No sooner had I established my daily routine, weekly routines and my cleaning checklists when life through me a few surprises that have made me feel like I am back at square one again. I was sick for a couple of weeks; the kids were sick too which meant sleepless nights and days off school; an unexpected family situation meant I had to spend a couple of days running errands and evenings on other tasks; and my son’s kindergarten time has switched from mornings to afternoons.
While I’ve kept up with (most of) the daily routines like feeding the family I’ve let some things slide.
There are a number of things that can cause us to break with our routines. Some are expected and are nice things, like holidays, family coming to stay, a new baby; but most often these interruptions are unplanned and unwanted, like sickness, death of a loved one or some other family emergency. These kinds of interruptions can affect our mood, feelings and energy levels; which in turn can affect our motivation and desire to get back on track with our household tasks.
So here’s my list of ways to help get back on track – and what I’m going to do about it!
Top 5 tips for getting back into a routine
1. Start and end the day well.
Having a good start to the day really helps to set the tone for the day. Rushing around stressed because you are running late or can’t find things can affect your mood for the day and also take time away from the other tasks you need to get too. It’s a good idea to get as much prepared for the next day the night before and then have time to relax before going to bed so you can get a good sleep.
My husband leaves for work at 5:30am so I usually get up at this time and bring the laptop into bed and work on my blog. Since I’ve been sick I’ve needed more sleep so I haven’t been doing as much of this. Now I’m feeling better it is time to get back into this routine.
Since we are up so early we also like to go to bed early so I have found getting things organised in the evening a struggle. Once I’ve got the kids to bed I just want to relax. I do make my husband’s lunch at set the breakfast table for him and make sure my daughter’s school work is ready, but there are a few other things I could get ready the night before which would help with the morning rush.
Having morning and evening routines written out really helps with this.
2. Establish a to-do list
While I have worked out my daily and weekly routines I haven’t really come up with a ‘to do list’ system that works for me yet. Most days I don’t really need one as I am doing regular tasks but there are always extra tasks or things that you really won’t to get done today that are good to right down (even if it is just so you can cross them off the list). Writing things down on a scrap of paper might work for a day, but if you don’t get everything completed the list gets lost and you forget about it. I’ve tried using an app on my phone but I think I work better with the old fashioned way so I have started keeping a note book for to do lists.
3. Re-assess your routine – prioritize what is urgent and what is important
I remember hearing a message a long time ago about getting caught up doing what is ‘urgent’ and never getting to do what is ‘important’. I googled this and discovered that it was a quote from former US President Eisenhower “I have two kinds of problems: The urgent and the important. The urgent are not important and the important are never urgent.” Urgent tasks require our immediate attention so we often focus on these because they need to get done. Important tasks help us to achieve our goals, but since they don’t have a deadline they often get put off.
I found the article The urgent important matrix which included this table very helpful. I often find that I get stuck with the urgent (frequent interruptions to change nappies; getting dinner ready on time) and then I switch to the mindless, escapist activities to unwind and the important, but not urgent, planning gets neglected.
Writing my blog has been a great learning curve, I’ve been learning as I’ve been going along this journey for nearly a year. As a result I have been focussing on the ‘urgent’ deadlines and tasks I have set myself like posting twice a week and answering comments rather than the ‘important’ task of constructing a plan for my posts and my social media goals. During the last couple of weeks when I have had less time to spend on the blog I have focussed even more on getting the two posts done each week and have neglected other tasks like commenting and keeping up with social media . Writing two posts a week was a goal I set myself a few months ago and I have kept to that until last week. It was a good goal to set and I am pleased that I stuck to it and got into a routine. However, routines are meant to help us and not enslave us. Sometimes we need to re-assess them and decide whether they are a priority for now.
So I’ve made a big decision: I’m going to have a little ‘holiday’ from posting for the rest of June (apart from the #BlogFair link party which will still run each week) and will focus on catching up with commenting, reading some of the ‘how to blog’ posts I have pinned but haven’t read yet, and constructing some long term and short term plans for the blog. I will then be back to posting in July where I will share some round up posts reviewing my first year of blogging before my blogiversary at the end of July when I hope to introduce some changes to the blog.
4. Take it one day or one task at a time.
If we are trying to get back into a routine after a long illness or other crisis it can seem very daunting and look overwhelming. It is important to take one day or one task at a time. Maybe your laundry has piled up so you may want to start with that and focus on getting it all sorted and put away. Once you have completed this task you will be more motivated to keep to your routine here and move on to tackling another area.
Don’t beat yourself up that you are out of your routine or that you are finding it difficult to get back on track. You don’t have to strive for perfection, just keep trying.
Perseverence is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. Walter Elliot
What are your tips for getting back into routine?
Here are some more posts I think you will enjoy.
This post has been linked to the following link parties: