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How to Develop a Routine That Works–and Stick With It! (Part 1)


Do your days feel chaotic and disorganized? Do you feel like you’re always behind and always running around in circles?

You need a routine. It will calm your chaos and bring rhythm, order, and peace to your days.

What is a Routine?

A routine is a plan for the flow of your day. It can be very basic and bare bones or it can be more specific. However, it is not a regimented schedule with detailed time blocks for how you’re supposed to spend every minute of every day.

While a rigid schedule works well for some, we’ve found that a routine is much more doable for our family–especially since our children are younger and my husband and I both have our own businesses. No day is exactly the same, so the flexibility a routine provides is perfectly suited to allow for the interruptions that inevitably arise.

{In the middle of writing that last sentence, Kathrynne came running upstairs from the basement to let me know that Silas had just thrown up all over the couch. So I spent 20 minutes bathing him, cleaning up the couch, and taking care of the soiled clothes. Yep, this is a classic example of why a flexible routine works better for us than a rigid schedule!}

How To Set Up a Workable Routine

1. Start With the “Big Rocks”

You’ve probably seen or heard the illustration about putting the big rocks in first [2]:

A popular story describes a time-management professor who demonstrates the importance of prioritizing by filling a five-gallon mason jar with fist-size rocks and asking the class if the jar is full. Since another big rock wouldn’t fit, the class answers, “yes.” However, the professor proceeds to pour a pitcher of gravel, then sand, and finally water into the jar before it is finally full.

The point of the story is not that you can cram much more than you ever dreamed into any given day. The point is this: “If you don’t put your big rocks in first, the fillers of life will take up your day and you won’t fit your big rocks in at all.” 

If you want to get things done that truly matter, you must focus on the big rocks. Ask yourself: What are the most important things I want to be prioritizing in my life right now?”

If you feel like you still don’t have clarity, consider what will matter to you in 25 years from now. This helps you strip away the non-essentials and focus on what you really want to be devoting the bulk of your time to.

Develop your daily routine with the big rocks in mind. You’ll likely be able to find time for some pebbles and sand, too, but begin with what matters most.

Practical Application

Take 10 minutes to consider what your “big rocks” are (ask your spouse for input, if you’re married). Write them down on a piece of paper. If you’re willing to, I’d love to have you share them in the comments section on this post.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about using these big rocks to help craft a framework for your daily routine.

photo credit [3]