Out of all the resolutions I made this year, I think this is the most important because it is the foundation upon which everything will be built. Last year I wanted to do a ton of things, but I did not have the framework to really be organized to do so. I believe that my resolution to make and keep a morning and evening routine is really going to help me be successful in more areas of my life. I have been working on this post of a while now in an effort to really understand how to make a routine that I will be able to stick with. I am going to do a post on each routine I create, but for now, here is how to make a successful routine.
Routines can be seen as things that are too rigid, that keep you tied to a tight schedule, and not very interesting, but having a few routines in place can really help your day go well. The trick is to make them easy enough to follow, that they eventually become habits.
Creating routines and habits means that you naturally start to use your time better, and get more out of it, which can mean you create a stress and hassle free morning and evening.
The benefits do not stop there. It takes away the need to think that much in the morning when your brain isn’t yet in gear. Evening routines are also great to help you whined down.
Work backwards for real results
Having decided to create a morning and evening schedule, I found that the easiest way to do it was to work backwards.
Let me explain!
Step 1 – Know when you need to start your day and go to sleep
The main objective of creating a morning and evening routine is to get to work or other activities on time and be able to get to sleep on time.
Write this time down at the top of your piece of paper.
Step 2 – Get to grips with what tasks you do each morning and evening
On the same sheet of paper, write down a list of EVERYTHING you do each morning and evening. I think the best way to do this is make the list from your memory and then take a couple of days to really become aware of what you are doing or need to be doing.
Things that you may want to include are as follows:-
Lay of next day clothing
Think of everything, however small it all takes time to do.
I like this document, as a simple way to do this.
Step 3 – Declutter the list!
Just as with most organizing projects, decluttering comes into it!
You may think that everything you do each morning and evening has to be done, but actually there may be things that you can easily take out of the list that do not help you get towards the goals. Things that waste time include catching up on Facebook, watching TV, or other phone items.
You want to ensure that only the tasks that really help you in the mornings to get ready for the day and in the evening getting ready for bed, are on your list. Once you have decluttered you list, order it by placing a 1,2,3, ect by each task to determine the order in which they will be completed.
Step 4 – Understand how long each task takes you
Write down alongside each task how long it takes you to do. Do not guess, actually time yourself a couple of mornings as then you will be sure of how long it really takes.
Step 5 – Be aware of non moveable time related tasks
By this I mean that you need to know about any time restrictions on any of the tasks you have written down. If you do have any of these type of things, it’s worth adding that specific time to your list against the task that it relates to, as then you can ensure you plan around them.
Step 6 – Work backwards to set a start time
To decide what time to get up and start going to be, simply work backwards from the time you want to leave the house or go to bed. For example: if you need to leave the house by 8am and have 90 minutes of tasks to do, then you know you need to wake up at 6:30.
For example – your list may be as follows:-
Wake up / Shower (20 minutes)
Get dressed (10 minutes)
Hair / Make up (20 minutes)
Breakfast (10 minutes)
Eat breakfast (takes 20 minutes)
Tidy Kitchen (takes 10 minutes)
Buffer – 10 mins
Leave house (8am)
As long as this is an acceptable time for you (i.e. you haven’t just fallen off your seat when you realized when you should be getting up at 4.30am every morning to get everything you want done….), then you can write up your routine and start following it.
TIP – If the time just will not work for you, then you may want to take a look at a post I love from Organize My House on this topic. It has lots of tips on how to make mornings more simple, so you may want to read this to see if there’s anywhere you can streamline further to make things a little easier for you.
Step 7 – Make it obvious
Now you have your morning and evening routine sorted out, I advise sticking it somewhere you will easily see it each; usually a bathroom wall, but do wherever is right for you. I purchased a really cute little standing chalkboard that I plan on writing this on.