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As a young mom, I quickly discovered that I needed structure. The days of “winging it ” no longer worked. I was drowning between working from home, taking care of the kids, and the day to day housework. Something needed to change.
I’ve tried creating detailed agendas and schedules that always failed within the first 5 minutes. Then I would waste more precious time, rewriting my schedule. I often felt overwhelmed, overworked, and downright discouraged.
I finally decided something needed to change. There had to be a better way to manage my day to day life.
After some reflection and banging my head against the wall, I finally figured out how to plan my days and get over the feeling of being unproductive by creating a successful home routine.
A flexible routine simply uses key daily events as the core. Key events are the things that occur every day at a certain time to keep the household afloat.
If you are struggling to find balance in managing your days, I have some very helpful tips that will help you develop an easy and flexible routine that will help you build a foundation of structure in your home.
What’s important to you?
Schedules are organized by time slots. Whereas, a routine is organized by the order in which things happen. For me, schedules just do not work. The constraints of time just don’t flow well with my life with toddlers but routines allow for a sense of freedom.
Instead of writing a strict schedule, I have started to create a flexible routine that revolves around the key events of my day. This allows me to be more productive throughout my day by maximizing my time on the things I deem most important. I start this process by identifying the things that are most important to me.
My Important Things include:
- Spending time with God
- Working out
- Getting dressed
- Family Time
It looks like a lot when written out, but I usually get the first 3 things done before the kids wake up and the rest happens throughout the course of the day. At this stage, just simply writing down the things you would like to find time to do throughout your day.
Filling out your Day with Key Events
In the next step in my process, I begin to piece together and figure out how I can fit my important task in my day by adding Key Events.
Key events are how I link in my important task by something I do every day. Again, these are events that happen every day. They are also flexible. If I wake up late or we have appointments, it’s not the end of the world. I can usually find time to fit in a missed workout or school lesson. If not, oh well, it just gets left out and that’s okay.
TIP: Examine your current daily process. Chances are you already have key events, you just need to tweak it and modify it to maximize your time. Try to be mindful of your use of time. Ask your self the following questions:
- How much time do you spend on social media?
- What are things you consider to be time sucks?
- Is there anything you can delegate to someone else or remove from your life?
One of my favorite time-saving hacks is grocery delivery via Instacart. I let someone else do the shopping for me. 🙂 No more hassle of loading the kids up and taking them shopping. Plus, I can monitor how much we spend on groceries to ensure that we are staying on budget for the week.
If you haven’t tried Instacart yet here’s a $10 off code off your first order. 🙂
You will begin to see that you have more time than you think to fit in the things that matter most to you. There is always time if you make time.
Some of the key events are:
- Waking up before my kids
- Spending time with God and Working out – Yes I do both
- Get Dressed
- Morning nap time for the littles
- Afternoon activity
- Clean-up time
I believe that implementing routines as soon as possible with children. Routines help them in a number of ways.
1. It gives them a rough idea of what to expect. For example Schoolwork. My kids know that schoolwork usually comes after breakfast and that after dinner we start our bedtime routine.
2. It gives them structure and teaches them what behavior is expected at a given time.
It’s better to be a proactive parent than a parent that simply reacts bad behavior due to poor planning. If you know that every day at about 11 am everyone starts to get hungry, it’s probably best to always have lunch or a light snack easily accessible to avoid tantrums due to hunger.
What if the routine gets off track?
Let’s face it. Your routine will probably get derailed (sometimes, more than once a day). Should you give up and go back to winging it. No! Remember that didn’t work.
Simply adjust and move on. Woke up at the same time as the kids? Get dressed while they eat breakfast. It’s dinnertime and the living room is littered in toys: Cook something that isn’t labor-intensive. Like pasta and salad. While the noodles boil, have a cleanup party.
Make the routine for your family
If one way doesn’t benefit your family or makes life easier for you, do yourself a favor and figure out what works for you. Life is too precious to continue wasting time on a system that frustrates or works against you. Your children are learning from your example. If they see you frustrated and hot-tempered because you are overworking yourself, they are just learning to associate routines and structure with negativity behavior. If they see you calm and content, they will associate routines with positive behavior.
What is an area you struggle with when trying to find balance within your days?