I used to be the perpetually late frazzled mom, scrambling to get out the door, yelling at my kid, losing my patience, constantly forgetting something crucial that I desperately needed for my day. Can anybody relate???
Living this way stressed me out SO much! I always felt like I wasn’t keeping up or was letting everyone down including myself. I used to say that’s just the way I was, like lateness and anxiety are just personality traits. I was constantly thinking up excuses, but I finally decided to hold myself accountable. The way I did it was by implementing structured morning and evening routines.
At first it felt like literally everything I was doing was all in the service of this one goal and I couldn’t believe I needed so much structure and change and effort to adjust one area of my life but after about 3 days I was completely used to it. Now I have a system that feels so easy and stress free that I can’t imagine doing it any other way. The best part is, I got actual RESULTS!
Since starting the routines I am:
Always on time to work/school… seriously… always
Getting plenty of rest…
No longer yelling at my kid in the morning… unbelievable, but true.
Remembering everything I need for the day…
Always looking/feeling my best by having time for hair/makeup & style…
Fitting in things I wasn’t able to before, like a mindfulness practice, drinking a cup of coffee on my couch, and journaling… for real.
Something I learned was that I couldn’t JUST do the morning routine or the evening routine alone. They are like best friends that need to hold hands. What you prepare the night before, sets you up for an easy morning.
Structure often feels like a lot to do, like, wow that’s a lot of effort, but the secret of what structure really did for me, is it actually gave me more flexibility! If the structure isn’t working for me, it can be adjusted, but by doing routines consistently I actually cut out all the dumb little distractions and interruptions that were in the way of my peace and productivity. Having hard deadlines like a 6 AM wakeup or reading a 7:30 PM bedtime story to my daughter, are benchmarks that I can frame choices and priorities around.
This is really key. We don’t HAVE to read bedtime stories at 7:30. Sometimes we go for a sunset walk or finish a show or movie we start, or something else, but we know we’re making a choice there, bedtime stories will be sacrificed in the process of change so we have to decide what our priorities are. Usually my kiddo and I choose bedtime stories, but we don’t have to. Similarly, I know if I don’t wake up by 6, I will not get to do some aspect of my routine, which means I am choosing to sacrifice some aspect of my well-being and progress and so I usually don’t do that, merely because I’d rather show up for myself.
I also leave flexibility. Preparing dinner doesn’t always mean a complex 3-course meal. It can mean ordering in, or finishing leftovers, but I’m still getting that done at 5-5:30 to keep consistent.
Having a “prep day,” on Sat or Sun, even just a half day, helps keep up with more time consuming stuff like laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping and heavier duty household cleaning. I also like to spend at least 30 min each weekend organizing and de-cluttering just one area of my apartment, just to keep up.
You may also notice that I don’t do things like get my daughter dressed, or eat breakfast at home. Those are just personal choices. My kid is 5 so is pretty self-sufficient with just a little direction from me. She’s happy eating my quickie breakfasts for her which are usually yogurt & fruit or something equally quick. I’m also not usually hungry first thing in the morning so I tend to bring a piece of fruit and something easy like a granola bar in my bag and eat it when I get hungry at work.
Something big that’s also missing from my routines is exercise. I DO exercise, but I usually do it at lunch, in the afternoon if I get off early, on weekends, or fit it in during the evening with my kiddo, like a walk in the park. I do it when I feel like it, not structured, and I feel great and like I get plenty. That might be different for others.
Everyone’s routines will look different depending on your needs/ preferences/priorities. Mine just is what mine is. If you’re trying to change habits, consider routines & feel free to ask me any questions!