Take Back Time With Routines

Friday, July 14, 2017

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Friends, I am so excited to have my sweet blog AND real life friend, Vanessa of Pursue Simple Joy as a guest today. She is kind, thoughtful, smart, talented, knowledgeable, and an awesome lady of the Lord. Today Vanessa will be talking about how we can take back our time by getting into a routine. Enjoy!

Is this you? You're slumped over your keyboard, scrolling through Facebook. You glance at the tiny clock on your computer screen and see 4:30pm glaring at you. "HOW?" You think with a start. "It feels like I just had lunch?!" This is me more times than I like to admit. As I started out the new year, I made it my goal to take back time and be more intentional. So far, I've done much better than I have in the past and that is in large part because of integrating routines into the rhythm of my days.

When I was in the military, you were expected to be early to just about everything. If you were on time... you were considered late. One of the more "famous" quotes in my unit was "Hurry up and wait" because inevitably you'd arrive at your destination early but still have to wait for hours before anything happened. Don't get me started on how that was a huge waste of time in most cases!

Reclaim the hours in your day (your time) by practicing routine!

Finding Your Rhythm

When I first started my homemaking/stay at home mom/work at home mom journey, I realized the way I managed my time had to change. I was wasting so much of it pouring into activities that weren't helping me reach my goals as a wife, mom, and entrepreneur. I started using my Bullet Journal to help me monitor how much time I was spending doing different activities throughout my day. Obviously, each day will look different depending on whether or not you have an appointment or Church, errands etc. Track about a week or two of your days and figure out your average time spent doing certain things. This was eye-opening because I was able to identify the pockets of time that I would generally waste instead of utilizing it more responsibly. This is still a work in progress but I'm a firm believer that knowledge is power! Participating in this activity will greatly help identify black holes and make you see what you can cut out so you have more time to reach your goals.

Time to Implement

This is the hard part. Actually making changes! Now that you've identified how you're spending your time (to include sitting on the toilet scrolling through Instagram) you'll finally be able to figure out what your time sucks are and how to streamline your workflow. I highly recommend picking only 1 thing to change at a time so you're not overwhelmed and give up! Not that I can speak from experience or anything...

My first course of action was going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, with the exception of weekends. There are people that believe you should wake up the same time every single day, but I really need to use the weekend to give myself some grace and extra 30 mins/hour of sleep. I feel refreshed the rest of the week when I do that. If it's too hard for you to get back into the swing of things on Monday, maybe waking up the same time on the weekends will work better for you. You do you, boo!
Ever since I started this one seemingly inconsequential habit, my productivity has increased! I have my habit formed and it makes it so much easier to start the day. Once you've nailed down one habit, move on to the next. Remember, keep habits that help you reach your goals, not suck time and keep you away from your goals!

Prepare the Night Before

Preparing for the next day the night before has hands down been a game changer for me. I started by figuring out what I'm going to have for breakfast (if you eat breakfast!) and get my coffee ready to go so all I have to do is press the button for it to make my elixir of life. I lay out my clothes the night before so I don't have to think about it when I wake up stumbling out of bed. I write down my top 3 priorities to do the next day so I don't have to think about that either! After becoming a mom, I've realized how much brain space I waste on things that don't matter. Even if you aren't a mom, dumping your plans for the next day the night before will help you fall asleep faster (so I don't have it bouncing around my head as I'm trying to fall asleep) and it helps get the day started on the right foot. I'm also a huge proponent of meal planning: have your meat thawing in the fridge the night before, if you can, chop up what needs to be chopped up before you go to bed so when you get home from work or dinner time rolls around you can just pull it out and "voila!" it's ready for you. I like not having to think 😉

Establish Good Habits for Your Routines

Once you establish one good habit, rolling into the next one shouldn't be as difficult as the first. You might find yourself more motivated to make this positive change because you're starting to make steps toward your goals faster! Identify the pitfalls in your day and discipline yourself to avoid them as much as possible. Your Daily Rhythm could look something like this:
  • Wake Up
  • Brush Teeth/Get Dressed
  • Coffee/Breakfast
  • Blog
  • Lunch
  • Errands
  • Blog
  • Dinner Prep/Dinner
  • Clean up
  • Chill/Exercise
  • Get Ready for Next Day
  • Bedtime Routine
  • Sleep
  • Rinse and Repeat
That's generally what my day looks like and it helps not having hard and fast times to "lock me in" and pressure me. The rhythm and routine of the day take care of itself and provides me the freedom that I need in order to accomplish what goals and To Do's I have for the day. Then insert taking care of a soon-to-be toddler into the daily mix for some extra fun! 😉

