How to Build a Routine that Works for You

Now that the busy fall season is approaching full steam ahead, most of us are also heading back into a busy routine after summer breaks or vacations.  Homework, sporting events, social clubs, and new part-time jobs often accompany us into September.  A successful, smooth-running day, week, and month is built upon an organized schedule that works for both you and your family.

An excellent way to get started on setting up a new schedule is to write down everything that needs to be done.  First, break down daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and insert them into a time slot that makes sense in your paper or electronic planner.  Then you can repeat it to occur regularly in your planner.  That way, there are no surprises when you glance at your upcoming week or month ahead.  For example:

Daily tasks

reading, walking the dog, tidying up kitchen/bathroom, studying, writing, working, personal hygiene, meal preparation.

Weekly tasks

Taking out garbage and recycling, laundry, planning weekly menus, writing major assignments, music practice, weeding and lawn maintenance, meeting with counselor, gym training, yoga classes, grocery shopping, attending social gatherings.

Monthly tasks

Parent meetings, cooking large portions for freezing, vehicle maintenance, doctor appointments, monthly home maintenance.

Next, consider what must be scheduled every morning, daytime, and evening.  Then, choose what you can move around to do at the ideal time of day that works for you.  Later, if you realize doing something in the morning, like exercise, isn’t really working for you, change it to evenings and see if that works better.  A schedule should never be written in stone and must remain flexible as lifestyles inevitably change over time.

The main thing is to not stress when you cannot adhere exactly to your schedule.  Try and think of it as a guideline rather than a rigid schedule that must be followed at all times.  There will be times when life throws a wrench into your best laid plans and you will have to let go of some things.  Just remember you can get back to them later.

If you require more help, a few apps to investigate online are Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook.  There are many more available depending on your specific needs, such as calendars you can share with family members to keep you all on the same page.

Another great tip is to delegate to others.  Children gain a great deal of satisfaction and skills when they’re given regular chores to complete around the house, like doing their own laundry or making their own sandwiches for lunches.  Trusting others with responsibilities can also create a solid foundation of respect for one another, as well as a sharing of the burden.

Creating routine as a regular habit also gives most people a sense of control and stability in an often chaotic world.  When you lay your head on your pillow at the end of the day, you can thank yourself for getting all those little things taken care of and be grateful for the time it gives you to focus on the bigger things, like achieving that degree, spending quality meals together with family, and training for the next big marathon.