Are you constantly feeling behind, rushed, and anxious? Do you feel like you can never seem to get everything done? If so, it might be time to try creating a daily routine. Realistic schedules can help you organize your time and give you a sense of calm and control. Plus, it can be really helpful in preventing burnout.
Daily routines are a game-changer for busy moms, regardless of your working status. They can help you plan and stay on top of your housework, errands, meals, childcare tasks—everything you need to do each day!
If you feel like daily routines are impossible in today’s world, this post is for you! Get ready to create some more order in your life, with this guide to realistic and sustainable daily routines. With a little bit of tweaking, you’re sure to find a few tips here that fit perfectly into your lifestyle!
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Why are realistic daily routines important?
Daily routines are important because they help you keep track of daily tasks, prioritize certain tasks, and make daily planning easier. An organized daily routine helps prevent panic when your daily plan doesn’t go as expected—which happens all too often for busy moms!
Daily routines can also be important because they help establish consistency in your life. They can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, because they allow you to be on autopilot. Your body gets used to being in the mode of working when it’s working time and resting when it’s time for resting.
Another reason routines are helpful is the fact that they can help you carve out a bit of time for yourself and relieve daily stress. As women, we juggle so many different roles throughout the day—and often those roles vary daily! Some days we’re working outside the home and some days we’re at home with our children or taking care of other family members.
Having a realistic daily routine ensures that you create your daily routine with rest in mind. You can pre-plan breaks in your day so that you are not overwhelmed when things get chaotic.
Lastly daily routines encourage you not to overbook your schedule. You don’t need to try and fit a million things in each day. The daily routine encourages you to think about what is most important for you, your family, and your daily schedule, so that you can prioritize these daily tasks accordingly.
What is a realistic schedule?
So, what is a realistic schedule? A realistic schedule is one that you can easily achieve daily without causing too much stress and anxiety. It includes space for work, housekeeping tasks and home management tasks, child-care needs and space for daily rest and relaxation.
A realistic schedule is one that can be maintained sustainably and leaves cushion for the predictable unpredictability that is so common in motherhood!
Ultimately a realistic schedule will do 3 things: maximize one’s time, prioritize those responsibilities deemed most important and finally, allow time for flexibility.
Tips for creating a realistic daily routine
Understanding what a realistic routine is, is only half of the battle to creating more sustainable daily routines. The next step is to know how to create a daily routine! Here are a few tips to help your daily routine planning easier.
Prioritize what’s important
What are the non-negotiable important tasks that you want to get done each day? So many of us end up with unrealistic routines because we struggle to prioritize what’s truly important. We do not take the time to evaluate what we want to do, and so we end up with a life that feels busy instead of productive.
When we choose to prioritize what is important we make time for those things. These priority tasks can be things like:
- Daily prayer
- Working out
- Spending time with our children
- Having a morning routine
- Eating as a family
Understanding what is important to you and keeping this list of tasks at the forefront of your mind can help you build a routine that is based on what’s important.
Let go of the need to be busy
So many of us place our worth on our ability to get tasks completed. Working through our to-do list everyday is a badge of honor. The world glorifies weariness and striving, but we were created for a slower way of living and being. We were made for a rhythm of working and resting. Busyness tells us that if we are not doing something we are being lazy.
So many of us fall for this way of thinking because we confuse being busy with being productive. There is a huge difference between being busy and being productive. Busyness wants you constantly doing something (anything) regardless of how it fits into your priorities and goals. Productivity encourages intentionality when working through tasks.
Creating realistic schedules means being intentional about focusing on productivity and not just busyness.
Clear the clutter on your to do list
If there are tasks on your to do list that are extraneous, let them go. These extra tasks or distractions are one of the reasons we are busy and not productive. They can be things like, tasks that you are doing because of a feeling of obligation or because of the perceived value that other people place on them.
This could be something like, choosing not to have leftovers as part of your meal plan because a friend disagrees with leftovers. So even if you barely have time for meal prep each day, you commit to fresh daily meals. This is unsustainable and unrealistic because you are basing your plans off of the values of others.
Other distractions and clutter on your to do list can be tasks that do not have to be managed or completed by you. These are the delegate, automate, and outsource tasks, and can include everything from household chores, to planning birthday parties.
Looking for more tips on time management? Check out all of our productivity resources
Plan for the week
One thing that has significantly helped me in creating realistic routines has been planning my week. Instead of only working day to day and trying to pack many tasks into the day that roll over into the next, I sit down on Sunday’s and plan my week.
This doesn’t have to be a difficult task either, in fact, planning my week is quite simple. To plan my week effectively I simply list out all of the tasks that I would like to complete for the week. I typically keep this to 5-8 tasks, then I divide those tasks out throughout the week, adding one to two tasks to each day.