Don't Be a Slave to Time

One of my favorite life management books is Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George. She goes into depth about redeeming your time and I have highlighted and underlined pretty much the entire chapter. One of my favorite quotes (it's fairly lengthy, #sorrynotsorry) and I can't word it any better than she can:
"We redeem time when... we purposefully and prayerfully ask God for His wisdom regarding how we can reclaim, recover, retrieve, rescue, and regain the minutes, hours, and days of our life for God and His glory. We redeem time when...we realize we cannot manage time. Time is unmanageable, unrelenting, and ever flowing toward eternity. We can only manage our self. (And that calls for great discipline!)" (pg 233)
Wow. The most impactful part of the quote for me is, "Time is unmanageable, unrelenting, and ever flowing toward eternity. We can only manage our self." As I sat and pondered what that meant, it gave me so much encouragement knowing that I can do this! With discipline, I'm able to reclaim my time and use it for God's Glory. Every single person on this planet has the same 24 hours you do. (Duh, but it's a good reminder!) After cutting out a lot of the fluff from my life and focusing on what truly matters, I've been able to take big steps toward my goals for my life. I know that the same can happen for you.

Identify where your time is being spent. Prepare the night before. Establish good habits that propel you toward your goals. Don't be a slave to time! Last but not least, give yourself grace. You'll get there!    

Take back the time you have in a day by using routines.

Vanessa is the author and creator of Pursue Simple Joy- a blog all about learning to cultivate simple solutions for a joy-filled life. You can learn more about Vanessa here, and you can also follow her on her socials below 😊

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  1. Great post, time management can be so tricky. I think assessing how you are really spending your time is a great idea.

  2. Great post! its interesting to sit down and thing about the right time to do these things, I try my best to stick to routines but its hard with busses and other people to constantly rely on.

    I'm going to book mark this post, for future reference

    Thanks for Sharing.

  3. This is so good. I'm regularly that person that says just one episode of the Office or Parks and Rec and 5 hours later I'm still sitting in the same spot getting nothing done.

  4. Hi there :) first of let me say, Thank you for your service.
    This post is a very well said, definitely living by it. My favorite part I quote "Don't be a slave to time". Well done!

  5. I love your goal of being more intentional! I know that I struggle being in the moment. I am pretty good with allocating my time, but I wish I didnt always feel so rushed!!! Routines are so important.

  6. Yay! It was a pleasure guest posting for you, my friend! I hope it's helpful! *HUGS*

  7. I used to be so good at preparing the night before but I don't know what happened! But it's beneficial because you can get up and go prepared the next day.

  8. I love this post! I am self employed and find keeping daily routines really help. I get up the same time, have meals the same times, and keep a daily checklist of projects. This really helps!

  9. I am a creature of habit, but I don't necessarily have the best habits. I am currently trying to tweak my routine a little bit so I'm more productive and also have time to truly relax.

  10. I am trying to get the swing of things with my household routine due to school not being in session

  11. I am CRAZY when it comes to my kids routines! Great post !

  12. So many great ideas on this post! Wow! Finding your rhythm is a big one for me. Since starting my blog, I feel like I've lost some of my rhythm and I suddenly have way less time in my day. It's a work in progress. ;)

  13. I tend to waste time somethings too. I love the idea of setting aside a certain amount of time to do things. I just need to stick to that time, and remind myself that checking Facebook or IG isn't what needs to be done.

  14. Wow, I never thought of time management as a personal management issue, but it is. Thanks for this!

  15. I really need to work on this! I need to start sticking to the schedules and routines that I plan.

  16. finding my rhythm is huge! It makes such a difference in my productvity levels!

  17. I find that I do great with time management during the week, but during the weekend/my days off, I just can't seem to find motivation to do anything! I need to work on implementing blogging and other things into my weekend routine so my days aren't wasted away! Thank you for this post!

  18. SUCH great tips, a great guest post (Vanessa is awesome) I'm a big fan of waking up at the same time every day (the earlier the better) and getting as much prepared the night before as possible

    Laura @ www.cookwineandthinker.com