A Clean Life: Your Daily Routines

 

Okay, now that you’ve had a few days to think about your “whys” for wanting a Clean Life (You did write those down, right? If not, take a moment to scoot over to the “Why” post and give it a quick think.), it’s time to take the bold step of creating your daily Morning and Evening Routines. (Woot!)

In my opinion, there is nothing more important to a clean, smooth, peaceful life than Morning and Evening Routines. Nothing.

And I have really good news about the routines! They’re not nearly as dreadful as they sound…neat! You don’t even have to call them routines. You can call them “Morning Fun-Fun Do Stuff Time” and “The Evening Here I Go Moment” if you prefer…or, you know, whatever you come up with. 😉

What you call them doesn’t matter a bit. What matters is doing them.

But what are these routines???

Read on, and I promise to explain…and don’t fret a bit because morning and evening routines are simple and easy and satisfying…and mostly made up of stuff that you’re already doing anyway.

 

 

Your Morning Routine

 

Your Morning Routine should simply consist of the things that you need to do each morning to feel prepared for the day…and I don’t mean in a flying-out-the-door-with-toilet-paper-stuck-to-your-shoe-and-microwaved-eggs-splattered-on-your-shirt kind of way. I mean actually prepared in a way that you feel calm about facing your day and confident that you haven’t left a disaster in your wake. 🙂

Now here’s where things get a wee bit tricky. I can’t tell you what your Morning Routine should look like. That is going to vary like mad from one person to the next. I’m a stay-at-home stepmom with a blog and a small business…who takes care of a teenager and a husband. Your situation may vary wildly, and so will your routines. That is so, so okay! Embrace and cater to your reality.

What I can tell you is that a Morning Routine, done correctly, will bring peace and calm to the start of your day.

So, let’s talk about the “rules,” shall we? (There aren’t many.)

 

  1. Make sure the things that have to be done are top priority. (Things like basic hygiene and packing lunches.)
  2. Be realistic and concise. Keep your routine limited to those things that actually improve the flow and functioning of your day. Unless you get up hours before you have to head out/start your day, you should probably leave “read 10 chapters of nonfiction” and “do 14 loads of laundry” out of this.
  3. This is sort of the same as the previous rule, but it’s worth emphasizing: Don’t overplan your morning. If you get up 20 minutes before you have to be out the door, make sure your routine can be accomplished in 15 minutes…or maybe consider getting up just a tiny bit earlier. 😉
  4. Write it down. Write. It. Down. Write. It. Down. Write. It. Down.

 

Now, I know I said that your routine will not look the same as mine, but I thought it might be handy to see an example, so I’m going to share my morning routine with you. Other than the packing lunches bit, these are the things I do every single day.

  • Make the bed.
  • Walk, feed, and water Frank. (He’s the dog…not a human…I’m not that weird.) 😉
  • While I’m walking Frank, I look at my calendar, check my email, and check Grace’s school website.
  • Start a load of laundry. (I finish tending to it later in the day.)
  • Take my vitamins.
  • Pack Grace’s lunch. (And John’s on Thursdays…that’s the day he goes in to the office each week.)
  • Prep for dinner. (If something needs taken out of the freezer or put in the crock pot, this is the time I do it. Otherwise I just feel secure in the knowledge that I have a plan for dinner.)
  • Empty the dishwasher.
  • Sweep & mop. (I know, I know! I can just hear you all gasping and sputtering about me sweeping and mopping every day…and first thing in the morning! Let me explain. We have an odd house with tile floors in most of the family spaces…even the living room. If that floor doesn’t get swept, it is a hot mess. And by “mop,” I mean I do a quick zoom around to hit any dirty spots. The whole sweeping and mopping process only takes me about 5 minutes, I swear!)
  • Quick clean the bathrooms. (Okay, I think I heard that collective gasp again. I do spend about 5 minutes each morning wiping down the bathroom counters and cleaning the toilets…but it’s nice to have the bathrooms always clean…and it really only takes a very few minutes.
  • Get dressed and ready. (This is where I do things like put on non-pajamas and brush my hair and stuff.)

It might sound like a lot, but the entire process takes me less than 45 minutes. Since I get up about two hours before I leave to take Grace to school, this still leaves me over an hour for plinking around and drinking coffee in the morning. Not bad. Not bad at all.

 

 

Your Evening Routine

 

The reasoning behind the Evening Routine is very similar to the Morning Routine, but it’s more about being ready to gracefully conquer the next day. 🙂

The rules are also the same, so I’ll just remind you to keep your routine quick and realistic…and write it down. Write it down!

