routine

Motivation Monday: Creating A Monthly Routine

Happy November everyone! I thought I’d get this month started off right by continuing our discussion on routine. We’ve talked about daily routines and weekly routines so it’s only logical to start this new month discussing monthly routines.

Where daily routines are vital to avoiding decision fatigue and weekly routines keep your weekly productivity maximized, monthly routines hold all the loose ends together.

You know all that other stuff? The stuff that needs to be done every now and then but you can never remember the last time you did it? The things that aren’t not too important but your world would slowly fall apart if you ignored them altogether?

When did you last change the blade in your razor? Wash the car? Give the dog a bath?

If you had a monthly routine you’d know the answer to all those questions.

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I complete my daily and weekly routines enough to have them memorized but my monthly routine, not so much. I rely on a list which I have taped in the front of my planner where I check off each monthly task. If I’d like to note the date an item was completed I write the date down instead of a check mark.

My goal is to have each of these tasks completed during the first week of each month. Sometimes I’m successful at hitting that window, sometimes I’m not. It doesn’t matter when each task gets done as long as it gets completed once during the month and I make a note that it was finished.

Items on my monthly routine:

  • back up my computer
  • scan and file mail
  • clean Alvy’s hearing aids
  • give pets flea/heart worm medicine
  • replace contact lenses
  • replace razor cartridges
  • wash my car
  • file MOMS club membership forms
  • clean out email inbox
  • check/note blog stats

The tasks on my monthly routine aren’t vital to the operation of our household but their monthly maintenance is key to keeping things under control.

Organization is all about control.

Creating a monthly routine is a great way to keep infrequent tasks from falling through the cracks. Items which only need to be done monthly are easy to procrastinate and even easier to forget but a monthly routine will help you stay on track.

What items are in your monthly routine? How consistent are you about completing monthly tasks?

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Motivation Monday: Keeping A Weekly Routine

A couple of weeks ago when we discussed decision fatigue I talked about how decision making abilities wane as your brain becomes fatigued. Personal experience says that it’s true for our motivation levels throughout the week as well, at least for me.

On Monday morning I wake up refreshed from the weekend and ready to tackle the week. I spend most of Monday getting my things in order to ensure the week is successful. Something about Monday brings to mind the iconic training scenes from Rocky. I can just hear the soundtrack in my head now. I am motivated to get things done and have no problem tackling the hard stuff; hard work now brings rewards later on!

Tuesday is when things get tough. I put my head down, determined to survive the week. Wednesday isn’t any better.

On Thursday I’m just barely holding things together and by the time Friday rolls around I really don’t care about much of anything. At all.

Somebody pour me a beer.

I suspect this is true for everyone else too, based on a totally non-scientific observation I’ve made at the gym over the past several months. I work out Monday through Thursday at our local YMCA, at the same time each day. On Monday, the gym is packed full of people. On Tuesday there are fewer, Wednesday even fewer still. By Thursday it’s practically a waste land and everyone who is there looks like they’ve been attacked by a pack of angry dogs.

I have no idea what it’s like on Friday because even I don’t go to the gym on Friday.

What can we learn from this? Everyone starts the week with good intentions but as stress and exhaustion from the week build, our desire to do any nonessential tasks disappears (as my husband so eloquently puts it “our give-a-shitter is broken”). Can we do anything about this? Not really but we can use this knowledge to our advantage and schedule our recurring weekly tasks to maximize productivity.

When we discussed creating a daily routine last month we talked about building habits and creating a schedule to keep those small household tasks from taking over your day. This easily translates to routine weekly tasks as well.

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We all have recurring weekly tasks that need to be completed. Laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning the house are all things that, around here anyway, need to be done every week. Those tasks can easily be broken up and assigned to specific days of the week and specific people if you so desire.

There’s several advantages to creating a weekly routine.

First and foremost, when you have tasks assigned to a particular day you know exactly what you need to do that day immediately upon waking up. Chores, especially ones that are easy to put off are less likely to fall through the cracks and by completing chores on the same day each week you always know the last time something was done. Lastly, you can schedule your tasks to take advantage of higher motivation levels earlier in the week making them less likely to get procrastinated.

