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What if I told you there was a way to stop feeling like you are drowning in work and daily tasks? Would it be even better if it were easy? Believe me, I know what if feels like to be drowning in life and on the edge of burnout all too well. It was on one of these occasions that I got the best advice anyone could give me as a new mom.
It was just about a year after my son was born. I was working 10 hour days as a waitress at least 4 days a week and 8 hour days for 2 other days in the week.
At the same time, I was trying to get my Etsy shop going, trying to keep up on my chores and errands, and trying to get in whatever time I could with my son.
I was absolutely drowning and headed towards serious burnout. Self care was non existent, I had just gotten through postpartum depression, and my husband was doing the best he could to support me.
Something had to change and quickly.
I called my mom, the woman who worked full time, raised me, homeschooled me, ran a business with my dad, and managed to keep her home spotless.
She said, “Crystal, you need a routine.”
This seemed impossible to me. How could I set up a routine when I didn’t know what my schedule would be each week?
I Need A Schedule For My Life
I went to my boss and I told them I needed a set schedule. Luckily for me, at the time, my boss was pretty understanding on why I needed this set schedule and we worked together to figure out a schedule that worked.
With a set work schedule in place and a couple days off, I got to work on setting a routine.
My routine has been a complete lifesaver. I get more work done each day, my housework gets done, and I rarely feel like I am overwhelmed or getting close to burnout.
Setting a routine is crucial for busy moms no matter if they work at home, at a job, or don’t have a job. We are all busier now than we have ever been and it’s going to stay this way for a few years.
Setting ourselves up with a daily routine helps us to keep our sanity while giving us more time for taking care of ourselves. Because if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you will burnout and be unable to care for anyone else. You are a priority too.
Check out my post Lower Your Expectations and Get More Work Done.
Good Daily Routines
A good daily routine should help you accomplish your tasks, make you feel good about the day, and give you time for yourself. There needs to be joy in your daily routine or you risk facing burnout.
While each individual’s routine might have slight differences the set up is actually quite easy.
What To Expect
When creating any routine there will be a period of adjustment. If a routine isn’t working out for you, switch it up and try again.
It’s ok to have a routine that isn’t exactly the same every single day. I actually highly recommend this. By identifying weekly tasks your routine can revolve around those instead of all the little stuff we do.
Additionally, having a routine does not mean that you absolutely need to stick to it every single day. This leaves no room for spur of the moment things that you or your family will enjoy.
Check out my post The Morning Routine of A Work At Home Mom.
Panda Days Are Crucial
A Panda Day is a day where you do nothing but eat, play, and relax. Just like an actual Panda. If you don’t like Panda’s (which who doesn’t like panda’s?) You can substitute any lazy animal.
Once every couple of months but no more than once a month declare a Panda day. Do not schedule it. Reserve these “vacation days” for a day where you just really don’t feel like doing anything at all.
Making a Daily Routine
Now that you know what to expect, how flexible you can be, and you have an understanding about the idea of Panda Days – you can start making your daily routine.
3 Daily Tasks
First, write down all of your weekly tasks. I’m not talking little tasks, only the tasks that involve effort or a devotion of time to. These are task you don’t necessarily enjoy doing but are necessary to complete. Work would be classified as one task.
Group them in threes, one hard, one medium, and one light task.
Pick 4 Fun Tasks
Next, write down some of the things you like to do. These can be as small as drinking a hot cup of coffee in the morning to spending 30 minutes watching your favorite TV show.
You will create four groups and label them 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 Minutes. Now put your fun tasks in it’s corresponding fun grouping. These fun tasks are going to break up your day to make it more enjoyable.
I recommend picking two daily tasks that are geared towards self care. Self care is more than just a beauty routine, it’s taking care of your physical and mental well-being too.
Check out my post 20 Self Care Ideas That Take 20 Minutes Or Less.
Decide your Wake Up Time and Bedtime
Then, you will decide when you will wake up and when you will shut down for the night. Setting a wake up time is a bit easier than setting a bedtime. Especially if you are like me and get these bursts of productivity around 9pm.
There are many a nights that I will look at the clock realize it’s after midnight and I’m still wide awake. Sometimes I go with it and deal with being a bit tired the next day – but I don’t recommend doing this often.
Try to pick a time close to your natural wake up time. Mine is 7 am. This means I can start my day without an alarm.
For a bedtime I usually go with 10 pm. Like I mentioned previously that doesn’t always happen. However, this is a great time for me to shut everything down and start relaxing for the night.
Your First Task
Start your day off right with a fun task from your 5 minute group. Everyday my first fun task is drinking a cup of coffee while I check the previous day’s stats on my business.
Yours can be whichever fun task you have picked. This allows you to wake up, get organized, and get your brain moving. Additionally, starting your day off right with a fun relaxing task can help direct the day in a positive direction.
Check out my post How To Be More Positive.
Break Up Your Day
Alternate your daily tasks between the fun stuff and not so fun stuff based on when you are best at certain tasks.
For me, after that cup of coffee I get daily chores done. I clean up the kitchen, start a load of laundry, and maybe vacuum or dust. This gets my house right so I’m not sitting at my desk trying to work thinking about the full sink of dishes downstairs.
After my chore I do a 10 or 15 minute fun thing. It’s like my reward for getting my house picked up each morning.
Then I tackle work.
I alternate between the fun stuff and the hard tasks so that I have something to look forward to after I am finished with the hard stuff. It’s a great way to break up the day while still feeling accomplished.
Why This Works
There is no one routine that will work for everyone. Just like with personalities routines are going to vary.
With that said, using this method to plan your routine allows for major productivity. Due to the possibility of interruption if I have a day where I am interrupted a lot, the three hour work period is extremely helpful.
That 3 hour period where I might be interrupted for a few minutes every half hour is still an extremely productive time period. Your time period may be shorter though I don’t recommend going any longer. Adjust as needed.
Another reason why this works is because you are forcing yourself to have some fun throughout the day. That fun time really helps to reduce the stress in your life. It helps to reset your mind so that the rest of your day goes as smoothly as possible.
Check out my post The Efficient Cleaning Schedule.
Daily Routine Worksheet
Since lowering my expectations on how much work I would get done every day and incorporating this type of routine, I have seen a drastic improvement to my productivity. I am able to attend to my child’s needs while still encouraging independence for him and getting work done in the process.
Grab this morning routine worksheet that will help you to set up your entire daily routine. Fill it out in the morning or the night before just make sure that you schedule in some fun.
Do you have a routine that works well for you? Leave a comment below letting me know. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your productivity boards.
- The Morning Routine Of A Work At Home Mom
- 3 Steps To Setting Goals You Can Reach
- Lower Your Expectations And Get More Done
- 10 Habits Of Highly Motivated People