How To Get Into A Better Routine Right Now

We’ve had intermittent internet for the last little while, and I thought I’d take that time to disconnect from the online world and turn my attention to our home. It’s been a little unloved and has become quite the dumping ground since our collision (our lounge room effectively became the holding area for the contents of our car) but as we have our new (not brand new, 5 years old) car, it’s all been moved back. This has motivated The Mister and I to get our house and our lives back into tip-top shape, starting with our routine.

WHY A ROUTINE IS IMPORTANT

It’s no secret that I love planning and being organised, and if you know me on a personal level, you may be genuinely surprised that I am not always organised. Sometimes I like to curl up on the couch and just surf the internet instead of adulting. It happens. Then there are the times I curse myself for having let things go. Only then do I remember the importance of routine. Routine doesn’t have to mean doing the same thing at the same time each day/week/month/however frequent it needs doing. What it does mean is making sure you are in the habit of doing things on a regular basis, and if you do them at the same time – even better. Routine can save you time and money, giving you more time to do less of the adulting that is required of routine.

Routine check-up: Get your routine into shape

LIFE PLANNERS

Life planners!? What the heck is a ‘life’ planner? Honestly, it’s just a fancy schmancy term that I have adopted to collectively describe daily/weekly/monthly/yearly planners. See, much easier to say ‘Life Planner’ than to get all that garb out.

Our home has two life planners on the go (both need updating for this month, I will admit): one is a weekly planner (similar to this) on our fridge, and the other is a monthly whiteboard planner which, unfortunately, has seen better days and will need replacing soon. The weekly planner allows us to visualise our time for the week in half hourly increments. The monthly planner has all the concrete things like birthdays (blue), events (green), and when bills are due (red).

Outside of these two home planners, The Mister and I both use Google calendar on our phones religiously. Too often has one or the other booked something in without telling the other and not put it in our phones. We both have viewing and editing rights to each other’s calendar so we can keep on top of our time. I then transfer all of this scheduling into my personal planner that is carried with me wherever I go. I’m very much a practical person and like to have things on paper in the case of a tech failure. My personal planner also allows me to hold important receipts, take meeting notes, keep a to do list at the front of the planner at all times, and lots of other things.

Insider Tip: Don’t forget to schedule time for your planning!

‘FOR THE HOME’ PLANNERS

I’m talking about meal planners, chore/cleaning planners, shopping lists. You see, For The Home. Again, all three are on our fridge and when we use them properly, they save us oodles of time and money.

The reality of contemporary life is that we’re often stuck in our jobs for 30-50 hours a week, sometimes more. Going home to cook and clean is not high on the agenda when all we want to do is put our feet up and watch Netflix (oh boy, we decided to get on board with Netflix recently…that’s another post entirely). Having meal and chore planners help you to maintain that peaceful lifestyle you desire outside of the daily grind. Sure, you have to cook sometimes and you have to clean too, even go to do the groceries, but if you use these planners wisely you’ll have plenty of time for the couch.

Insider Tip: Use the ‘For The Home’ Planners in conjunction with your life planners and you will definitely save yourself time and money. Keep your shopping list in your personal planner (front with your to do list, clipped to the shopping day/week, wherever you prefer) and going straight from the daily grind to do the groceries will save you time and money as you won’t be schlepping all over the countryside, merely work – groceries – home. And, if you’ve planned your time well, you’ll have pre-cooked meals in the freezer you can reheat from frozen while you’re unpacking the groceries. No need for take out!

A Good Night’s Sleep

Going to sleep and waking up at the same each day and night: It might sound silly to you, but having a solid bed time rather than a fluid bed time will help you get into routine quicker than you think. We’ve tried and tested both methods; can you guess which one we prefer?

Our bed time is 22:30 (10:30pm). Anything beyond that and we turn into pumpkins. Both of us can go long into the night if we have to but we love getting horizontal and bunking down under the doona to catch some zeds. I wish we didn’t but unfortunately we do use our phones in bed before nodding off. I grow tired of it pretty quickly though and am often the first to pop the phone on my bedside table. If you absolutely cannot go without using your phone in bed before dozing off, use an app like Twilight (for Android) or F.lux (for iPhone). These apps filter the blue light emitted from electronic devices (phones, tablets, computer screens) that is scientifically proven as being detrimental to your sleep, therefore impacting your general health. Not sure what I’m talking about? Google ‘blue light and sleep’. Waking up refreshed puts you in good stead for the day, and will help you to achieve your daily tasks/goals.

