.
Lastly, recognition is a powerful tool to help you stay on track. Constantly recognize and acknowledge the positive benefits your routine is adding to your life. Is it helping you to feel more at ease in your day? Or maybe it allows you to not feel rushed in the mornings. Focusing on the impact your routine has on your well being makes you twice as likely to keep your routine going.
Find more of Ashley’s tips and products at routineandthings.com.
Ashley’s new book, The Routine Building Handbook, a practical resource that makes routine building simple, realistic and manageable, is available for preorder. It’s an all-in-one habit builder for increased productivity, inspired work, and lasting success!
Pre-order The Routine Building Handbook