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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. Get the Framework in Place

Once you know what your big rocks are, 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. 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


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  • Rachel says:

    I love how you broke this down and shared samples. I’m working on getting into a daily routine with my 2 littles! I have a few routines like bedtime, diaper laundry, etc., but nothing daily.

    And how long after having a new baby does it take you to get into a new daily routine? I have a 2-month-old and since he arrived, it’s been difficult to get back into a routine.

    • Lisa says:

      Rachel – I have 4 kids, and I always felt like it took a good 6 months to get things “back to normal” after having a baby. Remember that as soon as you get adjusted to your baby’s schedule, he/she will change it up again…so your routine might be constantly changing for the first few years of your kids’ lives. The one thing that always started to get me back on track after having a baby was when the baby started sleeping enough at night so that I could start getting up BEFORE my kids again! Try getting up even just 15 minutes before the earliest one gets up, and then add a few minutes every week or so. I’m up to an hour now, and that is the hour of the day that sets the tone for the rest of my day.

    • Karole says:

      Rachel, I have found that the earlier you can get your baby on a 3 hour feeding schedule the easier it is for you to get back into a daily routine yourself. I made it easy for myself to make feedings on the 3’s Start at 6am and then every 3 hours (wake that baby up if you have to during the day) by doing this and making sure they eat good during the day and are awake more they tend to sleep better at night) The last feeding would be at 9pm and they should be sleeping pretty much till 6am fairly soon. By simplying have a feeding schedule that you try to follow you are into a routine and then you can plan other things around that schedule. By making mine on the 3’s I wasn’t always asking when was the last time I fed them?

      • Rebekah says:

        This is great in theory but really risks not meeting baby’s needs the way they need to. My babies needed to nurse–either for food or for comfort–much more often than that for a LONG time. My stomach doesn’t get hungry on a clock, and I don’t expect my babies’ too, either.

        • Need A Nap2 says:

          There are differening views on feeding babies: on-demand or scheduled. Everyone is different and should talk to their doctor if they feel like one or the other isn’t working well for their family. I tended to go with on-demand b/c growth spurts can throw off a schedule completely. But with basic routines and plans in place it can help, for example having activities set-up for older children to do while you’re nursing or feeding baby. 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        I totally agree with the feeding schedule. It keeps me from OVERfeeding my babies. My first daughter was 30lbs at 9 months old! (Yes, she was breastfed and never had formula). I would feed her every time she fussed and I never kept track.
        It might be not such a good idea for people with underweight babies, but for me a 3 hour schedule is a life saver. Like you said, I’m no longer asking when was the last time I fed them? My 3 month old is thriving on her scheduled feedings.
        Of course, if the baby is upset and I’ve ruled out the obvious reasons, I’ll feed her regardless of the schedule. A schedule doesn’t mean I let my babies go hungry! 🙂

        • Stephanie says:

          WOW! My two babies nursed all the time and we were told by the pediatrician that nursed babies should nurse on demand. My older baby will be 3 and still hasn’t hit 30 pounds. My younger is 14 months and doesn’t weigh 20 yet. Maybe it’s because they are smaller on the weight scale that we were told to nurse on demand. My girls are 80-90% in height and range 15-20% in weight on the charts. I’m a little jealous that your baby gained weight so well…I had to wait until almost 13 months before they slept through the night.

    • Kym says:

      I have a 5, and 3 yr old and a 2 month old. the baby still wakes up 1 or 2 times a night and sometimes needs to nurse at different times in the early morning so i just try to be flexible and start a 3 hrs schedual when he wakes up. i’m encouraged to start getting up @ 7am every wk day and eat and go to bed at the same times. it’s a realistic start with a new baby! when baby starts sleeping through the night (most of the time, not sure if kids will ever sleep through every night!) i’ll add more in!

  • I love this! I am definitely without routine right now. And I have now created habits that are filled with more distraction and less productivity. The sad thing is I am fully aware that I am avoiding the big rocks. I think I will tackle morning routine first and build that habit to be more productive before afternoon and evening routines.

    • jaclyn says:

      I am with you Jadah. I have created bad habits that are filled with distractions and less productivity! I also am ignoring the big rocks! I know that my selfishness affects my entire family. Mostly my husband because when I could have had the house cleaned by the time he gets home i don’t, and had to put off time with him because he really likes a clean house! I will be praying for you too that you will get prioritized too!