My weekly routine looks like this:

Monday: laundry, change the pet water
Tuesday: laundry, take out trash
Wednesday: change sheets, pick up house
Thursday: laundry, sort & file mail
Friday: take out trash
Saturday: NOTHING
Sunday: clean out fridge, grocery shopping, laundry prep

I keep a copy of my weekly tasks taped to the inside of my calendar just in case I need a gentle reminder of what needs to be done.

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Creating a weekly routine is easy. Write down a list of everything you’d like to get done on a weekly basis. Consider your schedule, the amount of time you have available and start filling in tasks to get done each day. Pick the stuff you hate the most and get it done early in the week. The week should get easier the further into it you get. Try to evenly spread out your chores so that no one day is overloaded with things to do.

Make sure to give yourself a couple of days off. You need a break from housework to keep yourself from getting burned out. On Friday I only have one simple chore and Saturday I do nothing outside my daily routine.

If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating an entire weekly routine at once or you just don’t have the time, try picking one task you’re likely to put off and doing it on the same day each week, as you conquer one you can add another.

Does each task on my weekly routine get completed every week? No. Most of the time the mail only gets sorted every two weeks and occasionally I get busy on Wednesday and I forget to change the sheets. Sometimes we’re busy on Sunday and I don’t make it to the grocery store and will do it Monday instead. Much like the monthly meal rotation I use this as a guideline to keep things on track and I rearrange tasks as needed.

Your schedule will look different from mine. We all have unique needs so no one routine will be like another but by sharing what works for me I’m hoping to give you ideas and motivate you to organize your mundane chores so you’ve got less to think about. That’s right, we’re talking about decision fatigue prevention – again.

By creating a weekly routine you can free up your brain to think about other things – like running your business, managing your job or educating your children – and you’re less likely to feel fried at the end of the day. It’s a win for everyone!

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Organized Grocery Shopping

I love grocery shopping. I love heading into the store with an empty basket and walking through the produce section to see all the delicious fruits and vegetables. I love wandering the aisles and imagining all the things I could make with the ingredients there. I fill my reusable bags full of healthy food and vibrant colors with my head held high.

Unless of course my kids are with me – in which case I’m buying everything on my list and getting the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

Since I only get to go grocery shopping alone about once every three months, you can bet I’m getting in, getting the things on my list and getting out as quickly as I can. Blissful browsing and hunting for that package of tamarind paste is just gonna have to wait.

Thankfully, there are ways organize your trip to save time and reduce stress – because organized grocery shopping is efficient grocery shopping. I feel like I’ve developed a pretty solid strategy and since it works so well for me I figured I’d share it with you.

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So here, without further ado, are my organized grocery shopping tips:

Know your store. I always shop at the same store and I know it well. I know the fastest and most efficient way to make my way through the store so that I can get the things I need quickly. Produce first, then the bakery, meats & cheese, dry goods, dairy, frozen foods and cleaning supplies.

Here’s a little drawing of how my favorite grocery store is laid out.

Grocery Store Layout

Have an organized list. I use two separate lists for keeping track of what I need. I have a list on a chalkboard in my kitchen (it’s not a real chalkboard – it’s a frame from Target with black paper inside that I write on with chalkboard markers) that I use on a daily basis.

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As I notice something that I need to purchase I write it on the chalkboard.

When I’m planning our meals for the week I use a list I created in Remember the Milk. First I sit down and add everything I need for our meals for that week, then I add anything I wrote on the chalkboard. At that point I erase chalkboard and have it ready for the next week.

Remember the Milk is my FAVORITE list making service. It’s cloud based and multi-platform so I can add stuff to my grocery list no matter where I am.

In Remember the Milk each item has four different priority options and I use those to keep my grocery list organized. I divided my grocery store into four sections and assigned each section a priority level. Every time I enter an item on my grocery list I assign it a priority setting depending on where it’s located in the store.

