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Routine isn’t a dirty word

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

As you start this week, don’t forget the cousin to just-do-the-thing-in-front-of-you. It’s called The Routine. Some people love them, some people hate them. Me? I’m somewhere in the middle.

There are times when the thought of routine gives me hives, because I do thrive on change and new situations. I see the adventure in the curve ball. But if I’m really honest, I know the majority of my days depend on a routine, and for that, I’m grateful they exist.

So as you focus on the present, the things right in front of you asking for attention, notice how they might actually be part of your routine already, a natural rhythm your life organically follows. And then call it what it is—a much-needed routine to your day. Do you have the courage to start the habit of a regular morning routine? Or maybe an evening routine? Mid-day, when the kids are napping or when brain fog naturally hits?

tea and chocolate

Look at your day, and notice its patterns. Then call it “a routine,” and see how the rest of your week feels if you make the effort to follow that routine every day. Shower, make the bed, coffee, journal, gratitude list could be a perfectly reasonable morning routine. (I find about five things comprise a routine.) Cup of tea, clean the kitchen, brain dump for tomorrow, take vitamins, and free reading could be evening. You get the idea.

So as you start this week, notice your natural patterns, and don’t be afraid of adding routine to your life. It might be just the thing you need to keep your feet on the ground when life calls out in a million different directions. It’ll help you feel more in control of your day.

(Psst… I talk about adding a morning and evening routine to your days in One Bite at a Time, if you’re curious.)

Do you have any sort of routine to your day?

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Comments

  1. Like you Tsh, I enjoy a mixture of routine and ‘go with the flow’. But I do find to get anything done I need a routine for my overall week. So on Mondays, I’ll make sure I do my laundry; Tuesday is food shopping, Wednesday ironing, Thursday cleaning downstairs etc. I’ll spend the mornings getting things done, but leave that after lunch, pre-school run time just for the things that I love doing: scrapbooking, reading or catching up on my favourite programmes – and blogs!

  2. Your “just do the thing in front of you” (and God’s grace) saved the last week for me! :-)

    I have a morning routine–get up, coffee, read, exercise, shower, but your post makes me want to try being more intentional about thinking through routines for starting the home school day, and for evening. Short routines are probably reassuring and lessen stress.

  3. It is so funny that you’ve posted this today. This weekend I took a few minutes to evaluate the routines/systems I have in place and I realized things are out of whack. Without realizing it, I’ve made social media a higher priority than I’d like it to be. This week, I’m focusing on revamping the rhythm of my day so I can get the “business” of motherhood completed a little more efficiently.
    NJ @ A Cookie Before Dinner´s latest post: On Picking Battles- Aka Malone Asked For A Warhead For Breakfast

  4. Tsh,

    Great to see a post about routines as we enter (what can be) the “most craziest” time of the year. I put a lot of time into advocating for ritual and routine, specifically with children and families, but save little time to implement these things in my own life. Your post is a good reminder about the importance of doing so.

    Be well and enjoy your week,
    Katie
    Katie´s latest post: Let us begin.

  5. I’m a big fan of rhythm and routine, they really keep me sane. I had to change my routine somewhat when by baby girl arrived and after many tweaks finally have a morning routine that is ensuring we’re both up, washed, dressed and fed before 9.30am! Result!
    Jessica´s latest post: My Family Treasure Hunt

  6. Routines/schedules used to really freak me out and make me feel inhibited. But, in the last few years we’ve had so many changes and transitions in our family, that structure has become more appealing to me. I need to add space for a few more healthy things into my morning routine, though – vitamins, journaling/prayer and some exercise.
    Sharon´s latest post: Mercies along the way…{entry no. 31}

  7. Yeah, I have a serious love/hate relationship with routine as well. I know I thrive on having at least a modicum of structure to my day, yet I fight it tooth and nail. It’s one of my biggest frustrations about myself. I like the advice to look at your natural patterns/rhythms and form a “routine” around that. I just have to resist the urge to then get all anal and write it down on a schedule spreadsheet, as if that will somehow magically make me stick to it. :)
    Annie´s latest post: 5 Big Fat Lies About Parenthood

  8. I love the idea of adding such pleasant things to your routine…cup of coffee, free reading. They would be great motivators to get through the mundane tasks on the list. I think I’ll give it a try this week.

  9. Absolutely! Our family has a morning, afternoon, and evening routine. The afternoon routine is the most flexible. No matter how hectic life gets, we fall back into sync when we hit our routine. As the processes are now automatic, our routines are like hitting the reset button on life. Thanks for the post!
    Tracy @ Using Time Wisely´s latest post: Establishing an Afternoon Routine

  10. I consciously rebelled against routine for a long time – probably due to having a Mom that always did certain things on certain days. Then as I had my own children I grew to learn how important routine (or habit) is. Kids thrive on routine. And for me it has meant less decision making, I don’t have to think about it (which can lead to procrastination), I just do it. This has helped tremendously in forming a running habit/routine. It’s in the diary, I do it, I don’t think about it.
    Jo@simplybeingmum´s latest post: Simple Christmas Gifts – Contain It

  11. With 10 out of our 11 children still at home, YES!! Our kids at home range in age from 6 months to 14, so our house would be chaos without some sort of routine. I don’t schedule every part of our day, but meals, chores, and bedtime are at the same time everyday, and our homeschool activities are done in the same order everyday. Praise God for routines or this Mommy would go just a little crazy!

  12. Routine is not a dirty word to me…Routine keeps me sane.
    Lisa´s latest post: Trials and Faith {Miguel’s Missionary Moment}

  13. I find having a morning routine grounds me for the rest of the day. I need time before the rest of the family gets up to write and find my brain. For those of you that write in the morning, Juila Cameron’s suggestion for morning pages is lovely.
    Kelly Sage´s latest post: Give Away! Max and Ruby in the Nutcracker Suite Coming to Indy

  14. I love my routine. I feel like the day just goes more smoothly with the kids if they know what to expect. There are some days though that I just have to though the routine out the window and have a “free” day. Those days just feel special for some reason.
    Tanya´s latest post: Three Key Characteristics of a Smart Social Media Policy

  15. Hmm. I wanted to say that I was a mix of routine and go with the flow – but if I actually think about, my routines are very loose. The only things that seem to be super routine is that I work out first thing in the morning and then come home and have coffee and breakfast with the family. Our lunch and dinner is fairly routine in that we always eat as a family. But everything else in our day is go with the flow. The joys of having non-school aged kids, I suppose. I am kind of dreading the day that we’re the slave of school schedules….it makes me consider home schooling…for a minute anyway :)
    Jessica´s latest post: Shopping with ThredUP

  16. The busier I get, the more I rely on routine to accomplish everything I need to get done. But I also find I am less spontaneous the older I get. There is something beautiful in the unexpected that keeps life fresh. I don’t want to grow into one of those people that rely so rigidly on routines that they stumble when life opens the door to the unexpected. That being said, I like your idea of standing back and evaluating routines to see what is already a part of life–what is working, what is not. I have a feeling there are some routines that could be tweaked in my life.
    Sara W.´s latest post: The Gift of Faith in Hard Times

  17. Thank you so much for this post, Tsh! I’ve been thinking about it since I read it late on Sunday night & have been successful in following a morning routine a whopping 2 days in a row now…Like others have said, I feel more grounded, and better able to tackle the day with my little guy.
    Kate´s latest post: Thankful for Outdoor Families Instagram Contest!

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