  • Blair says:

    Our mornings start out like this: 6:45 a.m. – Wake up, shower, get dressed. 7:15 a.m. – Wake up the kiddo, she drinks her milk in bed with daddy while watching Sesame Street. After that she eats breakfast and gets dressed. 7:30-8:00 a.m. – Welcome the Daycare Kiddos! (I sneak my breakfast in between kiddos arriving to the house.) 🙂
    Between 7:30-5:30 we have a regular routine of various activities for the daycare kids. 5:30 p.m. – Bye Bye to the Daycare kiddos and we have dinner at the table as a family.
    6:15 p.m. – Kiddo gets a bath, story time, and the bedtime routine begins. 🙂 7:00 p.m. Kid to bed. 7:00 – 10:30 p.m. We pick up the house a little here and there, watch some tv together and have some conversation time. I blog a little, bible study, start more laundry or dishes in the washers, then go to bed!

    • kristan says:

      wow. kids in bed at 7. Do they take naps during the day. I always wanted to have the kids that would fall asleep that early, but mine go to bed at 8, and only my 2 year old takes a nap- usually 2 hours though.

      • Layna says:

        My 2 year old is in bed by 7, was 6:30 until a few months ago. That’s when she goes down happiest (and doesn’t scream because she’s over tired) She naps for 1 1/2 hrs around noon. (although she’s always been an early riser- a later bedtime didn’t make a difference 🙂

      • Momof5 says:

        It so depends on the kids. My first son didn’t need as much sleep as I did – he was playing in his crib instead of sleeping by about 4 months. But his nearest sister as a baby would have happily slept 23 hours per day! Even now that she’s a hs senior, we plan for a gigantic meltdown and a couple “sick” days where she just catches up on sleep at the end of sports seasons or other times when she gets less than 9 hours’ sleep for more than a couple of weeks.

        She never did get to bed by 7 when she was little, though, because she’d try to keep up with her brother until she fell over in exhaustion, and he has never once in his entire life (he’s in college now) been to bed before 9 🙂

      • Danielle says:

        My 16 month old sleeps from 7pm to 6:30 am and still takes TWO naps a day, both between 1 & 2hrs (sometimes longer). He’s always very happy to see his bed and falls asleep within 3-5 minutes. Everything I’ve ever read says children that young need at least 15 hrs of sleep out of 24. All three of my kids have followed this schedule so I know it’s not just him. 🙂

        • kristan says:

          I do think it is a difference in kids. My oldest sports practices aren’t over till 730, so a 7oclock bed time isn’t practical here. I’ve read kids need 10-13 hours of sleep, and mine get that, so I think I’ll stick with the 8 oclock bedtime.They don’t usually get up till after 7, so I think they’ll be fine. But thanks for the advice.

  • I have tons of routines for my kids, but none for myself! I guess this is something I really need to work on. Right now it is 11:37 and I should be in bed, but I stay up way too late after my kids go to bed trying to get it all done. I think I need to read this post like 10 times and then come up with a plan!

    • Mary says:

      I think I’d go to bed on a routine if I could just figure out how to turn off my mind. I think this is the key right here but how in the world do you make it happen? When I force myself to go to bed, I just lay there with my mind going 90 miles an hour.

      • Need A Nap2 says:

        A lot of sleep “articles” suggest keeping a notepad and pen by your bed to jot down anything you forget about until laying down. Also, journaling might help to empty your mind a little before bed. Being relaxed and ready for bed makes a big difference. Having a routine might help to trigger those nighttime “slow down” and ready for bed thoughts.

  • Kellie says:

    I really need to develop better routines. I piddle away way too much time. 🙁
    My morning routine: Wake up w/toddler. Potty, diaper, breakfast. Wake baby. Diaper, nurse. Feed dogs, sweep floor, let dogs out.
    My afternoon routine: Nurse baby, down for nap. Make & eat lunch w/toddler. Toddler down for nap. Sit down for two minutes before baby wakes up.
    My evening routine (on the rare occasion we’re all home): Dinner around 5:00. Start bedtime routine for toddler around 7:30. Hubby to bed (early to work). Sit around with night-owl baby until she falls asleep around 11/12.

  • Carrie says:

    I have 4 very set routine times a day due to my son’s very complex medication & g-tube feeding schedule it the times between that I seem to get lost. Once I have done my morning routine and the next medication isnt due until 1 pm I start going down hill fast between 8:30 am and 1 pm.

    Right now I get up at 8 let dogs out, set up morning medication and hook up g-tube feeds. Let dogs back in and feed them breakfast and this is where I start losing time.