Priority 1 = Produce
Priority 2 = Seafood, Bakery, Deli, Meat & Cheese
Priority 3 = Dry Goods
No Priority = Dairy, Frozen Food, Cleaning Supplies & Pharmacy

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My grocery list is set to sort items based on priority so all the items in my list are grouped by where they are located in the store.

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As I walk through the store I make sure every item in that location is checked off before I move onto the next section. This eliminates a lot of walking back and forth which saves time. My goal is to hit each section once and not go back.

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Keep your basket organized. I use a smaller hand held basket inside the larger shopping cart to neatly stack produce. The smaller basket keeps the easily bruised produce from getting squished in the cart and it leaves the real estate in the buggy open for larger, heavier items like flour or laundry detergent so I’m not constantly rearranging stuff.

The carts at my grocery store have a smaller space in the top of the front and I use that for cold items.

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By organizing your cart by food type you can unload it by type at checkout. When you unload by type you make it easier for the person bagging the groceries to keep like items together making the checkout process faster. That’s a win for you and the grocery store!

Though grocery shopping is still a chore at least by being organized I’ve made it as painless as it can be. Yes, most of the time the kids fight and scream and sometimes cry but at least I have a plan and that’s a good place to start!

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Creating a Daily Schedule

We’ve been doing a lot of adjusting around here lately. Evelyn started pre-school earlier this month and though I’ve really enjoyed the little bit of break that only having to care for one child has brought it has really thrown a wrench into my daily schedule. Surprise! I keep a schedule! Okay, not a surprise.

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Being a stay-at-home-mom and a hater of waste, a daily schedule is very natural for me. The kids are already on a schedule – they wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, nap at the same time and go to bed at the same time – everyday. It only makes sense that I integrate my own schedule into theirs.

Even if you’re not doing it intentionally you’re running on a schedule too. You wake up, go to work, eat meals and go to bed at the same time – everyday. All you have to do is expand on it a little. Is there a goal you’re working toward? A project you’d like to complete? A closet you’d like to clean out? Can’t seem to find them time? Schedule it into your day.

For me, I know that if I don’t do something to structure my day by the time I go to bed I’ll have nothing to show for an entire day of life. That’s not cool.

I’ve been keeping the same general schedule for the past year. It worked well for me. Unfortunately, taking Evie to school, having her gone most of the day and picking her up has upended my routine and now I’m not exactly sure how to most efficiently use the time she’s gone. I’m ashamed to say that instead of spending it productively, I’ve spent it at Target. Bad for productivity – worse for my wallet.

Since I found myself thinking a lot about my use of time, I thought it’d take this opportunity to walk you through the process of creating a daily schedule.

The easiest way to plan is to see everything laid out on paper. I always block my hours off using a worksheet that looks like this (for a printable PDF version click here).
Joni's Planner-long day.xlsx

Step 1: Non-Negotiables – Start filling in the things that must get done at very specific times. For example, Alvy’s nap is a non-negotiable so it’s the first thing that gets put on the schedule. Evelyn’s pre-school drop off and pick up are next to go on the schedule. Alvy’s weekly visit with his teacher of the deaf goes on there. Meals are next, then my workouts. These things are priorities. Yes, my workouts are non-negotiable (yours should be too).

Step 2: Flexible Deliverables – Figure out the things that must get done but aren’t on a strict timetable. Chores, for example must be completed but can be done at any time. Blogging, MOMS Club and work for the cemetery all fall in this category for me.  Decide how much time you need to dedicate to these activities during any given week and start blocking them off on your schedule.

Step 3: Flexible Time – See what time is left. Having every minute planned isn’t going to set you up for success. If you have a non-structured day, like me, try to schedule 30 minute breaks if possible to give yourself some time to relax, read a book, etc. These little breaks will help renew your energy for the assigned block of time.

When I’m done laying everything out, it ends up looking like this.

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{Please note: This isn’t my actual schedule. It’s an illustration of how I prioritize my time and lay out my day. However, this is a very good representation of what my real schedule looks like. In the interest of privacy I’m going to keep my real schedule to myself.}

I color coded it because my calendar is color coded and it only makes sense to make the daily schedule match up with my calendar.