And, again, I’ll share my routine as an example, but please remember that this is about your life and what will make your life run smoothly.

 

  • After dinner, I tidy the kitchen. (Put away leftovers, wipe the counters, run the dishwasher, and whatnot.)
  • Prepare the coffee for the next day. (I set that puppy to start brewing at 6:00 am….mmmmm, coffeeeeeee.)
  • Put on my jammies, brush my teeth, wash my face…that kind of stuff.
  • Pick my clothes for the next day.
  • Check my calendar.
  • Gather everything I need for the next day and put it on the table by the door. (Library books, items to be donated or returned, notebooks for PTSO meetings…whatever I need for the days adventures.)

 

This whole process takes about 15 minutes.

 

 

Play to Your Strengths

Okay, now I just have one more thing I want to share with you about Morning & Evening Routines…

We are all different. Some of us are morning people and some of us are evening people. Play to your strengths. If you’re worthless in the morning, embrace that and give yourself the bare minimum of a Morning Routine…you would probably be much better served by a stronger Evening Routine. If, like myself, you’re a morning person, go light on the Evening Routine. (You may notice that my Evening Routine is much shorter than my Morning Routine…and that’s because I’m lucky to be awake and functioning by 10:00 pm. I actually get all of my Evening Routine knocked out right after dinner so I can peacefully stop being a functioning human after about 8:00.) 🙂

Work with yourself, not against yourself!

 

 

Your Homework: Plan Your Routines

 

Open up your Clean Life journal (whatever you chose), and write down your routines.

Write them down.

Write. Them. Down.

Write. Them. Down.

It will only take a few minutes to record your routines, but it will help to cement the ideas in your brain thing. I promise you that having planned, focused Morning & Evening Routines will help your days be smooth and dreamy…if you actually do the routines, that is. 😉

 

 

And don’t forget that you’re awesome. Awesome!

The next step of A Clean Life will be posted on Sunday (January 8), but I do hope you’ll join me before then to see some of the other shenanigans going on in my life…tomorrow brings the return of Three Things Thursday, so yay! 🙂

 

 

Do you have solid Morning & Evening Routines? Do they make your days run more smoothly and peacefully? Do you have anything super-weird in your routines? (I know someone out there is plucking a chicken every morning or giving their hedgehog a bath or something.) If you don’t already have them, do you think you’ll be planning out some Routines for your days?

If you’re having trouble getting your Routines planned, please feel free to ask for help! You can leave a comment here, email me at nerdinthebrain@gmail.com, or drop me a message on Facebook. I promise I’ll be gentle. 🙂

 

9 Comments

  • eclecticalli January 4, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I need to sit down and figure out an evening routine – that’s where I fall apart a bit. But morning routine I have DOWN. So much so that I can put it here.
    1) Turn off alarm
    2) Pay attention to Midnight Monster (cat) and ease myself out of bed around him.
    3) Feed Midnight Monster (because easing around him so he isn’t disturbed is disrupted as soon as I start towards the bathroom, where his food is kept)
    4) Out of PJ’s onto scale (new this year, helping keep an eye on making sure the number is going down, not creeping up), write scale number on calendar.
    4a) Every other day- hop in shower.
    5) Get dressed
    6) Brush teeth, wash face (trying to maneuver around Midnight Monster who decides THIS is the time to want attention).
    7) Take meds
    8) Put phone into pre-packed bag, double check have what I need for day.
    9) Abandon the Midnight Monster (who will start crying as soon as I close the door to the room) to go to the kitchen and make breakfast.
    10) Pack lunch while making breakfast and morning coffee (if I wasn’t on top of it enough to prep lunch over the weekend for the entire week).
    11) Gobble breakfast and drink coffee.
    12) Begin walk to bus for commute to work.

    All told, 1 hour, 1 minute, from morning alarm to out the door. On non-shower days (or even shower days where I don’t dawdle and enjoy the hot water), and days when I did my prep I needed ahead of time I have more time to enjoy breakfast (or be a little creative with breakfast), spend a little more time with Midnight Monster, or browse some Facebook, Twitter, and emails before I head out the door. What I need to work on for evening routine is figuring out how to keep myself to doing what prep I need the night before so that the morning goes smoother (no last minute “what do I wear!?” or “damn… I don’t have any food for breakfast OR lunch!” or “Maybe I should just buy coffee…”). I have to wake up at 5:30 am as it is so.. if could shave a few minutes off of my morning by being more efficient the night before it would make me very happy 🙂

    Reply
    • Nerd in the Brain January 4, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      I used to struggle with my evening routine, too. I found that moving it to earlier in the evening really helped. It might seem weird to do all of your night-night stuff right after dinner, but it’s nice to have it all out of the way and taken care of. When I would wait until bedtime to do that stuff, I would end up skipping it because I was sooooo tired…maybe that would work for you?