    One of my biggest problems is because I NEVER get more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep without having to get up and help my son in and out of the bathroom. I am always tired and try to take between 8:30 and 10:30 am for myself, checking email, surfing, watching tv, catching up on sleep etc because this is really the only time during the day that he is not needing anything out of me. I guess maybe if I started using even a few mintues of that time to start doing something the rest of the day might be easier.

    I would take suggestion from anyone that has any good ideas. I really just need to find a way to make my days flow better so when we hit the bumps in the road I dont go haywire, and trust me we hit lots of bumps.

    • cheryl says:

      Carrie, I’m sorry to hear about the situation with your son. It must be exhausting. It almost sounds like you need to take that morning session of time where your son doesn’t need you so intently to just sleep. Lack of sleep will keep you fuzzy-brained so then you can’t concentrate or get anything done. I hope it gets better for you!

    • Lorna says:

      Carrie, that must be so hard, I agree with Cheryl that you should use the time to sleep. I am always telling mum’s of babies to do that since you are no good to your son if you are too exhausted to care for him properly, or just too exhausted to enjoy your time together!

      But I do know how easy it is to tell someone to sleep and how hard it can be to do if you feel you are running to catch up with everything else.

      I suggest you think of the things you feel you never get done and work out where you can fit them in, with minimal effort. If it’s laundry you could put on a load when you do the morning meds and put it in the drier when you do the 1pm meds. So you get a load done every day without having to think about it too much. If cooking is your issue you might find it easier to use a slow cooker (that way you do the cooking at a time to suit you and then forget about it until the evening) if you have those jobs scheduled in, then you know you don’t have to worry about catching up. That way you can have a nap guilt free!

      • Carrie says:

        Thanks for the ideas and support. Some days are just a lot to deal with. I am sure with everyone suggestions I will find a way to get myself more on track.

        I probally should have mentioned my son is 24 and has been sick his whole life and the older he gets the more help he requires. 8 years ago he was able to ride a bike, be out with friend etc. Today he requires 24/7 care which is a lot but I would not TRADE a minute of this time for anything, I know one day he won’t be here and I will be wishing I could still take care of him.

        • DeniseHJ says:

          Carrie, You are so brave and have such a good perspective on your son’s needs and how you value him. Even though you know one day you will wish to be still taking care of him, can you find some help with his care? Caring for someone 24/7 is exhausting at best. But it sounds as though you are alone in this. Perhaps there is a member of your church/a neighbor/a friend who can come be with him a few days per week to give you time to be “off duty”. Even if you are sleeping during the time between meds, you are probably sleeping with one ear open….that’s just what moms do. If someone else were there and “on duty” you would probably sleep more soundly. Or alternately, could you find someone to help with household tasks…again a volunteer or even an inexpensive mother’s helper (teenager,….)? That way you have some relief from the household tasks that weigh you down. And for your own sake, is there a support group (there or on-line)? Sounds like you need emotional support as well. Lastly, maybe escape into a book. Sounds silly when you are feeling so stressed about not getting things done, but sometimes being transported to a different place and time can give you the mental vacation you need. I admire what you are doing. Please be as good to yourself as you are being to your son. You deserve it!

          • Carrie says:


            Thanks for responding, I do have some help with my son, I am married to the worlds great guy who is a great Step-Dad. He tries very hard to help all he can. I have a very habit of trying to do it all myself because I am the person who choose on my own not to put my son in a group home or nursing home. My husband will do anything I ask.

            Since this whole converstaion started we decided I needed to find some more time to get out of the house and relax. I am going to start spending some time each week doing something I enjoy. Last Saturday I started going to our local animal shelter and walking/ playing with the dogs and cats there, I could not belive how much better I felt after spending an hour there.

            We also employe someone to helpout so I can run errons, and get out but she has picked up a second job and has not been available much. I spoke with someone else yesterday who is capable of taking care of my son and hopefully she will be able to start picking up some hours soon.

            I think I really just needed reminded that I need to stop being Mom 24/7 and take care of myself. Thanks for the support.

    • Mary says:

      I think the first thing you need to do is stop beating yourself up! You can function while so exhausted and the weight of the self-condemnation is making you even more tired. Is there any way to get a nap during that time he doesn’t need you as much? Even if it’s on the floor in the room where he’s playing? You need to get more rest!!

    • Momof5 says:

      Carrie, you’ve been on my heart since I read this last night. What a load you are carrying! And what a strong and courageous mom you must be to be able to lift your chin enough to see beyond the hard, hard work of caregiving to be trying to make things better.