Pink – Personal/House Stuff
Red – School Stuff (either child)
Dark Blue – Blog Stuff
Light Blue – Alvy’s Nap
Yellow – Workouts
Purple – MOMS Club Stuff
Green – Cemetery Stuff

If I need to schedule something like doctor’s appointment, play date, etc I will schedule it in the time when allotted for laundry or chores.

The most important take away here is not to stick to your schedule religiously. Much like the meal rotation, use it as a guideline. For example in the few months leading up to the cemetery annual meeting and fundraiser I will do almost nothing but work for the cemetery and only the most important things for my other responsibilities will get done but as soon as that is over I will revert back to my normal routine.

If you find yourself with a lot of unstructured time and your to do list never seems to get any shorter try creating a daily schedule. It can help structure your day and make it more productive. It’s something easy you can do in just a few minutes to start adding some organization to your life – all you have to do is stick to it.

What does your day look like? How do you structure your day?

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organizing the laundry

Organizing the Laundry

organizing the laundryLaundry. No one likes doing laundry.  It’s a pain. It takes forever. It’s never finished. Folding laundry might be the most universally hated household chore in existence.

Fortunately, doing laundry doesn’t have to be the monster we make it out to be. By organizing the laundry and doing it with purpose we can keep keep the laundry monster out of the hamper.

Do laundry often.

As odd as it sounds I’m telling you to do this chore that you hate – more often.

Why? Because laundry that is done often really isn’t that bad. Washing often means smaller loads and smaller loads dry faster, are less daunting and quicker to fold. By washing frequently you give stains less time to set and you don’t need as many clothes.

When you wait until you’re out of clothes, you’re forcing yourself to tackle the laundry all at once because ALL MY UNDERWEAR AND SOCKS ARE DIRTY! You’ve backed yourself into a laundry corner that involves being stuck at home all weekend while you wash, dry and fold 10 loads of laundry all at once. Because if all YOUR socks are dirty, most likely so are everyone else’s.

Remember when I said that intentional living was going to be mentioned often on this blog? Intentional living means being proactive, not reactive. No more putting out fires. Let’s keep the fires from starting in the first place.

When you do laundry before it becomes urgent, you’re choosing to solve a problem before it even becomes one saving yourself the stress of a minor-crisis. If you’re going to be stressed save it for something important, don’t waste it on laundry.

Sort as you go.

Get a sorting hamper and sort as you wear your clothes. By sorting clothes as you go, you can do laundry through out the week, doing a little bit every day. We have a three bin laundry hamper so we sort into three piles: colors, whites and nice clothes. I labeled the bins so it’s clear to everyone in the house what goes in which bin.

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I bought this hamper about 12 years ago and it shows. It’s stained and fraying on the sides. I’ve had to repair it several times but I love it and it works great so I’m sticking with it. When the canvas finally gives out I will probably attempt to make a new one. I love it that much.

Create a laundry schedule.

Plan it according to how you wear your clothes. I have 4 categories of laundry. The three mentioned above and kitchen laundry.  I do one category of laundry each day Monday through Thursday. My number one goal is to have all the laundry done during the work week so I can do something fun on Friday and relax a bit on the weekend.

Sunday: I go upstairs and get the kid’s laundry hampers. I then sort all their clothes in with our clothes so I’ve got laundry prepped for the week. Hampers are then taken back upstairs.

Monday: I wash all the colors on Monday. Sometimes it’s one load, sometimes it’s two. It just depends on how busy we were over the weekend and how many sets of clothes we went through. By washing colors on Monday I make sure that the kids and I have plenty to wear throughout the week and the stinkies from the weekend don’t rot in the hamper.

Tuesday: I wash all the whites. Sometimes one load, sometimes two. It all depends.

Wednesday: Kitchen laundry/catchup from Monday & Tuesday if we were busy. Kitchen laundry is generally a very small load so I try to use this day to do any catch up from Monday and Tuesday if we were busy and I didn’t get a chance to finish my loads those days.