These tasks become my priority tasks for the day, and my focus to get done.
Multi-tasking is the myth that keeps us from creating realistic schedules. It is the idea that we can do many things at once and be effective. This way of thinking has lead to people feeling like they need to be doing better, even when they aren’t.
By embracing single-tasking you will find yourself more focused on your daily priorities. You will also feel less stressed because instead of having a mind with divided focus trying to complete many things at the same time, you are able to be more focused and thus more productive on a single task.
Have clear boundaries on your time
Boundaries are hard, but learning to say ‘no’ when it comes to protecting your free time is key to creating and keeping realistic schedules and routines.
This might mean saying ‘no’ to attending school events or appointments that require extended time and energy. It might mean considering part-time hours at work, or committing only to certain types of engagements after 5 pm. It is helpful to make sure that you are certain about your priorities as well.
When you know what you are saying ‘yes’ to, your ‘no’ is easy, and healthy boundaries are simpler to maintain.
Learn God’s intention for Time Stewardship
Embrace a rhythm of working and resting and get more done! Take our Purposeful Productivity Challenge and find more time for the daily tasks that matter and quickly begin creating routines that prioritize rest.
What should be included in a daily routine?
Still unsure of exactly how to create a realistic routine? Sometimes it is helpful to have some examples of what to include in your daily routine.
Tasks to add to your daily morning routine
Here are a few tasks to add to your daily morning routine.
Wake up early – Even if you are not a morning person, there are benefits to waking early and getting your morning started. An energizing morning routine can make the difference between a day that drags and one that is productive. Waking even 30 minutes early can help you get your morning started on the right foot.
Prayer/meditation – Taking time to get reset in the morning with prayer is one of the best ways to ensure you have a good day. This simple habit can mean the difference between trying to do life alone, and connecting to God and being open to his leading for your day.
Skincare – I’ll admit, I haven’t always been a super skin-care girl, but it really does wonders to get your morning started with a skin-care routine that is simple! Afterall, skin-care is self-care and an easy way to pamper yourself daily.
Fitness – Movement is so great for stress, anxiety, and overall health. Starting your morning with a quick and energizing workout can help get your blood pumping and ensure that your workout is done for the day. This is especially important if you find you often neglect stewarding your health and cannot find time to workout during/after work.
Make your bed – Making your bed in the morning is an empowering daily task. It helps us get started on the right foot, it can make our room feel more put together and cared for, and it makes our homes reflect the order that we want in our daily lives.
Eat a healthy breakfast – Are you one of the millions of people who skip breakfast in the morning? If so, give yourself a daily reminder to start your day with something light and healthy. It will help you feel energized for the day, avoid unhealthy snacking throughout the morning, and can boost your mood.
Hydration – Our bodies are over three-quarters water, and while we can go a few hours without food, we cannot survive for more than a couple days without water.
Be sure to include hydration in your morning routine. This could be in the form of cold water, but I prefer to drink hot lemon water in the morning. Its a calming way to wake up digestion and feel ready to tackle the day.
Tasks to add to your nighttime routine
Additionally, here are some daily routine ideas for your nighttime routine.
Gratitude and reflection – Take time at the end of the night to reflect on your day. Consider the things you are grateful for and the things that went well. You can also note moments here you’d like to improve the next day. Coming to terms with one day before going into the next is a great way to make sure that you are living in the present. Journaling these reflections is also a fantastic way to complete this evening routine task.
Prepare for the morning – Ensure your morning is calm by preparing for it the night before. This can mean preparing your clothing, straightening up the bathroom, completing a functional clean of your home, and a host of other tasks that help you feel ready to tackle the day in the morning instead of feeling like you have to catch up.
Plan your goals for tomorrow – If you planned your week and have an idea for what your priorities are for the next day, use this time to determine how to execute those tasks. You can create a block schedule or if you are already using this time management technique consider placing the tasks in their respective blocks.
Relaxing activities – Taking the time to do something relaxing before going to bed is another daily routine task that can be really helpful to helping you get to sleep. This could be something like adult coloring, listening to a podcast, taking a bath, or simply sitting in silence.
Disconnect from electronics – Another daily routine is to disconnect from your technology before bed. This helps you feel prepared for a better night of sleep and lets you be present in the moment with those that are around you.
Create Realistic schedules for a more balanced life
Creating a realistic routine is the key to ensuring that you are productive and taking care of yourself each day. When it comes to time management, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But by prioritizing what is important to you, creating healthy boundaries around your time, letting go of unnecessary tasks, and planning ahead, you can create a workable routine that fits into your life.
We hope our tips have helped give you a better idea of how to create a sustainable routine for yourself. If you’re looking for more in-depth information on time management and planning, we suggest checking out our book Finding Time. It’s packed with practical advice and strategies for anyone looking to have more time for the things that matter.