How Implementing Routines Can Change Your Life
I’m all about routines. I like doing the work ahead of time to figure out what needs to happen and when. Once I do that, the day goes by smoothly and easy as pie. For a while, routines during covid went straight out the window – it was a free for all. And I noticed something…I wasn’t as happy. Because hidden in my little neurotic routines were keys to me staying happy and healthy. Without routines, I was forgetting to do the little things that I’ve made as the structure of my life, my must-haves. Back to the drawing board I went.
Now maybe you’re not a routines girl. Maybe you like keeping your day more open, meeting the needs of the day as it happens. Whatever works for you, you do you girl. But I know, especially during covid, that routines can work wonders. WONDERS, I say! Not sure where to start?
Here are a few tips:
Sit down and figure out what are your non-negotiables to get done each day.
What counts as a non-negotiable? Things that you have to do for others that depend on you, tasks that make you your best self (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc), and to do’s that maintain your environment. Outer order, inner calm my friend. I’ve also included my list of non-negotiables a little further down.
Once you figure out your non-negotiables, build the rest of your routine around it.
I write my to-dos in a paper planner and then schedule them in around my non-negotiables.
Life happens. Keep your non-negotiables intact and move the rest of your to-dos to the next day or give yourself grace over the missed parts of your routine.
Don’t hold on to routines too tightly.
Try things out. If something doesn’t work, swap it out with something else. For example, I figured out for quarantine, it’s best for my schedule to work out in the afternoons instead of the mornings or nights. Once we’re out of quarantine, that will change again. Routines shouldn’t be rigid.
Break your routines down.
I have a routine for weekdays, one for Saturdays, and one for Sundays. I have fixed events on my calendar and my routines need to function around them.
Add your routine to your calendar and get notifications.
This is the most important tip of all. I use the method of calendar blocking. This is another topic for another time BUT there are 2 reasons I love adding my routines to my calendar.
First of all, it’s helpful to have the alerts to keep me on task. It takes the procrastination out of the equation because my phone is going off and I have to move to the next thing. If I’m not ready, it means less time for the next task which really kicks my booty in gear.
Second of all, I can visually see how everything is going to work. I make my non-negotiables repeating events for every day it applies. Then, I take those to-dos I wrote in my planner and plug them into my calendar.
This trick alone helps me manage expectations. I can see where my time is going and I can figure out how long things take. If something takes less or more time then I have it scheduled for, I adjust it on my calendar so next time I need to schedule that to-do, I have more accurate time estimates for how much of my day it’ll take up.
Your routine is there to help not to shame.
Need ideas on how to start your routine “non-negotiables” list?
I’ve included the 10 things I do every day to make sure I have the best day I can as an example to spark some creativity.
1. Make my bed – lots of studies why this is the best thing to do as your #1 task each day. Also, just maintaining my space affects my mind so much that it has to be on the non-negotiable list.
2. Walk Scout – It’s obviously good and necessary for Scout but it also gives me time to get outside, move my body, and listen to a podcast or playlist. Also, any additional yoga or movement I can fit in is such a great bonus.
3. Get ready – My non-negotiables have changed a bit during quarantine. This was a no brainer before but became optional during covid. I find putting on real clothes and doing my hair, maybe a little makeup (not all the time) but a lot of the time has done amazing things for my frame of mind and confidence.
4. Drink enough water – I bought this water bottle from Amazon during quarantine and it is the only reason I drink enough water. It’s visual and provides instant results.
5. Eat healthy foods and only when I’m hungry – It’s so easy now that I’m home all the time to just snack. Snack when I’m bored or stressed or because it’s there. I definitely don’t eat healthy for every meal but I’m much more intentional of making sure I get in my fruits and veggies, buy healthier snacks, and only eat when I’m hungry.
6. Read a chapter a day – Reading is something I love to do and is always on my goals list. Reading a chapter a day makes me feel like I’m making progress.
7. Practice French – I use Duolingo and love it. It’s again, a tangible way to feel like I’m reaching my goals.
8. Do a second a day – The app I use is called 1SE for 1 Second Every day. It has been remarkable to see how this year started out and how it’s gone since then. Documenting life is so important to me. This habit has caused me to look for little moments in every day and I love that.
9. Reach out to a friend – Another one born out of quarantine. I like to reach out to a friend or family member each day. Quarantine can feel isolating quick and reaching out connects us all.
10. Spend time with God – Listening to worship music, journaling, praying, working on a bible study, spending time in the word, listening to a sermon. Whatever this looks like, it has to happen each day.
Whether you’re reading this and we’re still stuck in quarantine or it’s years past (how are things in 2025?), routines are magic. They take out the guesswork of making sure all the puzzle pieces of life fit together. Take a little time at the end of each day or at least once a week to plan it out. Trust me, your anxiety will go down, your happiness will go up, and you will feel like you’re in control. Once you get ahold of the little things you can dream bigger, knowing everything is taken care of and now you can start living your best life.
Sending you all the organization vibes,