Thursday: Nice clothes, which get divided up into 3 separate loads: light, dark and denim By doing nice clothes on Thursday, my hubby has plenty of clothes to choose from on Monday morning. (He wears jeans on Friday).

Treat stains on the spot.

Find a good stain remover that allows you to pre-treat and leave on the garment (not all pre-treaters allowing letting the garment to set. My favorite is Shout Advance Gel. I keep a spray bottle of this stuff in the sock drawer of my dresser so Jason and I can easily treat our clothes before they even go in the hamper. I also keep a bottle in Alvy’s room (on a very high shelf) so I can do the same when I’m changing him.

Let it go. 

No matter how much laundry gets shoved in the hamper when that category is done for the week, it is DONE. Big fat check mark. Don’t touch it again until the next week. When your spouse comes home and throws a towel in the whites, which you just finished putting away don’t stare daggers his/her way, just take a deep breath. That towel will be there next week.

The same goes for the kid’s clothes. Anything that goes into the hampers after they’ve been emptied on Sunday will have to wait until the next week.

When you start a category, FINISH it.

When I say finish it I mean FINISH IT, including folding it and putting it away before you go to bed. When you wake up in the morning you don’t want to start you day with a pile of laundry staring you in the face. Once you’re behind, you’re BEHIND and catching up is tough. I generally try to start all my loads before noon because I know that if it goes in after noon then most likely it won’t get finished before I go to bed.

Have a folding routine. 

Since folding laundry is right next to having a root canal on my list of things I’d like to do on any given day, I do everything I can to make it as easy as possible.

I fold laundry on our bed. It’s a big flat space and is perfect for spreading everything out. It’s also easy to put away mine and Jason’s clothes if I’m already in the bedroom.

folding routine

I dump the basket full of laundry in the center of the bed. My husband and I have two kids, a boy and a girl which means we have two males and two females in our household so I break up our piles by gender. When I fold I always put the girl’s clothes on the left side of the bed and the boys clothes on the right.  Towels and linens go on my dresser behind me. Folding is much faster if you’re not constantly searching for random piles.

If you don’t have an even boy/girl split you can divide up your piles by age or order of bedrooms. It’s totally up to you. The takeaway here is that when you’re not constantly searching for stacks of clothes folding will go much faster.

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For clothes that need to be hung, I take them out of the dryer immediately and lay them out on our bed in stacks by type of item. I’ll stack up all the shirts, all the shorts and all the pants. Then I count how many hangers I need and come back to put them on hangers. After everything is on hangers I put them in the closet.

I know what you’re thinking, well you stay at home all day so you have a the time to get laundry done. Yes, that’s partially true but even if you work outside the home you can still get one load of laundry done every day. Put it in the washer before you leave for work, put it in the dryer as soon as you get home and fold/put it away after dinner.

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Meal Planning 101

500x750We’ve all been there. It’s 5 pm, you’re exhausted after a long day and staring blankly into the pantry wondering what to make for dinner.

Ugh. Let’s see…I have spaghetti sauce, ranch style beans and chocolate chips. *sigh*

This is the last place anyone wants to be. Your brain is fried from and entire day of decision making, there’s no way you can be expected  to construct something edible. Forget delicious, not gonna happen.

I’ve found myself in this situation more times than I’d care to admit but it didn’t take long to learn that planning our meals in advance is a fairly easy solution. With a meal plan, I know that my family will be fed healthy, home cooked meals every night and it’s cheaper than take out.

I grocery shop once a week, on Monday, so that means planning our weekly meals on Sunday night. When I’m planning I try to keep in mind how long perishable food keeps in the refrigerator and plan accordingly.

I plan the meals whose ingredients spoil quickly earliest in the week (like fresh fish, meats and veggies) by the time we get to Thursday I’m using using what’s left of our fruit and when the weekend finally rolls around I’m digging stuff out of the pantry and eating up the leftovers.

If weekly decision making is holding you back or if meal planning for you is well intentioned but rarely accomplished consider making a recurring meal plan. Sit down with your cookbooks and plan two weeks of meals then rotate through those 14 meals in the same order over and over.

