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.)
- Make sure the things that have to be done are top priority. (Things like basic hygiene and packing lunches.)
- 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.
- 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. 😉
- 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 email@example.com, or drop me a message on Facebook. I promise I’ll be gentle. 🙂