The following post comes to you by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Kat.
Would you like more time in your day? Would you like to stop nagging your children to do their chores? Would you like a more peaceful home with less effort?
Effective daily routines can make it all possible.
The Power of Routine
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” Planning and creative thinking allows us to do more with less time and less effort.
Successful people subscribe to the power of routine. Whether it’s an athlete going through her workout routine or a business woman who has developed a process that allows her company to run even in her absence. Every successful business and organization has time tested and finely tuned routines and processes. If we want to be effective and intentional mothers, we need to create systems that work for us.
Taking the time to develop a routine frees up our time and our brains. We can use our routines to easily delegate responsibilities to others and teach our children. Or we can create routines so that our brain power can be focused on other activities like listening to an audiobook, a podcast or our favorite music while we do our chores.
Here are 3 key routines that will reduce your stress and increase your free time.
Get A Chef – Routines for Meals
We have all heard how helpful meal planning can be, but the process of creating all the menus and shopping lists can be quite daunting. For many, it’s hard to stick it out long enough to see the payoff.
The truth about meal planning is that you don’t have to do it every single week. The key is to create 8-12 plans and then just rotate them.
All you need to do is take 1 hour each week to plan your meals. Create your recipe and shopping list and save it on your computer. After 6-8 weeks, you’ll be able to cut your weekly meal planning time by 90% because rather than having to do a full meal plan each week, you can simply grab one you’ve already created and head to the store.
Another option is to have a meal planning party. Invite 8-12 friends over and have each of them prepare a week’s worth of simple, healthy, tasty meal recipes and a corresponding categorized shopping list. Ask them to bring 1 copy for everyone in attendance. At the party you’ll all exchange meal plans/shopping lists and you’ll leave with two to three months worth of meal plans that you can rotate. Voila.
Get A Maid – Routines for Cleaning
Some people clean best in one weekly spurt. Others do it best little by little. The first step is to decide which method works for you. Then write out your cleaning schedule. It may seem silly to write down that you’ll mop the floor on Thursday or dust on Tuesday, but the process of writing down those simple tasks releases your brain to think about other things rather than keep track of the minutiae of cleaning. The more tasks you can get out of your head and into a schedule, the less stressed you’ll be.
First, list the specific chores that make the biggest impact on the peacefulness and presentation of your home. Then highlight the areas of your house that need the most focus.
Too often when cleaning, we get stuck on the task and lose sight of the big picture. For example, we might need to clean the master bathroom and because we have all the bathroom cleaning supplies out, we take the time to clean ALL the bathrooms. In reality, though, that half bath RARELY gets used and doesn’t need to be cleaned at all and that extra 15 minutes could have been used more effectively.
So when creating our cleaning routine, it’s important to really sit down and think about the chores that will have the biggest impact so that we can focus our time and energy accordingly.
With this list in hand, create a core cleaning chart for the day, week, month, quarter and year.
Yes, it will take some time initially (30 minutes to an hour), but it will save you MUCH more time in the long run.
Get A Nanny – Routines for Your Children
This is the set of routines that have helped me the most. I have three young children and directing all of them towards going to school or getting ready for bed can often leave me longing for the peaceful bliss of working the Air Traffic Control tower at LaGuardia Airport on Christmas Eve while all the power is out. Blindfolded.
My children relied on me to direct and motivate them. And it took every ounce of patience I had. And more.
But then (cue skies parting, sun shining down and angels singing) I simply created a chart that walks them through their routines. Now they have discovered the joy of checking things off a list, accomplishing chores and feeling less like puppets and more like grown ups.
Word Of Caution
Just as a hired cook, maid or nanny should not come into your home and disrupt your family or negatively affect your relationships, we need to make sure our routines work for us and not let them control us. Introduce routines in a positive way. Make it fun and exciting and ALWAYS put your relationships above the routine. Be flexible.
Mark off a 3-5 hour block of time on your calendar this week (or use your weekly planning retreat time) to work on creating your routines.
When we feel overwhelmed, routines provide a simple way to find our footing again. Routines can literally free up HOURS each week and help you create the warm, peaceful home you desire. It does take time to plan them, but the reward in the long run is well worth it.
What tips do you have to share for creating effective routines?