For a long time I would plan different meals each week but recently I created a four week meal plan which I rotate through. I found I didn’t make more than 28 different things anyway and now I don’t have to decide what to make on which day. Now I check the meal plan, double check our schedule for the week to make sure it all fits and and make my list.

Weekly Meal Rotation

I left Saturdays open for going out and Sundays open to allow us to go through leftovers or to try new recipes.

I switch things up occasionally out of need. For example two weeks ago we went out of town on Friday and missed grilling fajitas but we didn’t want to wait an entire cycle to get back to them so instead of going out last Saturday we grilled fajitas instead.

I put the recipes for each of those meals in a notebook, arranged in order by week in my kitchen so it’s easily accessible for cooking. I put each recipe in a page protector (just say no to grease splattered recipes!) and labeled the page protector with the week and day the recipe is used. When I’m ready to switch a recipe out in my notebook I can just remove the old one from the page protector and slide in the new one. No digging for recipes, looking up stuff online or remembering which cookbook it came from. Grab notebook, turn to correct page and go.

weekly rotation recipe notebook

The rotating meal plan is never finished. Just like our food preferences, it changes with the seasons. For example, I know our Friday night grilling session will change when it starts to get colder but that means we can add more soup to the schedule and I LOVE soup.

Creating a recurring meal plan might not be right for you, perhaps you have an erratic schedule or someone in your household travels unpredictability but please give meal planning a try. You’ll be surprised how much more peaceful your evenings become!

What about you, do you use a weekly meal plan? Have you ever tried doing a meal rotation?

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Creating and Keeping a Daily Chore Routine

household choresHousework. Ugh!

Everyone loves a well-kept house but household chores are a beast. The most important chores (laundry! dishes!) need to be done every day. It’s mind melting and discouraging to complete a task knowing you will be forced to do the same thing again tomorrow. Even more frustrating are the tasks with seemingly little visual progress. Emptying the dishwasher anyone?

But what do you do? You create and keep a daily chore routine.

You write a list of chores to do every day at the exact same time to help you maintain control over household chaos. I began using my daily chore routine about 18 months ago and it changed my life. Not exaggerating.

Since some chores are better to be completed at different times of the day I break my daily chore routine into two smaller routines, a morning routine and an evening routine, each of which is designed to make the next 12 hours of my life more successful and less stressful.

Here’s a peek at my routine:RoutineIt doesn’t seem significant but these eight tasks makes a huge difference in the stress level of my day. If even one of them gets skipped the implications are evident for hours. They’re that important.

You can benefit from a daily chore routine too.

Start by asking yourself the question, “What 5-10 things can I do every day to help my household run smoother?” Now, take that list and decide which items are most easily accomplished in the mornings and which ones fit better into the evenings.

MORNING ROUTINE

Your morning routine should take no more than 15 minutes and must be completed before you leave for work/take the kids to school/leave the house to run errands, etc.

Do you work outside the home? Then imagine how you’d like the state of your house to be when you get home. Will it be easier to cook dinner if your sink and dishwasher are already empty? What else can you do in the morning to help your house welcome you home after a hard day at work?

Do you work from home/stay at home with the kids? What can you do to make your day at home easier? Will you be more likely to complete a load of laundry that day if you start one first thing?

Things you might consider adding to your morning routine are:
Unloading the dishwasher
Starting a load of laundry
Making the bed
Feeding the pets
Watering the grass/garden

EVENING ROUTINE

The evening routine is the key to maintaining control over your house. It’s when the meat of the work gets done and if you skimp you will feel it later. Though none of the evening tasks take a considerable amount of time each of them is key to making the next morning stress free and happy.

Things you might consider adding to your evening routine:
Loading/running the dishwasher
Making coffee
Making lunches
Laying out clothes
Picking up main living space
15 minute spot cleaning
Folding/putting away laundry

Evenings are hard for me. After dinner is finished I am mentally done with the day and am ready to relax, which makes the evening routine especially hard to stick with. I’ve come to learn that I need to get most of the “evening routine” completed in the early afternoon to make sure they all get finished.