      Like the other posters here, I’d love to encourage you to start by caring for yourself. When I start gravitating toward the tv & internet, it’s a pretty good clue that I’m not looking out for my own needs. It’s hard, but maybe identify them. Sleep? A chat with a friend? Some quiet time? Then I would schedule that need-filling task first. Not just put it on a list, but schedule it: 9:30 – 10, or whatever. Then think about what weighs on you most. For me, it’s the dishes. Oh, how I hate doing the dishes! Oh, how I feel like with 5 capable children, a very competent husband, a more-than-full-time job, 3 animals, volunteer responsibilities, tons of laundry (I only let the kids wash what they can’t possibly ruin because we flat can’t afford to replace anything if they do), and 90% of the cooking, somebody else could do the dishes! And sometimes they do. Or they start them. Or they put them away someplace I will never find. And it takes hours. And all but one of them whines the whole time. And if I just set a timer for 15 minutes, or have my littlest bring a book and practice reading a chapter out loud, I can get the whole kitchen done in that brief time. And then – surprise! – when we hit bumps, as of course we do, I have a bit of cushion because at least the bumps aren’t happening on a pile of dirty dishes.

      Sorry – long way to say – set yourself tiny goals in each of those stretches of time. Be sure to look out for your own needs – put your own mask on first! And third – know that there are people out in the world praying for you.

  • Amy says:

    I want to come back later and comment with my routines once I get them figured out, but I have to ask now…What are numbers 4 an 6 on the coffee mug list? I tried to decipher them yesterday, but I couldn’t do it!

    Thanks again for this series. I really need this.

  • jenn says:

    My day goes somewhat like this…

    7:00 to 7:30am Wake up, dressed, brush teeth
    7:50am Kids breakfast, Mom coffee
    8:30am Kids to bus
    9:00am Pick Me Up Smoothie, head out to work out
    10:30am Back home, shower
    11:00am Unload dishwasher
    11:10am Check e-mail, google reader, get distracted on MSM…
    12:00pm Lunch time
    12:30pm Start a load of laundry or tackle paper pile, depending on the day
    1:00pm Check Reader again, get distracted on Facebook
    1:20pm Prep veggies/chop meat etc. for dinner or freezer cook
    1:40pm Transfer laundry to dryer
    1:50pm Once again get distracted on Facebook
    2:00pm Think about taking a nap… but decide to run errands usually
    3:00pm Back home
    3:10pm Kids off bus, snacktime
    3:30pm Read/do homework/play with kids
    4:30pm Kids independent time, mom cooks dinner
    5:00pm Dinnertime
    5:30pm Clean kitchen
    6:00pm Finally get laundry out of dryer, fold
    6:30pm Kids bath, brush teeth
    6:50pm Storytime/recap of day/prayers with kids
    7:30 to 8:00pm Kids bedtime
    8:00pm Mom watches whatever TV show is on
    9:00pm Mom goes to get a cookie from the kitchen and gets distracted on the computer again…
    11:00pm Bedtime (which should have been a half an hour ago…)

  • Adriana says:

    I have a morning routine: wake up at 5:30, shower, dress, eat and be out the door and headed to work by 7. It’s a lot easier said than done. I usually don’t get out of bed until 6 because I stay up too late. I’d like to wake up at 5 to exercise, but I don’t think that will happen anything soon.

    I don’t have a night routine yet, but it should include setting my clothes out, making lunch for the next day & getting ready for bed.

  • Love routines! I, too, am not a morning person, but I choose to wake between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m., dress, devotions, e-mail/blog, and get kids up and dressed. Afternoon routine begins after lunch and cleanup around 11:45 a.m., rock and read to toddler, put her down for nap, spend time with preschooler, blog during their quiet time, and pickup elementary child from school. The evening routine begins around 8:15 p.m., help children get ready for bed (shower/bath/teeth/etc.), devotions, rock toddler, read to older children, blog, and bed.
    Having these routines gives cohesiveness to my day. If the morning gets shot, then I start over in the afternoon. The day is never wasted or blown because the “rocks” (the parts of the routines) get completed.

  • TeamBonk says:

    I try to develop routines … and have somewhat.
    Where we struggle as a family is that I work outside the home 3 days a week M/W/F and then I’m home T/Th so our routine looks different on each of those sets of days. Add to that that our two little ones have special needs and attend several therapies … suddenly my two home days can really change week to week. Our 4 children also have activities outside of the home 3 out of 5 evenings (scouts, guiding, theatre, highland dancing) and there’s just a recipe for chaos!
    I can really see room for improvement, though, in the way we’ve been doing things so I’ll try to develop some general routines for work days, home days and weekends and go from there!