ROUTINE AND ME

I’m the kind of person who chooses to not sleep in…most of the time. As soon as my mind and my body are in sync and functioning, I like to get up and start my day. I get annoyed at The Mister for sleeping in – and let’s face it, he could be sleeping, or he could be just lying there in bed internetting and not adulting – because I like to face each day head on. The day starts for me as soon as my feet hit the bedroom floor, though truth be told I’ll have run through a million things in my head that need to be taken care of before I’ve even sat upright to get out of bed. My morning routine consists of: wake up, quick flick of social media/emails that need my attention, loo, breakfast, million things that need taking care of. Unlike The Mister, I don’t drink coffee. Never have, and pretty sure I never will, even if/when we are fortunate enough to bring our own little person into this world. I hit the ground running without a caffeine fix while The Mister sits down and reads the interwebs (reddit, mostly) over his morning coffee (it’s his final uni semester ever…). Although it grates on me, some days I need to just step back and let him do his thing. That’s his morning routine. We’re all cast from a different mould, and everyone’s routine is different. The important thing is understanding that a routine – loose or tight – is necessary in achieving the million and one things that are expected of members of contemporary society.

Do you do routine, or do you need a little more direction? Head over to www.madeit.com.au/littlegoldfish to purchase your very own vintage-inspired printable planner. Be sure to pop the code ARRPLAN to receive 20% off your planner order!

  • We are gradually getting into a new routine now that we are non-suburbanites! Weirdly, we keep getting up super early on days when it’s not necessary – this is quite helpful for developing routines but I simply cannot explain it. I keep waking up on Sundays, feeling like it must be around eight or nine o’ clock, only to discover it’s barely even six-thirty!

    I like your idea of using a whiteboard to plan things out. I have an idea that we should use something like that for a shopping list (which we could possibly photograph before we go out). Next up: getting into a routine for cleaning. Oh, and practising my instruments.

    • New routines are hard to get into, aren’t they Katie? I’m really struggling right now, but I’m hoping that tomorrow I am going to have some time to prepare for next week. I must admit, although it sounds like you’re not particularly liking waking up so early, that I am rather jealous!

      The whiteboard is wonderful, and if you do use it, you will love it. Photographing it before you leave for the shopping is a great idea, I do that too with the to do list attached to our weekly planner. Technology is wonderful, eh?
      Cleaning, abhorrent at times, becomes easier with a routine I find. I think I’m going to just do three things a day so I don’t overdo it physically, and then go from there.
      Practising your instruments: isn’t it funny that we have to schedule time for activities that bring us joy?

  • Lisa

    I’m trying to get into better routines. An allergic reaction decided that wasn’t a good plan ha. Hopefully I will be well soon and can get back on track. I must remember there are only 24 hours a day and I should be sleeping for at least 8 of those!

    • Oh no Lisa! An allergic reaction!? I hope you’re okay now?

      It’s difficult, having only 24 hours in a day of which we need to sleep for 8. I try to live by the 8-8-8 motto but it’s so difficult. The Mister started a new job on Monday so we’ve almost got the 8 hours of sleep down, but for him, he spends an hour commuting each way, so his is more like 8-10-6. Perhaps we’ll have to give up our coastal inner city life and just go to a northern hipster inner city life so he can truly have 8-8-8.

  • I just recently started incorporating a routine after life got a bit out of hand! Definitely love love love using my planner, I also use apps like wunderlist and productive, definitely has helped me get that routine set and actually do it! Awesome post!

    • I was always anti-planner but that was only because I couldn’t find one that I liked (in terms of the prettiness)! I still don’t like the inserts for this one but I’m going to make my own for the next year.
      I’ll have to check out those apps, thanks Mayara!

  • Oh girl, I am ALL about routine! I’m so glad you included sleep in this list too. Having a consistent sleep routine is such a great way to make sure everything else runs smoothly! The planners are a great tip too. Thanks for sharing these! 🙂

    • I tell you what Lauren, since The Mister started his new job on Monday, our life has been enriched on more than one level: our home is cleaner, we’re already eating healthier, and I can focus without any distractions (love him to bits but he can be very distracting, talking, watching shows together, etc.). Although our sleep wasn’t the best overnight last night, I’m still feeling pretty darned awesome. Maybe it’s because the sun is shining too? Hello Spring, Summer I’ll see you real soon!

  • Well, our routine got one hell of a shake up this week with The Mister starting a new job! We’re both out of bed now by 0630 at the very latest, meaning bed time is anywhere between 2130 and 2230! Needless to say these last three days I have achieved more than I have in the last three weeks!!

    xx

  • Akram, how awesome is Google calendar?! The Mister and I love our Google calendars and colour coding everything. It’s great that you can give admin rights to other people too because then they can just pop the event in without you needing to accept, and it’s right there in front of you.
    How is the temporary living situation right now?

    • Things are better. Still in a small one bedroom apartment, but I’m getting used to it. Also I’m finally getting into a groove at work so that has relieved some stress.

      • Small one bedders are a challenge, eh?
        I’m so glad that you’re finding your groove at work. It’s funny how that can relieve the pressure.

  • Shann Eva

    I definitely do better when I have a good routine in place. It took us a while to get back into the groove once my son started kindergarten this year, but I think we’ve finally got it. I’m still working on the sleep routine, though.

    • I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child to incorporate into routine!
      Fingers crossed you’re able to get something sorted with your sleep soon.

  • It really is never ending, isn’t it DT? I’m loving having a more solid sleep schedule – definitely achieving more! I’m hoping you can find some sleep soon 🙂