For example, I make the coffee for the next day while I’m cooking dinner. I try to keep the sink empty during the day and clean my dinner mess as I cook so we’re not burdened with a lot of cleaning afterwards.

STICKING WITH IT

Now that you’ve got a daily chore routine it’s time to stick with it. At first it will be hard and will seem burdensome but give it a couple of weeks. It will become less of a chore and more of a habit and habits are great because they’re done without thinking! It’s hard but it’s worth it!

If you’re still having a hard time sticking with your new routine, try the following:

Make your routine a team effort. Ask for the help and support of whoever else lives in your house, be it a spouse, a roommate or an older child. Over the last 18 months of enforcing our evening routine my husband has learned that neither of us goes to bed until the routine is completed, so he’s more than willing to help. Even the kids have learned that we clean up the den before we go to bed. Everyone can pitch in.

Write them down and check off the boxes! Does it seem silly? Yes but it works! Checking boxes is strangely satisfying so write it all down so you can put a big, fat check mark next to it!

Start Small. If the thought of jumping head first into a daily chore routine is overwhelming then start small. Choose one chore to complete in the morning and one in the evening then add on as you feel you’re ready.

It may seem overwhelming at first but over time it will get easier as your routine becomes habit. You’ll find that when you’re in control of your house, you’re in control of your life.

And nothing beats coming home from a long day to a clean house. NOTHING.

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5 Reasons to Make Your Bed…Everyday

I think it’s appropriate to start this blog the way I start my day.

The first thing I do when I wake up (and zombie-walk to the coffee pot) is make our bed.

Every single morning.

I know what you’re thinking. Why make your bed when you’re just going to get back in it? What’s the point? I know, I know. Hear me out.

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Remember, just for a moment, the last time you spent several nights in a hotel. You’d been out sightseeing all day and you came back to the hotel exhausted wanting nothing more than a shower and a soft place to rest. You opened your door and saw the bed you’d left in tatters earlier that morning was made. The sheets were crisp and the housekeepers lined all your shoes up along the wall in a nice neat row. You felt happy and had a sense of relief that you had a nice clean place to rest. You sank into the soft comfy mattress and all is right in the world.

Why do we reserve this happy, peaceful feeling only for hotel stays? Why can’t we live like this all the time?

We can! I’m not suggesting you hire a housekeeper but we can all put in a little work each morning to have that exact same feeling every single night.

All you have to do is make your bed.

Up until last year the privilege of nice crisp sheets in our house was usually reserved for clean sheet night. Then, one day, for no particular reason, I decided to make the bed and it all changed.

That day, each time I walked in our bedroom I noticed I felt calm, happy and at peace. The change was so profound, so noticable I decided to do it again the next day. And the day after that. I am now a firm believer in the power of a made bed and make it every day.

You should make your bed too. Here’s why.

1. You’re in control. It’s a small task that only takes a minute and it gets your day started off right. When your bed is made, you’re in charge of your day, not the other way around.

2. It’s a gateway to productivity. A made bed inspires you to be more productive in other aspects of your life. If you can make the bed your can conquer the world…or at least the laundry. Yes, I fold laundry on my bed, a task made considerably easier if the covers are all laid out nice and straight.

3. It keeps the sheets clean. For those of us with pets who like our bed as much as we do, a made bed is our first line of defense against pet hair in the sheets.  Dog hair in bed is, in my opinion, its own form of torture.

4. You can’t get back in it! If the bed is made, it tells your brain that sleep time is over and the day has begun. A made bed is closed for business. Now get up, get that coffee and attack your day!

5. The bedroom stays cleaner. A made bed encourages you to pick up other messes in your bedroom. After all, if you can spend three minutes making your bed, you can spend two minutes picking up the dirty clothes off the floor and putting your shoes in your closet. I think we can all agree a clean bedroom is a peaceful place.

I’m not the only person who has figured this out. All it takes is a quick Google search and you’ll quickly see the loads of people who also think making their bed is the key to a successful day.

Tomorrow morning and every morning for the next 30 days I challenge you to make your bed. It’s a habit you won’t regret making!

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