  • Katy says:

    I have a daily routine for each separate day. I write them in pencil and put them in a plastic sheet protector in my planner. For each day of the new week I use a dry erase pen to jot down the deviations. When the schedule changes, like no more afternoon sports for a month, I pull out the sheet, erase what I had written and create something new in that space. I do try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. This had to be adapted this year because of teenagers. They don’t like to go to bed early so I have to start staying up later and sleeping later.

  • Victoria says:

    I am huge on routine, to the point God’s been telling me lately perhaps I need to shake out of it a bit. I wake up naturally (no alarm clock, believe me this gets annoying when you want to sleep in and can’t) somewhere around 4:30 to 5:30. I get up start the coffee, quietly grab what laundry I can out of bedrooms and get a load going. I clean up the counters, (since I am not the last one to bed sometimes they are left messy over night) Have my time of bible study, and then start blogging. In the afternoon, its my prime homeschooling time with the children. In the evening I try to stop all work at 7pm and sit down for an hour to knit while watching netflix. By 8pm I start getting ready for bed, I am under the covers by 8:30 at the latest. I write in my sentence journal, read my one a day bible, and if I am still awake read an article or two in Runner’s World. By 9 or 9:30 or at the latest 10pm either the lights are out or I am out, and my hubby takes my magazine out of my sleeping hands as he crawls into bed later at midnight and turns out the lights (pathetic! night owl I am not)

  • Meredith says:

    I’m a huge fan of routines.when my children were babies, we had a routine of bath, bottle, book, and bed! Now at the ages of 6 & 4, the only thing that has changed is no bottle. It hasn’t failed us and my kids are great sleepers. My husband and I will pick up around the house for a few minutes, then relax. Since I work full time, I’m very protective of down time after school and don’t sign my kids up for many lessons, etc. after we get home, I pack lunches for next day, go through backpacks, get dinner started, and hang out with my kids. It’s great that our family knows the routines of the day.

  • Katrina Page says:

    Here’s my problem. I desperately, so much want structure in my life. I crave routine. But I work part time in a retail store and my work schedule is never the same week to week. One week I’ll work two evening shifts, and the next I’ll work two morning shifts and a midday one. I don’t know how to find some sort of schedule to stick to in the mess. I can’t eat my meals at the same time every day, because I’m at work or something. And I’m a cashier sometimes, which means I can’t just grab and sandwich and eat it right there, while I’m ringing people up….ugh. It’s frustrating.

    • Rebekah says:

      Oh, that would be so frustrating! What if you tried having a different set of routines for each situation? This is what you do when you work mornings, this is what you do when you work evenings, etc. Then maybe you could look at the routines and see how you could make them more similar and less random, even if the different elements (the big rocks) aren’t at the exact same time every day.

  • Rachel says:

    I do not have a good routine and really need to start exercising. I was wondering how people do it with 2 little ones at the house. If you work out with them if so what do you do? During nap I am trying to get everything cleaned up from the day and then sit down my self. I tell myself every day I am going to read and exercise during nap and it never happens.

    • Cessie says:


      I’m not sure if this is possible for you, but I’ve recently started exercising first thing in the morning while my husband’s still home and the kids are still sleeping or just waking up. I’m very blessed to have a friend who lives in my neighborhood, so we help keep each other accountable to going on our walks (it really helps having her show up at my door….no excuses then!), as I really struggle exercising alone. If you can’t get out of the house, maybe the same procedure would apply though…you could exercise in the morning before your husband leaves for work and he could help with the children if they wake up. Hope this helps!

      • I definitely agree – when my kids were youngest the only way to fit exercise in was to get up before he went to work, often meaning I was up and out by 5, but then it was done and I didn’t have to worry about it the rest of the day!

        My kids are 11, 8 & 4 now, and next year when my youngest starts school I’m still planning to go at 5 because it just makes my day so much smoother. I know it’s hard to get up some mornings (very hard!), but it’s so worth it!

        (I’m fortunate to have a great inexpensive gym in town that offers classes that early which definitely helps, but some days I just get up and jog in our neighborhood also – I know it may not work for everyone, but it’s so nice to cross it off my list!)

  • Becca says:

    I thrive off routine. Every morning my alarm clock (2 year old son) wakes me up around 5 am. We tidy up the house, do laundry, eat breakfast, shower, get our grocery shopping done, attend a library story time, and then he goes down for a nap. During his naptime I try to get anything else done that I need to for the day. After naptime we have lunch, play, work out, then come home and fix dinner. We spend the evening as a family, playing some more. I really like getting everything done in the mornings so I can relax and have fun in the afternoons!

