This month in The Organised Life Project, we’re creating daily, weekly and monthly routines to help our homes and lives run more smoothly. Today, we’re focusing on the tasks we need to do each day. Join us to create a daily routine.
Last week, I asked you to start mapping out everything you do on a regular basis. You might have a paper completely full of notes and lists. Or you might have made a start, got overwhelmed and abandoned it. Or perhaps you never got started at all. That’s fine. We’ll get through it together.
Now, we’re going to start putting some kind of order into our time.
Making the most of our days
Almost all of us have a typical morning. Yes, it might feel like it involves wrestling an octopus into a school uniform that is 17 sizes too small, or it might feel like a race to consume as much coffee as possible to make up for the lost hours of sleep, but we have a morning. We tend to have a fairly regular time we get up and a time we have to leave by.
We also have an evening, of some kind or another. At some point it will involve going to bed. It may well also involve measures of bribery and threats to get the kids into bed, but at some point, everyone goes to bed.
These are the cornerstones of our days. We’re going to use these points in our day to make sure the day flows smoothly. We’re going to create a daily routine.
First things first… The Evening
Hang on. The evening? But the morning comes first, I hear you think.
Yes, I know (and I can’t hear your thoughts). But for most of us, it’s the evening when we have the time.
Personally, on a work day, I need to leave by 7.25am, with a toddler. By the time I leave, everyone needs to be up, two adults showered and dressed, two children dressed and everyone having had breakfast… That’s enough to be going on with. I’m going to actively avoid adding anything extra into my routine in the mornings. I simply don’t have the time.
But in the evening, when the children have gone to bed, I do have the time. That’s when I get things ready for the next day. There are certain things I have to do in the evening, because they will never, ever get done in the morning. Making packed lunches, for example. If I don’t make them in the evening, I’m going to be queueing in the canteen with my students the following day.
These are some of the things I do in the evening:
- Wash up from dinner, stack the dishwasher and put it on.
- Wipe down the cabinets and counters.
- Tidy up from the day.
- Pack everyone’s bags for the following day.
- Put on a load of laundry. Once it has finished, put it in the drier or hang it up.
- Make packed lunches.
- Empty the kitchen bin and put the recycling out.
- Work out what we’re all going to wear the following day and make sure it’s clean/ironed etc.
- Work out what we’re having for dinner the following day and make sure everything is ready.
Those are some ideas. As you can see, the jobs are all about getting ready for the next day. Tim and I share them and try to make sure we alternate putting Ben to bed. (I still put Samuel to bed every night. He’s still the baby.)
In the morning, it’s simple.
The children pretty much have breakfast as soon as they are up. Then they get dressed. If they get dressed before breakfast, they are much more likely to spill something on themselves.
I empty the dishwasher while they eat and eat something myself. A weekday breakfast is simple: cereal, toast, fruit. For me, there’s coffee. Always coffee.
Then I shower and dress once Tim comes down. We all know exactly what time everyone needs to be downstairs and ready. Our mornings seem to run fairly smoothly, as long as we get enough coffee.
You might have more time in the mornings. Perhaps this is a problem: things which shouldn’t take a long time stretch out until finally everyone’s rushing to get out of the door. We know there are always last minute toilet visits, tantrums or spilled drinks in the 30 seconds when you are just leaving the house. It happens. If you always aim to leave 10 minutes earlier than you need to, you’ll be fine.
The Tasks to Create a Daily Routine:
Go through your brain-dump. Work out what you want to do daily. Don’t worry about the ones that are less frequent – we’ll get to them. Personally, I’d highlight them. You might even highlight the things that are essential and the things that are desirable.
Then, work out which ones will suit you best to do in the evening. If you’re like me, and have more time in the evening, schedule them for the evening. If you want a free printable to help you with this, and four more free printables to help you organise your morning and evening routines, pop your email in the blue box and I’ll send them over to you.
Then work out your morning tasks. If you can, keep it simple. Don’t try to do more than you are able. You’re not superwoman or superman. Your children aren’t robots – and neither are you!
Write them down and identify who is responsible. If you alternate getting up early as your children are early risers, write down the order in which you do the tasks. If you are out several evenings a week, make sure your partner knows what needs doing. Until this becomes habit, I find it really helpful to have it physically printed out somewhere.
Give it a try. In the final week of February – spoiler alert! – we’re going to refine our routines. We’re going to look at where we’ve been too ambitious, and where things could work better. Just having a routine written down doesn’t mean it’s the law. It’s helpful – and can be very motivating – but it has to work for you.
Here’s mine as an example. I didn’t allocate any one person to each particular task as we share the joy of our children waking very, very early.
So there’s how to create a daily routine.
Once you’re ready, head over to the next post: How to create a weekly routine. I’m going to be honest: this was a life-changer for me!