      I left my showering bit off of the lists because I’m all over the place with that. I used to shower in the mornings, but now it tends to be more of an evening activity…because some nights we go to the gym…and the nights that I take care of the kitties require me to shower as soon as I get home (partially because I smell like a litter box and partially because John is super-allergic to cats, so I try to minimize how much kitty hair he gets exposed to). I just didn’t want anyone to think that I don’t shower. 😉

      Reply
      • eclecticalli January 4, 2017 at 4:20 pm

        Showering is important 😉
        My challenge with the evening routine is that I don’t have a lot of time. I get home from work somewhere between 6:15 and 6:45 (sometimes as late as 7) depending on how the commute goes. “Trying to be asleep” time has to be at 9 so… yeah, not a lot of time — which is why I also try to get things like my lunch prepped over the weekends – that way it’s one less thing I have to worry about during the week.
        I have a vague evening routine — but what I need to work on is the entire evening — basically, what do I do between when I walk through the door and when I go to bed in order to best use my time so I might be able to do things like reading, and getting writing done during the week 🙂

        Reply
        • Nerd in the Brain January 4, 2017 at 5:19 pm

          Bluh. That’s not much free time at all! 🙁

          It sounds like a very quick, efficient evening routine is in order…perhaps one that you go ahead and knock out as soon as you walk in the door…that way you have the rest of your evening to do as you please. 🙂 (Because doing as you please is important!)

          Reply
      • Judith F Watts January 16, 2017 at 11:35 am

        I had no idea that John is allergic to cats. I know that he has tons of allergies but never had them identified. He loves cats. That is too sad. I am so proud of you and Grace for volunteering at a shelter. I think that is so great! Love y’all. Now I have to get out of this chair and take a shower. I have spent all morning with Nerd In The Brain! Love you!

        Reply
        • Nerd in the Brain January 16, 2017 at 12:44 pm

          Yep, cats are definitely one of his allergies. 🙁

          We’ve been really enjoying working with the kitties! Grace didn’t join any clubs this year, so we told her we wanted her to do something extracurricular…and she chose volunteer work with animals. 😀 We’re also co-chairing a Relay for Life team this year…we went to our first meeting last week. Wheee! 🙂

          Reply
  • Holly January 5, 2017 at 8:18 am

    So, M got a full-time job (Yay!) but he’s working nights (which is what he wanted) but since he is still not driving (grrr…) both of our routines are a bit mixed up right now. Before he started work, we had a deal that he had to do 100% of the housework (exception being my room) until he found a job or became a full-time student again.

    Now that he’s working, we have had to re-evaluate everything to figure out division of labor between a vampire and a day walker. Sure, I get to make the final rule since I pay the rent, but no sense in being tyrannical about it. Perfect timing then with this series to help map things out!

    (Sorry for the overuse of parentheses!)

    Reply
    • Nerd in the Brain January 5, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Yay for the job!!!

      I love that you added this comment…it’s a perfect example of everyone’s lives being different (which is awesome). 🙂

      If you need help mapping things out, let me know…though it sounds like you probably have that under control.

      (Personally, I don’t think a person can overuse parentheses…or ellipses.) 😉

      Reply
      • Holly January 5, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        We found out he got the job over winter break,so I “practiced’ for a few days before returning to work this week (up early, shower before he gets up at night so I can get some extra sleep between drop off and pickup). I kind of have to map the whole day, which is probably not a bad thing for me right now.

        I think we have it that he’s in charge of feeding cats when he comes in each morning (not that they are without food at any point, but we hope having him feed them will keep them from disturbing him during the day), cat box duty, garbage duty and laundry (wash dry fold linens and his own stuff, wash, dry and dump on bed my stuff). I have kitchen, living room and bathroom, with the option to get help with floors on his days off if the rugs need shampooing, etc.

        We’re still trying to figure out the dinner thing. He doesn’t want to eat a full meal overnight, so I have to plan better for making dinner and having a portion ready when he gets up and then the subsequent cleanup from meal prep and him eating late in the evening.

        Reply

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