  • MK Jorgenson says:

    One thing that I was struggling with was finding time to spend in the Word and prayer; there just wasn’t a consistent time opening up in my day, and I was getting really frustrated.

    Then God started moving things in my husband’s heart, convicting him down in the squishy places that he needed to be doing more along the same lines. We talked about it and started holding each other accountable to having our Bible time (separately, in different rooms) right after we put our toddler to bed. It went great for a week, then we had a bad week of late work nights and illness, but last night we got back into it and it was wonderful.

    If anybody else is struggling with finding time to sit with God, I would encourage you to try talking with your husband and working together; even if he just ends up praying that you can find that time, that’s still helpful! 😀

  • Faith says:

    So I am thinking the morning routine, which is loosely practiced now, will be wake up at 5:00 (I used to be able to do this with NO PROBLEMS and have suddenly been failing miserably for MONTHS!) then 1) Quiet time with the Lord, 2) Get everyone out the door (this actually included breakfast and getting my grade schooler dressed to leave with his dad, and doing whatever dad needs done to help him get out on time), 3) Excercise/ shower/ dress, 4) daily meds/ treatments for daughter with CF and get her dressed. Realistically, all of this will take until 10:00…. at this point there will still be actual work to do (I work at home) and dishes to unload and laundry, and cleaning up whatever other messes there are, making beds, geeze just typing this makes me wonder if we are going to be living in a cardboard box because I didn’t work or in filth because I did….

  • Deb says:

    The morning, afternoon and evening routines are so helpful to me! I started doing this last year when I started using the customizable daily docket (which I LOVE!). When I had a newborn I just cut back to bare bones routines, and now that he’s older I’ve been able to add more. Right now this is what our three routine times look like on a normal day:

    Morning: Wake up at 6, blog, email, kids and hubby up at 7, nurse baby, breakfast and coffee at 7:30, start laundry, clean up kitchen.

    Afternoon: Lunch at 12, clean up kitchen, 5 minute pick up of house, switch laundry, read to kids, down for naps at 1:30 and 2.

    Evening: Supper at 6, clean up kitchen, 5 minute pick up of house, nurse baby then put him to bed by 7:30, exercise with hubby (we’re doing Insanity right now, our 2 year old usually looks at books or pretends to exercise with us), toddler bedtime routine and bed, shower, time with hubby.

    You might notice the laundry never gets past switching to the dryer. That’s because that’s usually as far as I get:) I need to work on folding/putting it away!

  • Love this! My morning routine is pretty basic. I don’t always follow the same order, but these are things that I try to do before I start kindergarten with my 4-year old at 9:00.

    Usually, we’re done early and then the kids can play and I can read, check interent, etc. (The bit of cushion is great motivation!)

    Morning Routine:
    Read Bible
    Exercise and get dressed
    Tidy kitchen (we don’t have a dishwasher and if there are only a few dishes I leave them ’til lunch)
    Start laundry
    Get kids dressed, tidy, make beds

    Creating a lunch routine was my new habit for February. It has made a *huge* difference in my day!

    Lunch Routine:
    Tidy home (it’s amazing how quickly it gets messy)
    Fold laundry
    Prepare and eat lunch
    Clean kitchen and do any dinner prep
    Lay children down and read them a chapter from our current book

  • Our daily routine varies a lot from day today. It depends on a slew of things. If we have a dr’s appointment, if I have child care kids that day, how many child care kids I have, if my husband is home, ect. It seems as though no day in our week is even closely related to the day before!

    We do have a few for sure things we do though
    7:15 leave for school
    8:30 get home from drop off to school
    10:45 leave to pick up from school
    11:40 get home from pick up from school
    12:15 lunch
    1:00 nap
    3:20 pick up other kids from school
    4:20 get home from picking other kids up

    Our day involves lots of driving. Kinda eats away at the time I actually have to do something. We also have about 3 Dr’s appointments a week. Generally 1 hour long. And ever 3 weeks, we have a 2 1/2 hour appointment. I am craving some stability in our schedules. And maybe not quite so much driving/out of the house time.

  • Sakura says:

    I struggle with routine. I am working on setting up a morning routine for myself. Baby steps are very helpful.

