When you get into your car, what’s the first thing you do? Buckle-up!
It’s something that has become deeply ingrained and we just do it without even thinkng about it. It’s just automatic. If for some reason we forget, our car even beeps at us to remind us to do so. Plus, we don’t even start to move the car until we know our kids are buckled or tighly strapped into their car seats.
Why do we buckle up? To prepare for the unexpected. The unexpected tire blow out. The unexpected pot hole. The unexpected fender bender. Buckling up minimizes personal injury.
Buckling up anchors us into our seats.
As we move from living in the shadow of overwhelm to managing the stuff of life we need to prepare for the unexpected, so we have our own series of seat belts that we “keep buckled”.
We buckle-up with 5 simple daily routines. When we practice these routines when life is good, we can expect to enjoy the smooth sailing. But when the inevitable unexpected happens, having these daily routines
firmly in place will help us stay anchored and minimize the impact of those events.
Daily Routine #1: The Evening Routine
On the north shore of Chicago there is a Jewish owned Mexican restaurant that is quite popular. It’s a Friday night favorite. But in Jewish tradition, each day starts at sundown. It’s not really a big deal…until sundown Friday night. This is when Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, begins and all work ceases. So, this restaurant closes each Friday before sundown in order to observe Shabbat. During the winter months this restaurant closes early, and in the summer when there is more daylight, they stay open later. The moving target of closing each Friday at sundown makes scheduling a Friday night dinner interesting for sure, but the idea that the day starts the night before is a fascinating principle! And it’s one that we can really benefit from embracing because in reality, our day really does start the night before.
Depending on what you include in it, the evening routine doesn’t need to be a long process. This daily routine is simply a time to check and make sure that the next day doesn’t hold any surprises.
A few simple things to consider including may be:
- Checking the calendar to see what appointments and obligations you have the next day
- Checking the weather for the next day
- Laying out clothes to match the weather and your appointments
- Glancing over the meal plan for the next day and then pull out anything from the freezer that you need to thaw
- Prepping anything that pertains to the next day’s activities – paperwork for a doctor visit, permission slip for a child’s field trip, books to return to the library, and so on
- Preparing the coffee maker for delayed star
Daily Routine #2: The Morning Routine
You’ve probably been around people who were just difficult to be around and someone has said, “Geez! Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed!”
Well, the morning routine is like getting up on the right side of the bed every day. The morning routine should include things that help you step into your day on the right foot. Things like:
- Enjoying a hot cup of that pre-made coffee while reading the Bible or meditating
- Checking account balance and paying bills
- Checking and responding to email
- Prepping your crockpot for dinner
- Eating breakfast before the kids get up
Daily Routine #3: The Menu
There are plenty of systems and processes to help with this (if you don’t have a system that is simple and elegant, I highly recommend checking out Plan To Eat). 20-minutes of planning out a week’s worth of meals will result in:
- Eliminating the guesswork out of meals since you know what is planned for each day
- Simplifying the grocery list so nothing is forgotten or overpurchased
- Keeping you within your budget
- Helping your family know what to anticipate
Daily Routine #4: The Mail
Every day the mail comes in and too often it piles up somewhere in out homes. And when we need the counter space or the table, we move the pile. And sometimes move it again. Each time we move it we risk losing something. We don’t need to respond to all of the mail when it arrives, but if our daily routine is to process it we can avoid paper piles or lost mail by:
- Opening all the mail
- Putting the junk in the recycle bin
- Putting bills where you pay them (in a file by your desk, in a folder in a kitchen drawer, etc.)
- Putting things that require a response or action in a designated spot so that you can respond appropriately when you do those things (perhaps during your morning routine?)
Daily Routine #5: The Laundry
Laundry has it’s own regular routine for actually being done and we talk more about that in this post. The daily routine I’m talking about here is actually quite simple. Each night you are simply:
- Making sure that all dirty clothes are in a hamper and not on the floor
When we simply keep the laundry gathered into a hamper each day, you keep the floors picked up, reduce clutter, and position yourself to be ready to do laundry when it needs to be done.
Does it Really Matter?
So what does this look like in real life? Have you heard the expression “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” These 5 Daily Routines are like that.
Let me share with you what it looked like recently when I didn’t follow these daily routines.
I helped organize our neighborhood garage sale. I was the “map” house so I was committed to being open the entire time the sale was advertised. Since I knew we would have good traffic, I wanted to make sure that I maximized the experience and I spent a great deal of time doing a thorough purge of our home. This meant that I had a lot of items to price, and a lot of items to set up. It was a long week.
And that week I did not follow my routines. As a result, things didn’t run smoothly. It started with me not folding laundry at the beginning of the week like I typically did. This meant that no one had clean clothes in their drawers, so they rummaged through the laundry baskets. Dirty clothes were left on the floors and started to mix in with the clean clothes. The mail was brought in each day but piled up on a table rather than being sorted. I did not look ahead each night to prep food for the next day, so we scrambled for dinner each night because the food was still frozen. All of these things made an already tiring week even more challenging.
The good news is that these routines are simple enough that when you miss a day or a week, you can jump right back into them and reclaim the upper hand. The great news, is that they work!
Ready to set your home to cruise? Let’s go!