Creating Routines for Success

I started thinking about my New Year’s Resolution several weeks ago. I have a lot of stuff to do in a day and sometimes it feels like the day gets away from me and I haven’t done anything. I’m chronically late for appointments and work, my bedroom is a disaster zone (Jenny’s post yesterday has me inspired, so more on this to come), I never know what to wear in the morning, I forget to pack my lunch as if I’m not going to get hungry mid-day and I’m always, always, always halfway through an art or craft, blog post or sewing project. It’s exhausting. It’s disappointing. It is time to stop the madness. What I need is a nice set of routines: morning, evening and Sunday night.

I found my first bit of inspiration in the blog post Bookend Your Day: The Power of Morning and Evening Routines by Brett and Kate McKay. The authors offer an analogy that makes great sense to me. “Imagine a string with a series of beads on it. The beads represent your goals, relationships, and priorities. Tip the string this way or that way, and the beads easily slide off and onto the floor. But tie a knot on each end of the string, and the beads stay put. Those knots are your morning and evening routines. They keep the priorities of your life from falling apart and thus help you progress and become a better [person].”

In planning for these new routines, I turned to a piece I read and shared to Facebook recently, How Barack Obama Gets Things Done by Sean Blanda. As busy as I think I am, the President is a zillion times busier and he makes stuff happen. His healthy habits for productivity include:

1. Get a head start on your day the night before (that way you’re already ahead when you wake up).
2. Limit decision fatigue (he doesn’t ever decide what he eats or wears).
3. Shut out your critics (I must figure out how to silence the critic within).
4. Exercise (if the Pres can make 45 minutes in the AM for cardio, maybe I can too).
5. Your personal time is sacred (his moments are gym time, family dinner, and quiet time at night).

I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and be a changed woman. Imagining I’ll move from chaos to order with the flip of a calendar page is the sure path to disastrous failure. Instead, I’m going to start with small changes and work from there. In 2014 I resolve to be to work on time, put together (including makeup), and happily sipping from a reusable mug coffee that I made myself and prepped the night before. Piece by piece I will build upon my successes and create morning and evening routines for myself that will nurture my success and keep my priorities a priority.

Do you make resolutions? Do you have any for 2014? The Wilderness Girls would love to hear about them, so please share. Happy New Year!

4 Responses to “Creating Routines for Success”

  1. I am with ya, sister! I am usually better organized and a great planner but for some reason 2013 was a mess for me! I plan to get back on the RIGHT track! Cheers to success for the New Year for you!

    • Rachael says:

      There’s a part of me that resists routine because she wants to be a creative free spirit. There’s another part of me that resists routine because it takes effort and she would rather be watching Netflix, There’s still another part of me – the part that organizes the pantry so all the labels face forward – that craves order. In 2013, the part that craves order got trampled by the big dreamer and the couch potato.

      Good luck in your quest to get back on track. We’ll have to check in from time to time to see how the other is doing.

      Thanks for reading and take care,
      Rachael

  2. I don’t have resolutions this year. (That’s actually a big deal for a perfectionist Ike me!) But I have been working a lot on routines. I used to focus on scheduling, and then I realized if you have a routine for your day/week/year, there’s a whole bunch of things you don’t have to figure out how to fit in because they already have a place in your normal rhythms. Changes like these aren’t easy. I hope you’ll keep us updated on how things go for you!

    • Rachael says:

      That’s a great point and just the thing I was hoping for. I need a few basics to run on “auto pilot” so I can accomplish the bigger, more important things that compete for my attention.

      As for an update – so far so good, but it’s only the 9th! I think the thing that’s made the biggest difference so far is planning my and my daughter’s outfits the night before. It saves me from two or three outfit changes in the morning. And, since I’m planning the evening before it gives me time to be more thoughtful about accessories or mix things up in new ways. Keep checking back for more updates – you’ll keep me dedicated!

      Thanks for reading and take care,
      Rachael

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