  • lyss says:

    These are great ideas…in theory. But what do you do when your husband’s schedule is different every day? I keep mealtimes always the same, whether he’s home or not….Breakfast around 8ish…lunch at noon…dinner at 6…, but bedtime is a different story. I would love to have a set bedtime for myself and especially the kids. But hubby likes to stay up late, and if I don’t join him, I feel like I never see him. And if I stay up late, I can’t get up early….and there goes the schedule!

    But mostly for my kids sake, I really would like them to go to bed earlier. But if they do, they’ll get up earlier, and I’m not ready for them because I’ve stayed up late….and the cycle continues! Sorry to vent frustrations. I guess I just need to be content with every day being different. Honestly, I have gotten used to being flexible, but when the kids are cranky and naughty, I wish I knew how to have a better routine for their sake, because I feel like they NEED it!

    • Mary says:

      I wish I had an answer for you! I couldn’t read your post without sending some hugs!! I think you’re doing a good thing by trying to guard that time with your husband. Is there anyway he could get a job with a better schedule? My heart goes out to you!!

  • anna says:

    I have basic morning, day and evening routines – they really do help. The real thing I want to know is, WHERE did you find that mug in the photo?

  • Jen says:

    Most people follow a routine even if they don’t know it. Write down everything you do in a typical day, then put a time to it. I did that and don’t follow it every day, but if I am having an off day, I can look at the schedule and see what I could be doing. Often times I can get the day back on track.

  • Anna Hettick says:

    I love this series Crystal! I just this past week started staying home again and I set up a new routine/schedule for the housework and my blogging/photography work. It amazes me how much more I can get done in the day when I know what I am supposed to be doing and what times. Yet it is still flexible enough that when my husband car broke down on Monday I didn’t fall apart! =)

    Thanks so much for all your hard and encouraging work.

  • Kara M says:

    I have ALWAYS been a creature of routines and sometimes have found myself wishing I was a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kind of gal. However, this past August our 11-yr old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and I found that having been such a creature of routine had been part of why it took so long to diagnose her. Aspies need routine and to know what their day is going to look like and we already were doing that. We have even brought routine into our Saturday’s so she knows what to expect and it’s made life SO much better and I now am SO thankful I wasn’t a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” gal.

  • Mary says:

    I’m a fairly new SAHW and figuring out a morning routine has been challenging! DH suggested I shower quickly and then air dry a bit while I read my Bible and pray. He said it would cut down the time it takes me to blow dry my hair and a shower seems to jump start one’s day. I’m going to give it a try!

    I’ve been in a cycle of not wanting to shower until quiet time and exercise was done but poking around too much because I haven’t had that shower. Does anyone else have that problem?

  • Mary says:

    May I also just say how much I love this series? I can’t believe I’m a grown up and still struggle with this.

    • MC says:

      Same here. I’ve been a SAHW for a bit over a year. I’m 27 and I’m terrible at getting a routine down. The man’s work schedule is constantly changing, so I can’t even piggyback off his routine (getting up, having the kitchen clean or dinner or even laundry done). This past week I finally made myself create a weekly schedule of chores/errands.

      Here’s what my schedule looks like right now:

      M: Load of laundry, tidy up living and dining rooms. (That means get all dirty clothes [mine and his] from the bathroom and bedroom and do one complete load. Put those clothes away! Take stuff from living/dining rooms that don’t belong in there, put them away in the right rooms, and wipe off table tops [coffee, end and dinner tables])

      Tu: Workout, tidy up kitchen and utility rooms. (Put all clean dishes away, quick walk through house looking for stray dirty dishes, load dishwasher, hand wash other dishes that don’t work in dishwasher, clean counters. Check bathrooms and bedrooms for trash, put recyclables in the right bins, and set out for garbage day)

      W: Laundry and tidy up bedroom. (Go through bedroom and bathrooms to collect laundry, sort pies, run at least one complete load, put all clean clothes away, put random items from dressers away, clean off bedside tables and dresser tops)

      Every other Thursday: Workout and clean bathrooms. (Clean toilet, sink, shower. Throw empty bottles away to recycle, clean out hair brushes, wash kitchen towels, shower towels and wash cloths. Check that toilets still have cleaner in them.)

      Every other Thursday: Clean Kitchen. (Do all dishes, put clean ones away, clear off all counters, spray counters and stove top down. Check to see if oven needs cleaning. Wipe everything off. Go through old food in fridge. Throw away everything that is expired or really old leftovers.)

      Every other Friday: Clean floors. (Get everything off the floors and put random items away. Vacuum carpets, steam/shark hard floors. Spray Pledge into corners/along wood floors to repel dust.)

