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How to Develop a Routine That Works–and Stick With It! (Part 2)


If you missed it, be sure to read part 1 of this series here [2].

2. Get the Framework in Place

Once you know what your big rocks are [2], it’s time to develop a basic framework for your day. This is not a detailed play-by-play of exactly how your day should look like, this is just how to big rocks fit together.

A) Map Out Your Wake Up Time, Bed Time, and Meal Times.

The first step to getting a good routine in place is to determine your wake-up time, bed time, and meal times. These are not set-in-stone times, but if you have a general guideline to follow, it helps bring order and structure to your days.

Try (as much as is possible) to stay within at least an hour or so of the time you have planned for your wake-up, bed time, and meal times. If your house is anything like ours, stuff comes up and sometimes your plan goes out the window. When that happens, be flexible, roll with the punches, and then get back up on the wagon as soon as you’re able!

If you have no order or structure at all in your life right now, just getting up and going to bed at the same hour every day and eating your meals at the same hours throughout the day will give you a tremendous new sense of order and flow in your days. Plus, it will probably guarantee that you get more sleep and skip fewer meals–something that will definitely affect your overall health in a good way!

I suggest picking realistic times–especially for getting started. If you’re not a morning person, don’t plan to get up at 5 a.m. every morning unless you want to set yourself up for failure.

B) Create Morning, Afternoon, and Evening Routines.

I first learned of the concept of morning, afternoon, and evening routines from FlyLady [3]. And I’m amazed at what a difference this simple change in one’s life can make.

If you’re unfamiliar with morning, afternoon, and evening routines, it’s basically just coming up with 3-5 simple things that you do in the same order when you first get up, after lunch, and right before bed. Simple is key here.

Sample Morning Routine

1) Wake up, make coffee, read Bible/pray.

2) Exercise

3) Shower, get dressed, straighten bathroom and bedroom.

4) Start a load of laundry.

5) Check email.

Sample Afternoon Routine

1) Clean up kitchen.

2) Switch laundry to the dryer.

3) Fold one load of laundry.

Sample Evening Routine

1) Clean up kitchen.

2) Do a quick 10-minute house pick up.

3) Lay out clothes for next day.

4) PJs on and face washed.

If you’re brand-new to the concept of routines, start with a morning routine only and make it a priority for three weeks before adding anything else to your routine. Once you feel comfortable with a morning routine, then add in an afternoon routine and then an evening routine.

Take it slowly and don’t rush developing these habits. Even if it seems like you’re not making much progress, it’s better to inch forward in the right direction than to try to add all these new things in at once and burn out.

Practical Application

Take 30 minutes this weekend to write down your proposed wake-up time, bed time, and meal times. Also, write down a simple morning routine, afternoon routine, and evening routine.

Put this paper in a very conspicuous location and review it often. You can even set up reminder alarms on your phone, if you find that sort of thing helps you!

I’d love to have you share your proposed morning, afternoon, and evening routines in the comments, if you’re willing.

Begin following your wake up time, bed time, and meal times starting immediately. Add in the morning routine, as well, if you feel up for it.

Now you have a very basic structure for your day in place. On Monday, we’ll talk about filling in the rest of the day, making sure that you get your big rocks in first.

photo credit [4]