A couple of weeks ago my back started to hurt. I especially noticed it when I worked in the salon, and found myself barely able to limp home at the end of the day. Soon it was to the point I could barely stand long enough to wash a sink full of dishes. 20 years of doing hair has come at a dramatic cost to my body, and it is finally catching up with me. I am seeing a chiropractor and have high hopes I can get a handle on the pain, but in the meantime I have struggled to work and maintain my home.
Keeping on top of cleaning and running my household on top of working can be daunting on a good day, but throw in some chronic pain and good ol’ immobility and the ship started sinking quickly. I knew I needed to come up with a plan and quickly. I came up with routines – a checklist of tasks I needed to accomplish in the morning and evening. I’ve been practicing these routines for a couple of weeks now, and I can’t believe how well they are working!
I got up at 5 for many, many years so now that I am self-employed and don’t have to – I don’t. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to make a routine work. Just get up early enough that you aren’t rushing to get out the door and have a few extra minutes to pick up as you go. This is what my specific routine looks like, but you can tweak it to fit your own needs.
Wake my daughter up. I set my alarm and wake my daughter up in enough time to get ready for school. Sometimes I lay back down while she is getting ready, and sometimes I do a little work at the computer. Grace abounds in my house. Once I drop her off at school the real work begins.
Smoothie/supplements. I use a greens supplement in my smoothies, so my goal is to drink one every morning. I also have vitamins and supplements I take every day. As a part of my self-care routine, I track these in my bullet journal. While I am drinking my smoothie I usually sit at the computer and get some work done.
Shower/makeup/get dressed. Since I do 90% of my work from home, it is tempting to schlep around in my pajamas all day. I have started taking a shower and doing a quick makeup application each morning. Sometimes I still schlep around in pajamas, but at least now they are clean pajamas!
Clean bathroom/tidy kitchen. After I am done getting ready for the day I wipe down all the surfaces in my bathroom, make sure the cabinets are neat/garbage is empty, and then sweep the floor as needed. This whole bathroom cleaning routine takes me less than 5 minutes, but it means my bathroom is clean virtually all the time. Can you imagine having a perpetually clean bathroom? I swear it changes your outlook on life. This also dramatically cuts the amount of time I spend deep cleaning weekly.
The kitchen should still be clean from the night before, but I wash up any dishes from my smoothie, make sure the countertops are clean, and just spot clean anything that is out of place.
And that is it! Its such a simple routine, but it starts me off on the right foot for the day and helps keep me motivated for the rest of my to-do list.
Instituting a nightly routine has helped me curb the bad habit of staying up late, eating junk food, drinking wine, and not getting enough sleep. It has made me more intentional, which is always a good thing in my book.
Clean the kitchen. After dinner I do all the dishes, wipe down the stove, wipe down countertops, and sweep the kitchen floor. I toss the dish rag and towel in the laundry and put out clean ones. I give my sinks a quick scrub and have my daughter take the garbage out if it is full. It is really great to wake up to a clean kitchen the next morning!
Update planner, finish any work. Working from home presents the temptation to be working 24/7. After dinner I take some time to clear up any work, and then shut the computer for the night. I can’t tell you how many times I stumbled across a stressful work situation while laying in bed and tossed and turned all night because of it. This has been a healthy boundary for me.
I also take this time to look over my planner and make sure I accomplished my main tasks for the day. I look over the next day and add anything else I would like to accomplish. I hear a lot of people say they don’t have time to use a planner, but this takes me just a minute or two.
Quick house pickup. Before a bed I do a quick walk through of our downstairs. I’ll straighten couch cushions, put away dog toys, and just neaten everything up.
Get ready for bed. Every night I wash my face and take off my makeup, brush my teeth, etc. No more falling into bed, too tired to remove my mascara. I have a supplement I take at night, and then I apply my magnesium oil. Not only does this act as a supplement, but it encourages restful sleeping, too!
Just like my morning routine, my nighttime routine is very simple. But it sets me up to have a much less stressful morning!
The purpose of a routine isn’t just about the tasks you accomplish. Its about being intentional and getting yourself into a habit.
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Do you have any routines that make your life easier? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!