      Every other Friday: Sheets & Laundry/Bedroom. (Wash bedroom sheets and another load of laundry. Check for dry cleaning, drop them off at the cleaners, get groceries for weekend, put clean sheets on bed.)

      And pick a Saturday to clean out my car. About once a month. Trash just accumulates and I’m so tired of shuffling crap around in there when it really needs to be tossed.

      The best things are: 1) Sunday is an open day. And 2) The chores don’t consume tons of time, so if I have plans to be out on one or two days, I can pretty easily catch up so I’m still on track for the week (another reason Saturdays and Sundays are open).

      There are ALWAYS more chores to do (and I hate that!) so setting a loose schedule means I can complete a few things and not feel like the list is still endless.

  • Jeni says:

    Any good advice for bedtime/ sleeping routines for a 19 month old? She never goes to bed on time and wakes up 3 or 4 times in the middle of the night and has to be rocked to sleep. She also doesn’t put herself to sleep to begin with. I’m a very busy momma who also goes to school full time so when she goes to bed I need an hour or so.. Please help I’m going crazy!!

    • Crystal says:

      Have you read The No-Cry Sleep Solution? That was really helpful for me when I was struggling with a child who wouldn’t go to sleep consistently or sleep through the night.

  • Kathy says:

    Thank you for your heart-felt comments and replies as well as your timely posts and inspiration. I am stopping by to award you the Sunshine Award for all you do to shine light into this blog world of mine. You can see the full details here. Thank you for all you do.


  • Becky says:

    Wake up at 5:15. Then shower, dress, make bed, start crock pot, fold laundry from night before. Wake kids at 6:00 while I put away their laundry. Kids dressed and out the door we go by 6:30. Drop off kids and arrive at work by 7:15. Leave work 5:15 to pick up kids. Home by 6:00. Dinner with family, clean up dishes. Lay out kids clothes and pack up their stuff for the next day. Bath and book time with kids. Kids in bed by 8:00. Start laundy, work email for an hour. Move laundry to dryer, lay out clothes for next day, pack lunch and gym bag. In bed by 10 to read for a half hour before lights out.

  • Candice says:

    I have been trying to do this for months! Problem? Chronic night owl, and I’ve tried everything besides prescriptions. DH says it’s a week mind, I say it’s my nature! I have the hardest time getting up in the mornings no matter the night time, sleeping through all matter of alarms unless I have someplace to be. DH works 4 10’s and must leave by 6am, and my friend wants to go to gym at 5am! (we live in Alaska, no jogs right now) I homeschool 10y. DD who is very flexible and has done both, so I haven’t determined if she likes nights or mornings, but still needs tons of sleep napping nearly daily. I tried gym at 5am, and got up because I had someplace to be. Loved the gym and my friend, but would brain fog and sleep through readings before lunch!
    I battle myself, should I keep trying for the am routine or should I just accept my natural habit!

    • Hi Candace,

      I am also a night owl. My typical bedtime is around 11:30 maybe 12. I have been married 18 years and I have tried numerous times to force myself to change and it just doesn’t work.

      During the school week I have to get up by 6:30 to make sure that my girls are fed, etc. before school however it usually takes me a couple of hours before I am really awake.

      I personally need about 8hrs of sleep to feel normal and usually I am not getting it. Every once in a while I get so behind in sleep that I will just fall asleep early for several days in a row because I am exhausted and then once I am caught up I am back to my usual routine.

      I have finally decided that no matter how hard I try this is just my nature and I am never going to be a morning person. 🙂

  • Laurie says:

    THANK YOU for these posts!! Is part III coming today? 🙂

  • Lilyam says:

    I have had your ebook since forever and just started last week to work on it and I love it.

    I’ve had these times set up for a year and a half and they are really working.

    5:00AM wake up time
    7:30AM breakfast
    11:00AM Snack/lunch
    4:30PM Lunch/snack
    6:30PM Dinner
    8:00PM bedtime kids
    10:30PM off I go

    Today (week 2 – Wednesday) I re-define my routines and this is what I came up with:

    Mi morning Routine:

    Exercise 25min
    Drink Water/Make coffee
    Shower/get dressed
    Make juice
    Children up/dress/hair/teeth
    Nap-time / Me-time

    Afternoon Routine:
    Pick up at bus stop
    Reading time

    Evening Routine:
    Bathtime kids
    Bedtime kids
    Quick 10-min pick up
    Lay out clothes
    Gratitude Journal
    TV time for parents
    Bedtime mom

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