The Power of Routines

As I usually do in the fall, I’ve found myself evaluating my life; where I’m at, where I want to be, and how my intentions can create something amazing or cause things to remain in the “some day” category. I’ve been watching some YouTubers talk about trying new routines, bullet journals, and how building simple things into your daily life can free up time, mind space, and creative potential. And it occurred to me that while I do have routines in my life, I also live quite hap-hazardously, which results in procrastination, lack of productivity, and a lot of wasted time. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is so therapeutic to sit and do nothing. I recently spent a whole weekend locked up in my house in my pajamas reading, cooking, and sleeping. And nothing else. It was glorious and much needed. But the rest of the time, I waste a lot of time and potential, without any goals or intention. And I have come to believe that it is robbing me of progress.

Basically, I’m tired of coasting. So I recently decided to create a daily schedule for myself, with specific tasks scheduled for specific times. I also set a few small goals for daily life to help educate me on myself and foster personal growth. I’ve also started a bullet journal (which is for another post) and am hoping this will also help keep me organized and motivated.

To start off, I created a small list of a few things I want to incorporate into my life. These are things I’ve been saying I want to start for years, things I think will be beneficial to me in some way, and things I say I don’t have time for, but really are just procrastinated. These things include yoga, meditation, drinking more water, specific time for a rotation of activities (reading, TV, projects, and puzzles), and restrictions on social media/electronics/phone time.

I also determined that I need to watch what I’m eating. While I’m currently eating a healthy, plant-based diet 90% of the time or more, I don’t think I’m eating a well-balanced or nutritionally well-rounded diet; I’m worried I’m not getting the full range of nutrients I really need. So I set myself the task of tracking my food so I can meal plan smartly and make sure my body is getting what I need. I also set a goal for 3 cups of straight water daily, 2 first thing in the morning and 1 right before bed. I already try to stick with water and tea at work, but I still don’t feel like I’m adequately hydrated. Fitting water in first and last thing will help me get better at my water intake. I’ve also decided to limit myself to 1 alcoholic drink per night. I usually have a beer with dinner, but the last few nights I’ve ended up having 2-3 which isn’t ideal on a regular basis.

I set up the schedule starting with my work day. This is a concrete constant that I can’t really change (yet). Then I built my morning and evening routine around this. If I have to be at work by 8:30 am and I want to get a yoga session, some mediation, and a solid breakfast in before then, what time do I need to wake up? I determined 6 am. Which hurts, but I figure it shouldn’t be as bad once I’m in the routine and as long as I’m getting enough sleep. Enough sleep for me is 8 hours, which means I need to be in bed passing out by 10 pm. This gives me 4.5 hours, give or take, once I’m home from work for all of the other things. I’ll include my exact, detailed schedule below. They key is to prioritize, be realistic, but also challenge yourself.

Some of the other things I incorporated are a wake up shower in the morning and a relaxation shower or bath in the evening. Nothing super long, but I find water to be very therapeutic and I enjoy it. I built in time for fixing dinner and any other meal prep I need for the next day, so that I can be intentional with my meals and reduce the stress of not knowing what I’m going to eat. I also built in time for cleaning my kitchen and other household tasks that I like to do throughout the week. It prevents chores from piling up and being overwhelming on the weekend.

One of the most important time blocks for me is the time set aside for projects and personal things, like reading, watching a TV show, or working on a jigsaw puzzle. There are so many things I enjoy doing in my “spare time” and I frequently feel like I never have enough time to do all of them. This is true in one respect: I enjoy too many things to spend my desired amount of time on each of them. However, it isn’t true in that if I were more intentional and scheduled with the time I do have, I would probably be able to fit in enough of each on a regular basis to feel satisfied. I have about 2 hours set aside for these things each day of the work week. This time slot is also for projects, if needed. And my rule is that the projects can take priority, but only every other night. This goes back to my recent post about self care. If I prioritize projects every night, I wouldn’t have time for the self care things. But if I don’t prioritize projects they won’t get done. One example project I have in the near future is Thank You cards for my wedding. Once I receive the cards, the plan is to work on them for either half or all of the 2 hours every other night, depending on how productive I am. That way I can still choose to read a book or watch a few episodes of my current TV show on the alternating nights. This will keep me feeling productive and happy.

Obviously there will be things that come up that interrupt this routine, and that’s okay. I’m headed to Seattle next week for a night, which means I probably won’t follow my routine those 2 days I’m traveling. But I can still incorporate certain things here and there as I have time. One day next week I have an appointment right after work, so my evening routine will alter slightly. The point is to balance. Be strict with yourself the majority of the time and hold yourself to your routines, schedules, and goals. But know when to be flexible and have grace with yourself. Life happens and things change. You have to cultivate the ability to go with the flow.

Here is my schedule moving forward:

6:00 am – Wake up. And I can’t snooze the alarm.

6:10 am – Drink a glass of water and start yoga. I’m using Yoga With Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga to start with.

7:00 am – Drink another glass of water and settle in for meditation. Since I’m still exploring meditation, I’m using the app Headspace. They get bonus points because the guide is British. I’m liking it so far.

7:20 am – Shower. Bonus points if I can take a cold one. Besides waking you up, getting the blood flowing, etc., starting cold like that can actually affect your body’s ability to stay warmer throughout the day. Ask Pat. I’m always cold.

7:30 am – Out of the shower and getting ready for work.

8:00 am – Breakfast and prep for the day. I make sure I have lunch planned and take a look at my bullet journal to check for important appointments or to-do’s for the day that I need to be mindful of.

8:20 am – We leave for work.

8:30a – 5p – Work.

5:15 pm – Home from work and starting dinner. This is also the time I spend doing any other cooking, baking, or meal prep.

6 – 6:30 pm – Any other chores or household to-do’s. This time is for a load of laundry, tidying up, or cleaning a room of the house.

6:30p – 8:30p – This time is set aside for me, either to read a book, watch a TV show, work on a puzzle, etc. Also projects.

8:30 p – 9 p – Shower or bath, and get ready for bed. Drink another glass of water.

9:00 pm – All electronics get turned off and phone gets switched to Do Not Disturb.

9 p – 9:30 p – Bullet journal and other journaling. I also drink a cup of hot water with 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) and 1 Tbsp of honey. Good for my gut and actually very calming. And more honey if the cider is too strong. You could also add a caffeine free herbal tea as well.

9:30 p – 10 p – Meditation and stretching.

10:00 pm – Lights out and bed time.

Between 9 and 10 pm I can watch B Is For Build with Pat. We usually watch this together once we are both in bed. This is the only exception to the no electronics after 9 pm rule because it falls into the category of quality time with my hubs.

I haven’t yet figured out my routine for the weekend. I’m torn between the wisdom of sticking with the same thing every day (sleep cycle, etc.) and knowing that I just don’t want to get up at 6 am on the weekends. Weekends are also for grocery shopping, blogging prep, larger cleaning projects, and other fun things. But I will definitely schedule in a yoga session every day as well as meditation.

I’ve only just started this, so will keep you posted on the progress. Day 1 went really well and I noticed a difference in my overall mood and energy level. We will see if it keeps up. I really think it is important to structure your life with intention. If schedules aren’t your thing, at least set intention for every day. Make goals and accomplish them. It will bring you fulfillment in life, boost your mood and productivity, and allow you to continually grow and advance.



Currently drinking: Lots of water.

Currently reading: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton


Whitney View All →

Hello! I’m Whitney and this is my home for all things food and life.

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