Are the piles of laundry taking over your house… again? Are you finding yourself running to the grocery store for the third time this week because you don’t have what you need to make dinner? Or worse yet, running through the drive-thru? Maybe you woke up to a pile of dishes in your kitchen sink.
After all, we’ve all been there.
No matter how many times we tell ourselves that this time, I’m going to get organized and things will be different, it’s just so easy to slip back into our old habits and then we’re right back where we started.
But, there is one simple secret to making sure that all those routine tasks that have to happen to keep your home, your family and your life running smoothly happen when and how they should.
A secret that eliminates the stress and the overwhelm and helps you crush your to-do list and find more time in your day…
Setting up routines.
Okay, some of you out there are like, “Yes, I love routines!”
But, I can hear the rest of you groan now because, let’s admit it, routines can be boring.
Still, stick with me and I’m going to show you how to set up routines that actually work and help you reach your goals with less stress. And, I’m even going to give you two tips to help take the boring out and inject a little fun into your routines.
I learned this system from the Mom Conference in an interview with Jenny Layton of TheHappyGal.com and let me just tell you right now… It works!
So, here it is the 4 Step PATH to Setting Up Routines that Help You Crush Your To-Do List
Step #1 – The P
The P in Path is for picking a single, specific task.
Think about every routine you ever started that failed. They probably had too big of a goal behind them. For example, you may have decided to organize your entire life – get control of your meals, laundry, bills, yardwork and everything in between all at one time.
It’s like throwing one stone and expecting to hit nine or ten different birds and you miss them all.
It only works when you aim at one specific goal.
So, your first step is to pick just one task you want to automate in your life and write it down right now. It could be the laundry or cooking dinner or even spending time with your kiddos. Just write it down.
Step #2 – The A
This is for assigning the steps.
In other words you’re going to lay out exactly what steps it takes to complete the task you just picked.
Like if you wanted to set up a routine for doing dishes, you would set out step one as gathering them all from the dinner table. Step two would be rinsing them off. Step three would be loading the dishwasher and so forth.
Yes, I know it sounds mundane but if you think about something that’s not working in your life, it’s probably because there’s some part of those steps that’s not super clear – maybe you’re mixing up the steps or skipping one of them all together.
When you know exactly what steps you have to do to complete the task, you have a better chance of finishing it.
This is a great step to practice with your kids too!
If you’ve ever given them a task to do and come back to find it still not done, it’s probably because they were confused about the steps it took to get there.
So, when you give them a task, lay out each step in order that they have to complete to be successful.
Step #3 – The T
This step is for picking the right time to complete the routine. And, remember, the key is to pick a time that will actually work for you.
As an example, if you want to start exercising, you may think that you need to get up early to exercise before you take the kids to school.
But, if you’re not a morning person, this routine isn’t going to work for you in the long run and you’ll quit.
If you want a routine to last long-term, look at your energy rhythms and what’s worked in the past and pick a time that best fits you.
And, make sure to actually pick a time!
Don’t just say, “I’ll do it every day.” That’s a recipe for failure.
Set a specific time and make an appointment with yourself.
Step #4 – The H
This is for creating a habit hook.
Basically, you have a lot of things that you already do each day – that are already habits – and you want to tie your new routine to one of these habits.
Think about it…
You already eat breakfast each day, change into your pajamas and brush your teeth.
All you need to do is link your new habit (the routine you’ve set up) to an old, already established habit.
So, if you want to get in a routine of going through your mail so that bills don’t pile up on you, you can link that routine to eating breakfast and open the mail each morning while you eat your cereal.
Okay, now that we’ve gone through the four steps to setting up successful routines to help you check off everything on your to-do list each day, let’s take a look at what you can do to make those routines less of a yawn…
Two Tips to Make Your Routines More Fun So That You’ll Stick to Them
Tip #1 – The first thing to remember with any routine is that they have to allow for some flexibility. When they are completely rigid, they are more boring!
Remember that your routines are there to serve you. You’re not there to serve your routines.
So, every once in a while give yourself a break from those everyday routines to decompress and then get back into the groove.
Tip #2 – The next key to taking the boring out of your routines is to figure out a way to add in a little fun.
When I fold my laundry, I put on music and dance around the living room – otherwise I’d never get it done.
You could use music like me, put on your favorite show on Netflix, talk to your mom or sis on the phone or listen to a podcast you love.
Whatever you choose to put the fun back into your routine is up to you – adding in something you enjoy will help keep you from resenting those routine tasks.
Well, that’s a wrap.
Those are the four steps to creating routines that actually work, help you get more done each day, crush your to-do list and reach your goals.
To make it simple, I’ve created a free printable you can download here to help you identify the routines you want to create, set up your steps for success, pick a habit to hook them too so that you can start strong and put a little fun into what could otherwise become mundane.
Hope it helps you on your journey!
If you want to really take control of your day and kick the stress of your to-do list to the curb, don’t forget to check out this post on How to Get More Done – The 4 Steps to Avoid Overwhelm and Find More Time in Your Day.
And, as always I wish you a strong family, optimal health and smart incomes,